I turn to travelling in order to stimulate my senses, restore my energy, and get away from my normal routine. Unfortunately, the disruption of my routine can throw my digestive system out of balance, especially if I fall completely off the rails in my eating and drinking habits. I think you have an understanding of what I am talking about. The result can include: constipation, bloating or the loud gurgling and turning of the intestines. The puffiness from your water retention due to last night’s sodium-loaded supper and four margaritas is causing your pool-side appearance to be a real downer. Then there is the unwanted weight-gain from eating out every day on your trip you have to contend with when you arrive home.
I follow a fairly regimented diet at home in order to keep me energized and resilient to stress as well as ensuring my immune system is strong. But travelling can make it difficult, especially when flying long distances or visiting unfamiliar places. Trying to eat healthy can become stressful; possibly resulting in just giving in to what is accessible and convenient. Typically this happens more often if children are accompanying you as they tend to get hungrier more often and are pickier with their food.
As an avid traveller I have picked up a few tricks to share:
1) Pack your carry-on wisely! Packing snacks can be a lifesaver in a pinch to help prevent becoming over-hungry and pigging out later. They can also hold you over until better choices come available. I usually pack almonds, cashews, trail mix or fruit. Bananas, apples, grapes, and cut up veggies are perfect for the first leg of the trip. If you have enough time to plan ahead, make home-made muffins to bring along.
2) HYDRATE! Sometimes we are more thirsty than hungry especially in dry climates. Flights also tend to dry you out. I know a lot of people’s first reaction would be to grab some juice or soda to refresh them, however, they contain a lot of sugar and empty calories. Staying hydrated is very important and water should be the number one choice. However, you can easily spend half of your food budget on bottled water. Having a BPA-free insulated water bottle is handy to refill where safe water sources are available. If you are staying in a hotel, make the small trek to the grocery store, pharmacy or convenience store to grab a few water bottles to keep in your room.
3) Keep your blood sugar steady for more energy and to help ward off jet lag. Stay away from processed snacks, pop, fruit juices and sugary treats as they will make you feel hungrier and cranky in a short time. When we hit a snag in our trip we can get very stressed! Stress and low blood sugar is NOT a good combination, so stay clear from the pastries, sugary cereal and waffles with syrup at the free breakfast you get at your hotel. They may seem like they are a good, cheap way to fill up but in the end you will feel the negative effects. You are better off ordering healthier alternatives off the menu. If you are worried about cost, consider sharing with your travelling partner. Servings are pretty generous these days.
4) Fibre, fibre, fibre! If you struggle to find foods that contain a lot of fibre to keep systems flowing smoothly, then find a supplement. I know many people who travel with Holy Crap cereal or hemp hearts and sprinkle it in their oatmeal and yogurt. It also helps fill you up and keeps you full longer. Many hotels offer apples in the lobby; they are a great snack, full of fibre and perfect on the go!
As I write this my flight has been delayed for an undetermined amount of time. Waiting in the airport I chose to walk around as it is unknown how many hours I may be sitting, and I multitask by looking around to see what options I have when I get hungry – that way I am not making any knee-jerk decisions. Finally, with my new flight rebooked, I am upgraded to First Class. I jokingly text my husband that he may be picking up his wife with a few free drinks under her belt. I do indulge when great opportunities present themselves, so enjoy your vacation and try new things! Cheers!