WELLNESSMARCH 24, 2013

stay healthy travel tips

While the blue skies and warm breezes have yet to make their debut (in Chicago at least), spring is here. For some of you lucky folks, that means that a spring break is in order. I recently returned from a vacation (and birthday trip!) to Turkey. I was fortunate enough to enjoy delicious, fresh food and warm, sunny days.

Traveling to new places provides an excellent opportunity to observe how people in the region live. You can learn a lot about different cultures from how they spend their time, what they eat, and their relationship to their surroundings.

What was my observation about Turks? Their pretty darned healthy!

The food was heavy on vegetables, whole grains, beans, and healthy fats – while meat, sugar, and refined flours were used more sparingly. No matter where you ate, it was common to see a basket of seeded, whole-grain fresh pita or bread placed on the table. I even noticed that desserts at very mainstream restaurants were described as being ‘free of refined sugar’. I also noticed street vendors on every corner squeezing fresh pomegranate and orange juice – something I took advantage of nearly every day. ☺

Needless to say, I was able to fully indulge in the Turkish culture without getting too far off of my usual healthy routine. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to do so everywhere we travel to! I decided to put a list of some of my favorite ‘stay healthy’ travel tips to help you stay on track no matter where you are vacationing.

TOP 4 STAY HEALTHY TRAVEL TIPS

1. Plan Ahead: This is a key tip that is important for everyday healthy living, but becomes all the more important when traveling. Whether you have a long car ride or plane travel, its key to have a few healthy snacks available. After all, you never know what options will be available when driving a long stretch of country road or are stuck at the airport for longer than anticipated.

Be sure to choose something that will hold up well. Nutrition bars, nuts, trail mix, and granola are all great options.
A few of my favorites: 22 Days makes great Superfood Bars (I love the PB + Chocolate Chip Nirvana), MARK BARS are packed with whole food nutrition, Navitas Naturals power snack mix is another favorite, and you can’t go wrong with raw almonds or cashews.

Beyond snacks, use your trip as an opportunity to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of anything that has been lurking on a back shelf too long or any foods that have overstayed their welcome. Stock up with frozen fruits and vegetables to have on hand for when you return home and don’t have a chance to grocery shop.

2. Bring Insurance: Nope, not travel insurance, but ‘health’ insurance in the form of vitamins and supplements. You will most likely be off of your usual routine, and nutrient-dense foods may make a rare appearance. Not to mention all the germs floating around airplanes and rest stop bathrooms… With that being said, vitamins and supplements become all the more important. Consider bringing a food-based multivitamin to balance out any gaps in your diet. If vegetables and leafy greens won’t be readily available, you may also want to consider green supplements in the form of powdered greens (I like Green Vibrance) or chewable chlorella tablets.

It is also common for digestive systems to get a little mixed up when away. I always travel with a probiotic to help stay on track and give my digestive system a boost. While you usually need to keep them in the refrigerator, they will last for about two weeks at room temperature when traveling. Triphala, and aruveydic herb, is also good for cleansing the body and staying regular.

And last but not least: if you have a low or weakened immunity, or are concerned about drinking the water or eating the produce at your destination, consider bringing liquid grapefruit seed extract. You can put a few drops on the skin of fruit or vegetables or take a daily dose in water. I also like NutriBiotic’s ‘Defense Plus that has grapefruit seed extract, Echinacea, vitamin C (and a bunch of other good stuff) to keep you strong and healthy for your whole trip. After all, there is nothing worse than being sick on vacation!

3. Stay Active: Sure, it’s nice to relax, but be sure to make some time for physical activity! Walking is a great way to familiarize yourself with a new city. If you’re in a scenic location, hike or rent bikes to enjoy some fresh air and beautiful views.

One of the hotels I stayed at in Turkey offered complimentary yoga classes to guests. Check out to see if somewhere you’re staying has similar opportunities – and take advantage of them! It’s also worth checking out local fitness studios to try a class that is not available in your home town.

And if you are in a location on the water: go for a brisk swim or take a long run or walk on the beach.

4. Practice Moderation: If you’re like me, eating is a highlight of your vacation. I love choosing restaurants well before I leave on the trip and planning out what local dishes I can’t wait to try. With that being said, be sure to still keep things in moderation! It can be common to feel the need to ‘let loose’ early on in the vacation and indulge in your every sugary whim. Remember, that the sweets (or whatever else strikes your fancy) will still be there tomorrow. Sharing desserts or ‘indulgent’ menu items is a great way to get a taste without overdoing it.

Since eating can be an ‘activity’ when traveling, be sure to tune into whether you are eating because you are truly hungry – or just because its something to do. Keep this in mind before ordering, and eat just until you’re satisfied – without being stuffed. It’s also a good practice to think about what you are really hungry for. Will a salad or soup satisfy you? Or are you craving meat to nourish yourself? Listening to your body will prevent overeating and leave you feeling satiated.

What are some of the tips you swear by when heading out of town?? Please share below!

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