8 Tips When You Are Travelling And On A Diet!
Back in the day when I used to work at the university, I traveled quite a bit to attend various conferences, meetings and workshops.
I distinctly remember one such conference in San Francisco, where I was meeting up with some international representatives who were interested in one of the teacher training programs I was running.
For the first two days at the conference, I indulged in chocolate croissants and cafe lattes for “breakfast” – but they didn’t keep me very satiated.
In fact, I recall being hungry only an hour after eating, and I felt bleary-eyed and foggy-minded the entire morning.
I just chalked up my fatigue and constant hunger to being tired from traveling and keeping up with a demanding schedule.
The third morning, I was invited to a breakfast meeting by my Japanese colleagues.
As it turns out, there was a Japanese restaurant in the hotel where the conference was being held.
Although I’ve had sushi and tempura before, I’d never had a traditional Japanese breakfast…
So you can imagine my surprise when these dishes were brought out: steamed white fish, rice, vegetables, green tea.
Wait – what?! No coffee? No sweet rolls? No bread of any kind?
I couldn’t very well offend my hosts by asking for the – ahem – American menu, so I applied my best cross-cultural skills and politely followed along with the leads of my hosts.
Fish for breakfast was a first for me.
The rice actually tasted good, and so did the vegetables.
The tea was hot and fragrant.
All in all, I surprised myself by eating such a meal but I admit, I was still “jonesing” for my coffee and croissant!
But then an amazing thing happened:
I felt really good – great in fact!
I proceeded to conduct business the rest of the morning – without the hunger pangs, restlessness, fatigue, brain fog and crankiness that had plagued me the previous two days.
It was astonishing!
I consciously made the connection between what I had eaten and how it made me feel.
My Japanese breakfast was a real eye-opener for me.
That’s not to say I continued to eat fish and rice for breakfast.
In fact, I’ve never had another Japanese breakfast again.
But I DO make a point of including a healthy source of protein, carbs, veggies and fat in my breakfast…and in every meal and snack.
Otherwise, I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of being overfed, but undernourished…especially when traveling.
- time zone changes mess up your eating schedule
- you don’t have easy access to a kitchen
- other people are providing the meals
- restaurant food is too rich
- you can’t find foods that you like
- you’re tempted by local dishes
- you’re pressed for exercise time
- you don’t have your regular schedule
- you’re tired
…and I’m sure you can think of several more reasons why it’s challenging to follow a healthy lifestyle when you’re traveling.
The good news is I’ve got several tips to make it easier, along with a couple of great meal ideas that you can just “grab and go”!
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Seek out a Starbucks.
Choose their oatmeal, which is all-natural. Take the nuts and dried fruit, too – but leave the sugar and artificial sweeteners out. They will only make you crave sweets even more.
Starbucks also has great snacks like hard-boiled eggs, cheese, grapes, etc. Stay away from the bakery case, of course – just think of my chocolate croissant story for inspiration!
Drink tea instead of coffee.
Or limit yourself to one coffee. Coffee raises insulin (as well as adrenaline) and together, this can make you nervous, agitated and hungry (and hungry means weight gain!!)… Sip on a huge iced tea to give you something to keep you busy.
Bring along packets of stevia, or a small vial of the liquid flavored stevia.
Yep, I very highly recommend Stevia (read this for the health benefits of stevia). My favorite brand is Sweet Leaf. Try their English Toffee, Hazelnut, Chocolate Raspberry, Coconut! A few drops makes a cup of hot tea like a dessert! Also, add this to your oatmeal for a great tasting snack!
If you’re going out with a group, you choose the restaurant!
Go for a place where you know you can get grilled fish or chicken, fresh salads, veggies that aren’t drowning in butter and salt.
Most nicer restaurants will prepare your food to your liking. You don’t even need to look at the menu! Just ask for a piece of grilled fish or chicken over a bed of mixed greens and a side of fresh grilled veggies…and some fresh fruit for dessert! (Or have a hot cup of tea with your stevia!)
Another option is to go for Chinese/Thai/Japanese but order wisely; choose steamed dishes without heavy sauces.
Plan for one special indulgence.
If you are going to New York City and you want to make a pilgrimage to Magnolia Bakery, by all means do so! But plan on getting one favorite cupcake and savor it completely – you deserve it!
Just don’t stop for pizza or hot dogs before or afterwards.
In other words, no sense in throwing caution to the wind and draining your energy and ruining your moods by overeating “just because you’re traveling”.
…but you already know that! I’m just here to reinforce it!
Bring as much of your own food with you as possible…
… or shop at your location. Hard boiled eggs, cans of tuna, apples, nuts, string cheese, grapes, grapefruit, celery, baby carrots all travel really well and don’t require refrigeration. 7-11 actually sells hard-boiled eggs and apples! Much better choice than “energy bars”.
Invest in an insulated cooler bag.
There are so many cute ones that look like fashionable tote bags. In your hotel room, make sure you can get a fridge, or make your own by putting bags of ice in the sink or tub if you need to keep some things cool.
Enjoy exploring the local culture!
Seek out the local produce markets and organic restaurants. And remember: food is only one way to soak up the atmosphere! Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, go to the museums, listen to local music, take in the sights! You can “feed” yourself on so many levels that don’t include food!
As you can see, with a little planning and ingenuity, you don’t have to let the fact that you’re traveling be an excuse for not treating yourself well!
Slimming Recipe of the week – *Salad in a Bag*
This is one of those great, easy to assemble, fun-to-eat, inexpensive meals you can create nearly anywhere!
WHAT YOU NEED:
One big ziploc bag, gallon size
Pair of scissors (optional) or paring knife
INGREDIENTS (pick these up at the local farmer’s market, grocery store or from your own prepared cooler bag)
- 2 cups of mixed baby green lettuces
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 stalk celery
- 10 greek olives, pitted
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 ounce feta cheese
- 1/2 small avocado, cubed
- 10 grapes, halved
- 1 carrot (shredded if possible)
Put the lettuce in the ziploc bag.
Holding the eggs inside the bag, use the scissors to cut them up into bite-sized pieces. Do the same with the olives, celery and bell pepper. Toss in the cheese, grapes, avocado and shredded carrot.
Seal the bag and shake it well, mixing all the flavors and ingredients.
You can eat it right out of the bag! The olives, cheese, avocado blend to make a type of dressing for the salad! (You can always drizzle some olive oil if you prefer.)
I came up with this idea when I didn’t want to drag out the cutting board and get any dishes dirty…then I realized what a great idea it was for traveling, especially if you want to whip up a quick salad on the go!
I’d love to know how you enjoy it!
And if you have some favorite tips and tricks for traveling, please let me know and I’ll add them to my arsenal!
When we travel, we can feel overwhelmed trying to “get it all in” and get it all done! That in turn can feed our need to overeat, in an attempt to soothe jangled nerves, boost our energy or just distract us!
For now, here’s a mantra to accompany you on your journey, wherever it may take you: “Easy does it.”
I find when I breathe and repeat this, I feel a wave of relief and release wash over me.
I stop rushing, relax into the present moment and feel the fullness of life.
Please, don’t keep looking ahead to your next destination.
Allow yourself to be immersed in the amazing, wonderful “Now” and take in every breath with a wave of gratitude.
Until next week (when I share my tips for exercising while on the road) please treat yourself well. YOU deserve it! And as you know by now, don’t fall for gimmicks like Plexus slim or other “magic fixes”.
I believe in you!
P.S. Be sure to listen to the bonus audio podcast I posted a few days ago. You’ll hear my best myth-busting when it comes to exercise!