6 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

While I’m pretty good about staying healthy on a day-to-day basis, there’s always something about traveling that makes me want to totally annihilate my typical routine. The carefree “I’m-on-vacation” attitude, the constant amount of food temptation, and the lack of motivation to actually go to a gym are the major culprits for me. But coming back to reality and feeling bloated, tired, and off-track is definitely not worth it. The last couple of times I went on vacation I made more of an effort to stay healthy and wanted to share a couple of the things that really worked for me.

When I say “healthy,” I’m not at all saying that I locked myself in the hotel gym for hours and only ate clean foods throughout my entire vacation (I honestly could never do that). What I mean is that I made the conscious effort to do what I could, when I could.

1) I’ve found that something that works for me is setting myself up for success, so pre-packing airplane snacks is my first step. Airports are known to have empty-calorie snacks and fast-food and airplane food is usually never good so I like to bring a bag or two of raw, unsalted nuts (almonds and cashews are my favorite), fruits with a peel (oranges and bananas), goji berries, and I also really like a lot of the snacks from Navitas (which can usually be found at Whole Foods).

2) I associate being healthy with practicing self-care, which, for me, starts on the plane. I can honestly say that I am so much more tempted to make bad food decisions when I’m dehydrated- and there’s research that actually shows that dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger. Sometimes when your body needs fluids, it triggers a response in your hypothalamus that leads you to grab for a bag of chips instead of water- so the best way to combat that is to constantly be drinking water! I like to buy a huge bottle of water in the airport before my flight and then whenever the flight attendant comes by, I always ask for water and tea with lemon. Also, if you've been following me or if you watched my latest video about what I eat in a day for weight-loss, you know I'm obsessed with Four Sigmatic so I always bring a couple packets of their hot cacao mix with me if I want something more tasty than water or tea (just be prepared to get up to go to the bathroom a lot- it’s annoying but sometimes you just gotta deal).

3) When you’ve finally landed and are in a new place, it always feels like you want to do everything at once- if you’re in France you want to devour the nearest croissant, or if you’re in Italy you want the biggest bowl of pasta you can find. The excitement is real and I totally get that. But just take a second to stand back and appreciate the scenery and the culture around you. When you’re at each meal, try not to feel like you have to hold yourself back from ordering their best-known dish. Instead, just do your best to add in a clean salad for your appetizer or steamed vegetables on the side so that you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs- and try to eat as slowly as possible! That way, you’ll enjoy every bite and also, eating slower is known to make you fuller quicker.

4) When you’re back in the hotel, remember that there’s no need to force yourself to wake up at 7AM to go to the gym and run off everything you ate the night before. Usually, if I have the energy to head down to the hotel gym, great, but if I don’t, I like to stretch in my hotel room and do a Melissa Wood Health workout. Taking 20-30 minutes to add some movement to your day is not going to hamper your vacation- it actually should enhance it because of how rejuvenated you’ll feel.

5) While I love a good lounge day at the pool, I also love exploring the city! A lot of people will usually sightsee by taking taxis or Uber’s to their desired destinations but I found that it’s so much better to walk where you can, when you can. If your hotel is located 10 minutes away from the main town- walk there! Stroll around the city after you eat. Watch the sunset while walking on the beach. Anything to keep you on your feet and moving- and you probably won’t even notice how much walking you’re getting in!

6) The last thing I want to mention is alcohol. Since vacation and drinking oftentimes go hand-in-hand, it’s important to be conscious of not going too overboard. If you’ve been craving a mango margarita since the minute you touched town, let yourself have one- just drink it simultaneously with a large glass of water and try to stick to lighter, less sugary drinks for the rest of your trip. Sugar is usually the culprit when it comes to gaining weight on vacation. If you’re going to drink, opt for tequila with crushed jalapeno, lime, and sparkling water during the day or a dry red wine for dinner.

At the end of the day, vacation is vacation- there’s that inevitable feeling of wanting to let loose and be carefree. Since I’m not someone who believes in food restriction, I just try to practice as much self-care and as many healthy lifestyle habits as I can while traveling, so hopefully these tips that have worked for me will work for you, too!

Dr. Mona Vand