Building healthy routines and making appropriate food choices takes organisation, commitment and determination, that’s for sure. And particularly when this is a new or shifted direction from your norm. But what about when you are on the road for work or holidaying, away from the comfort of your own kitchen, local markets and stores? This was really brought home to me recently when taking a family trip in Italy with some dear friends from Australia- 2 families, 5 kids, 4 adults and a whole lot of magical holiday chaos!
Here are some of the things I did but also learnt along the way, to help us to stay on track. These tips can just as easily be applied when travelling for work, as they were useful for us when holidaying.
1. Breakfast is key: pack supplies for an easy healthy breakfast for the first few mornings. We take a small blender for smoothies along with protein powder, premixed with linseeds (good fats) and psyllium husks for fibre (really important to keep your intestines ‘moving’ after a flight or extended car trip). Or some oats (just add water!) as an alternative.
2. Prepare snacks: one of the easiest traps to fall into for eating unhealthily is grabbing an un-nutritious snack on the run when you are starving!
- Prepare a large batch of trail mix (nuts, some dried fruit, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and coconut shards) for the trip and pack some in the suitcase for the initial few days
- Healthy prepackaged bars (we love ‘Raw Bites’, just nuts, seeds and fruit….that’s it!),
- Home made snacks: even if it is one lot of banana-chia muffins or puffed quinoa-orange slice similar to these, something portable and nutritious
3. Supermarket reconnaissance: find out what local markets or supermarkets exist in the areas you’ll be staying in so that it is easy to shop healthily as soon as you have time. We did this in Pollensa in Spain, an incredible array of fresh local produce (see below).
4. Pack your staple-but-potentially-difficult-(?)-to-find goods: things you love and might not be able to find easily, such as quinoa (good for salads, breakfasts or sweet treats), oats, nuts or a carton of your favourite milk (rice, almond, or coconut)
5. Apply your everyday rules: be mindful of your normal ‘rules’; “eat vegetables + protein + good fat with every meal” and “drink plenty of water” (atleast a glass with every coffee, wine, cocktail etc that you might consume more of on holiday). It is possible!
6. Keep it simple when dining out: sure, you want to indulge in some local fare. For example, when in Italy it’s pizza or pasta (and assuming no gluten sensitivities!). Do it! But keep it balanced- have a small bowl or piece, then choose a large salad with just olive oil to accompany it.
7. Keep on moving: so important for our digestion and a healthy mind too, exercise routines often suffer when on the road. Before you leave, check out local gyms and safe walking or running routes close to where you are staying. Or if cycling is your thing, cycle hire services like this one in Puerto Pollensa, Spain or this one on Amalfi Coast, Italy can be booked before you leave.
Why not ditch the car and explore on foot, like we did, with some ‘bonuses’ to the additional fitness (think vintage jewellery and sparkly, hand made leather sandals!).
Or, keep it in house. Plan some time around your known holiday or work schedule to stretch, do some pilates exercises or practice some yoga. And watch this space for a link in the coming months to a wonderful trainer I’m collaborating with who is filming some you-tube segments for at-home workouts.
In essence, by all means we want to revel in the experiences when travelling and indulge in the culture……but do it mindfully. Plan ahead, be organised, accept occasional deviations from your norm and embrace the chance to be kind to yourself. You deserve it!