Traveling light: Staying healthy on the go

I recently traveled abroad, and I'd love to say that I returned feeling rejuvenated, but honestly I returned feeling pretty exhausted.  Travel (and especially travel while pregnant!) can be tiring, and despite my nutrition knowledge and experience, I still dealt with jet lag, tempting treats (read: unhealthy eats), dehydration, and puffy everything (face, fingers, feet, belly).  Learn from my mistakes and adopt these travel tricks that I failed to follow!  

Borough Market, London

Borough Market, London

1.  Pack healthy snacks in single-serving portions - nuts, string cheese, carrots, apples, and oranges are easy options that will survive the wear + tear of travel.  Throw in a couple protein bars as a backup too in case you need a meal replacement.  A few of my favorite are the Perfect Bar, RXBAR, and Quest Bar.  I try not to eat protein bars too often because I prefer a real meal, but they work well when you have limited access to healthy options.  

2.  Bring a reusable bottle (to refill often!), and drink water as much as possible!  I cannot stress that enough.  Flights leave you extra dehydrated, and it's easy to forget to drink on the run.  Set alarms on your phone, create a hydration game with your travel partner, or write 'WATER' in big red letters on your hand.  Do whatever it takes to stay hydrated, which can help minimize dry skin, bloating, and fatigue.  If consuming caffeine + alcohol, be sure to increase water intake even more! 

3.   Stick to your normal schedule and eating habits rather than treating yourself all day, every day.  Travel can take you to directly to a food-lover's paradise, but that doesn't mean you should indulge on repeat.  Continue to eat three meals a day so you don't experience the two extremes of the hunger scale (starvation + filled to capacity).  Pick the foods you absolutely want to try, preferably the city's specialities, and enjoy them wholeheartedly.  Bonus if you can find great local markets with fresh produce, like Borough Market in London (pictured above).   

4.  Remind yourself that a day spent on an airplane or train is mostly a day spent sitting still, so you probably need less food than you need on your average day.  Plus a four-hour layover can easily lead to hundreds of excess calories out of sheer boredom.  Plan ahead by bringing books, movies, or work, scheduling phone calls with family or friends, and scoping out restaurants that offer healthier options.  Even better, stroll around the shops to get moving and to limit food-related activities.  Once you've reached your destination, walk as much as possible, especially if skipping or limiting structured workouts.  

5.  Plan ahead!  That's the real key to maintaining energy and health on the road.  When traveling, schedule your exercise, snacks, meals, water...everything!  Allow flexibility, but set basic guidelines and try to stick to them.  You're more likely to make smart choices if you set out to do so in advance.