One of the absolute best parts of vacation is being able to indulge in a culture’s most delicious cuisine. From a perfectly prepared pizza and gelato in Italy, to a pint of beer and a ginormous Bavarian pretzel in Germany – count us in.
Though we love treating ourselves as much as the next traveler, there always seems to come a time during a trip when you hit a wall – a food wall that is. You start to have a lack of energy and quite frankly, feel slow and sluggish.
So how can someone enjoy the foods that define a culture, while avoiding that awful slow and sluggish feeling? “It’s all about balance,” says California Nutritionist, Vanessa Klein of Tyme to Thrive. We recently sat down with Vanessa and asked her for some tips on how to be more mindful of healthy habits on vacation, while still enjoying the food and drink we all love.
What Can Travelers Do to Make Sure They’re Being Mindful of Their Eating Habits While on Vacation?
Vanessa: One of the most important things people can do while traveling to be mindful of their eating habits is to pack their own foods if possible. Whenever I go away, I like to bring along items such as fruits, vegetables, and non-perishable items. I actually make big batches of granola and bring it along – it can be used on yogurt, as cereal, or eaten as a snack.
If you run out of the items you’ve packed (which will most likely happen) you’ll have two options – cook in (if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen) or go out to eat. Most people will resort to going out to eat considering a majority of hotels don’t have a kitchen in every room. If this is the case, I suggest opting for the veggie option at any restaurant (veggie burger, salads, etc.). If that doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, try to make substitutions that will make the dish as healthy as possible. One suggestion I like to give clients is that if you’re going to order a burger, opt for avocado or pico de gallo instead of cheese.
What Are Some Snacks You Always Bring While Traveling?
Vanessa: Snacks are very helpful in curbing your cravings throughout the day, and make sure that you don’t become too hungry. It’s safe to say that once you allow yourself to become overly hungry, you’d eat almost anything that’s in front of you – including those not-so-healthy foods – which often leads to bad food choices.
Luckily, there are many delicious snacks that you can turn to while traveling. Some of my favorite snacks include hummus and vegetables, popcorn that’s lightly salted (not popcorn that’s cheesy, loaded in butter, or coated in caramel), nuts, seeds, and even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. These snacks are very easy to pack and will really make an impact in making healthier decisions while you’re away from home.
What’s a Good Way to Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water While Traveling?
Vanessa: It’s safe to say that dehydration is no one’s friend – particularly while traveling. It’s especially important to stay hydrated while flying considering that aircraft cabin humidity levels are abnormally low (about 5-10 percent) which creates an environment with less humidity than the Sahara Desert. Dehydration can also dry out skin, increase thirst, cause headaches, and can make you feel dizzy.
The key to staying hydrated while traveling (or anytime) is to start in the morning. I like to drink 32 ounces of water before doing anything or going anywhere. It’s a great jumpstart to my morning, and helps in making sure I meet my water intake goal for the day (one gallon). If you’re one of those people who find it hard to get in your daily water intake, I suggest ordering ice water with a splash of lemonade. That little bit of extra flavor can really make a difference for some people.
Another thing to be aware of is to not drink too much alcohol. If you’re going to have a drink (or two), opt for drinks with less sugar such as vodka with soda water.
Tell Me About Your Company, Thyme to Thryve
Vanessa: Thyme to Thryve started in 2016 with the mission of helping people understand the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, and giving them the tools needed to transition to this lifestyle. I understand that change is never easy, and many people need support and guidance from Thyme to Thryve to start and maintain this lifestyle successfully.
I also make sure that my clients stay accountable in completing 5-8 tasks that better their lives each day, such as drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and making positive food choices.
Enjoy Yourself, but Remember It’s All About Balance
Though it’s fun (and delicious) to try the unique foods a culture has to offer, it’s always a good idea to be conscious of the choices you’re making while traveling. Making changes like drinking more water, packing your own snacks, and opting for less sugary drinks are all simple ways to eat healthier while on your next vacation. At the end of the day, it all comes down to balance.