A Healthy Eating Cheat Sheet. Perfect For Your Travels.

Travelling and eating healthily. Retro suitcases.

I’ve been away the last couple of weeks.  A family beach holiday, followed by a trip to London. Lucky me!

Two small, sick children, followed by a sick hubby meant that our beach holiday wasn’t as restful or as fun-filled as I’d hoped.  Looking on the bright side, I still managed to soak up a few rays and take a quick dip in the Indian Ocean with the kiddies.  London though, was great.  It would have been even better, had it not rained so much!

In my previous life (before kids), I travelled quite a bit with work.  I found that when I was away from home, eating healthily was difficult. I was out of my usual routine,  I was eating out a lot (usually rich food), and I was surrounded by foodie temptation.  Back then, I had to learn how to eat in a way that kept me feeling great when I was away from home.  It took practice, but I worked it out.

Fast forward a few years and I don’t travel as much.  When I do travel, it’s usually with a young family in tow. Chaos!   But annoyingly I found my bad eating habits crept back in when I travelled (all my hard-learned lessons from my previous life, flew out of the window).  Something I had to nip in the bud!   And being a sucker for a list, I pulled together a cheat sheet to remind me how to eat when I am away.

1. Eat Before Travelling

Eating a proper meal before travelling, prevents the inevitable need to eat at the airport food court or a roadside restaurant.  When I don’t eat properly before setting off, I crave carbs: binging on white rolls, butter and pasta.  I feel pretty bloated before I arrive.

Not a great start to a holiday!

2. Pack Snacks

I always pack snacks for my children when we travel.  Finding decent snacks for them (and me) can be difficult.  Anyway, snacks available at service stations or on flights are pretty shocking.  But until recently, I never thought to pack snacks for me!  I find that having my own snacks reduces the chance I’ll munch pretzels and salted nuts on the flight, or crack open a packet of Lays in the car.

My favourite snacks are nuts (like almonds), dried fruits, super-seed crackers, fresh fruit or homemade granola. Easy to carry. Easy to eat.

3. Eat Veggies and Fruits

At home I eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  It has been a conscious effort of mine.  Ditching this habit when I’m away from home, makes a huge difference to the way I feel: by day three I feel lethargic and uncomfortable.

Frankly, there is no reason why I can’t eat lots of fruits and vegetables when I’m away! Hotels and restaurants can cater for this easily. And if I’m self catering, I can stock up at the local supermarket.

No excuses on this one!

4. Ask for it My Way!

If I’m eating out when I am away, I ask for small changes to the order (if I am not keen on the way it’s prepared).  I am not talking major changes to the order in a When Harry Met Sally way! But to ask for vegetables or salad instead of fries, or asking for olive oil and lemon instead of salad dressing, is straight forward enough for most eateries.

I do this at home as well!

5. Don’t Over Indulge (too often!)

When I’m away, I tend to go out to eat much more than at home.   There are lots of new eateries to try. A foodie’s dream.

But it’s easy for me to go over board.  Partly because I’m not the one preparing the meal(and don’t have to think about the effort involved).  And partly because I still treat eating out as a special event.  (On special occasions I’m allowed to spoil myself … guilt free!)

Before I know it, I’ve had three courses!  Do this every evening on holiday and  I’m a bloated wreck.  So I’ve had to reign it in.  There are times to indulge, but on the whole one course or two appetisers (or one appetiser and two sides) is fine.

It’s not like I eat three course meals every day at home!

6. Control the Cocktails!

Going on holiday is a time to unwind and relax. Sure.  And enjoying some wine and a cocktail is all about getting that holiday feeling!  But it is easy to drink a lot more than usual.  Mimosa for breakfast.  Wine for lunch.  Pina Colada for sundowners.  Alcohol is full of empty calories and stuffed full of sugar.  Weight gain is inevitable … and let’s not mention the hangovers (which are made worse by two screaming kids)!

This is an obvious one.  Being mindful of alcohol intake, is a biggie when it comes to staying and feeling healthy on holiday.

7. Get Back On Track. Quickly!

Sometimes, my best intentions are simply not enough. If my efforts to eat healthily have been a little patchy, or ahem … non-existent, I need to get back on track quickly.  Immediately getting back into my routine helps me get things under control.  It’s always easier when I’m home!

But this needs focus: Do not pass Go. Do not collect R200.  Just do it.

Enough said.

Have I missed anything off the list?  What are your tips for eating healthily when travelling? I would love to hear from you.  You can add your comment below.

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