Ask the RD: How do I stay healthy while
eating out and traveling?
- One of our most common asked questions being Dietitians. While being both avid travelers and proud nutrition nerds, we understand the struggles for trying to stay healthy all while enjoying the journey and fully experiencing a new city or culture. So after our trip to Tampa, FL together, we wanted to give you all our go-to recommendations and tips that will help you do just that!
1. essential travel snacks:
- Never get caught snackless - we always bring some snacks with us for the flight and for when we arrive to control our hunger, blood sugar levels, hormones and overall energy:
- RX bars
- Thunderbird bars
- That's It bars
- Trader joe's nut and seed trail mix bags
- Homemade granola
- Edamame snacks
- Fruit - apple, banana, orange
- Vegetables - pre-cut for dipping into individual packets of hummus
- Dried chickpea snacks like Chickpeatos
- Individual almond / peanut butter packets like Justin's
- Raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews)
- Supplements -
- Vital protein collagen protein individual packets (to add into for matcha or coffee)
- Protein Powder - I keep this as a plan B option, for an easy protein to pair with a fruit/veggie/grain to help with my satiety says registered dietitian Kristen DeAngelis. I often get low blood sugar if I don't eat every few hours and have some sort of protein with me, so this helps for those "just in case" scenarios. I like VEGA or The Garden of Life Protein Powder.
- Four Sigmatic mushroom instant coffee
- Probiotic - Dr. Ohhira's
2. Breakfast go-tos:
- Early Morning eat something light - If you are flying early in the morning, eat a lighter meal, high in protein, before your flight. I like hard boiled eggs and spinach in a whole wheat wrap, avocado toast with hemp seeds, or a whole wheat bagel with almond butter says registered dietitian Taylor Johnson. Oats with cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts is my favorite says registered dietitian Kristen DeAngelis. I just keep this in a baggie and then ask for hot water from Starbucks once at the airport for an easy breakfast!
- Fill up on and boost energy with matcha - We love to make a big matcha latte made in a blender with almonds and hemp seeds, packing in healthy fats and protein, to keep us full. We also love sprinkling in adaptogenic herbs like ashwaganda to help relieve stress and anxiety while traveling.
3. Eating out tips:
- Before going out - We have a fiber and protein rich snack to fill up on so we don't come to the restaurant hungery, ready to eat the largest thing on the menu! A small snack with a fiber and protein food pairing will help you feel full and in turn eat fewer calories when you sit down for your meal!
- Know before you go - Whenever we go somewhere we plan ahead and look it up! Yelp or google are our best friends when looking up restaurants in the area - simply type in "healthy" "plant-based" "vegetarian" "farm to table" "juice / smoothie bar" to find healthy, vegetable heavy meals in your area.
- Check out the menu - Check out menus ahead of time on restaurant websites and look at the ingredients and nutrition information for dishes available before hand to make sure they have something you're excited about ordering and something you know you'll feel good about eating!
- Fill up on veggies - Find a near by grocery store, like a whole foods or trader joe's, and make your own quick meals from the salad bar or stock up on pre-cut veggies or fruit for snacks. We also love buying simple ingredients to make something quick using the hotel's kitchenette or AirBnB's kitchen! When eating out a lot, make sure to fill up on veggies first with an appetizer, order a side salad or vegetable soup. We love to travel as a great time to eat all different cultural foods but trust us, you will feel much better if you get in some of those necessary vitamins and minerals from healthy whole foods throughout your trip!
- Ask questions - When you're at the restaurant, don't be afraid to ASK questions to make modifications to your order to get more nutrient-dense foods in or to help meet your dietary needs and health goals.
- Take your time - When sitting down to eat, eat slowly. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. It's so empowering to acknowledge your response to food and become more aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to overall eat better!
- Portion control - Going out can sometimes mean you feel pressure to finish everything you bought, but saving that leftover food for later is better than overeating at the table! Sometimes I'll ask to only serve me 1/2 the portion, says Kristen DeAngelis, and have them bag up the remainder to bring it back with me or I will order smaller portions like an appetizer or a lunch size option. Also, splitting desserts with the table is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without committing to a lot of calories says Taylor Johnson.
4. Travel drinks:
- I always bring an empty water bottle for the actual flight and continuously refill it on my flight says Taylor. I always kindly ask the attendants to refill it for me (don't worry, you wont be annoying them plus, you're doing yourself and the planet a favor!) After the flight, I have my water bottle filled up throughout my trip not only to keep me hydrated but it saves you so much money - its a life savor! While Kristen DeAngelis says, "A large Nalgene Water ALWAYS saves me, I never leave without it."
- Pack tea in your bag - saves money and prevents from getting a 400 calories mocha late that I really just don't want or need says Kristen. Drinking hot herbal tea, hot water with lemon, or other warm liquids like soup/broth help ease the digestive system which can sometimes get flustered while traveling. Our favorite teas to take on the road are: Green Tea (to help wakeup if needed), Apple Spice or a Pumpkin/Bengal Spice (for that subtle sweetness), and Mint/Peppermint (for a refreshing feeling!).
5. travel self care:
- Enjoy the travel process - use the time on your flight to treat yourself to something you didn't have time for. Buy yourself a new magazine in the airport and read up on the celeb gossip, delve into a good book you never got to finish, catch up on podcasts you love, watch that movie you've been dying to see, or finalize a side project thats been on your to-do list.
- Know more about your accommodations - When booking a hotel or AirBnB, always check to see if a refrigerator is available for stocking up on some simple go-to grocery snacks like fruit or leftovers from a eating out. Also, check to see if they have a gym or park nearby for getting out and exercising!
- Pack sneakers - always, always! We never leave without a pair of running or walking shoes! We can both agree, the best way to explore new cities is to go out for a run or walk and explore!
- We like to bring lavender essential oils with us while we travel. Essential lavender oil helps to calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety and helps us get a good night sleeps, something hard to do while traveling!
- We like to bring a good moisturizer - either coconut oil or my new favorite, Beauty Counter Moisturizer says Kristen.
- We love eye pads or facial masks - while on the plane such as Honest Hazel eye pads. We like to put them on in the beginning of the flight and keep them on until landing. They help make the plane ride a bit more fun and keep us feeling rejuvenated and fresh when we get off!
- Perfect time to Meditate - We love using the Calm App once the plane takes off to simply sit with ourselves for just 10 minutes and meditate. Focusing on your breathing is an excellent way to de-stress, clear your mind, feel grounded and connected.
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