It’s mid-summer and travel season is in full swing! And whether you’re heading a few towns over for a family cookout, taking a cross-state road trip, or flying across coasts or oceans, it’s likely you’ll be journeying somewhere before Labor Day.
It also means you’ll have to deal with the health imbalances travel often creates. Traveling for business or pleasure will always do one thing: mess with your regular schedule.
Sitting in a plane or car can lead to missed meals and poor eating options. Crossing time zones can throw you off even more, often leading to overeating and bad nutritional decisions. And worst of all, these low-quality choices can enhance jet lag and worsen your mood! So, I have some tips to help you make smart food choices on your trip.
How to Make Smart Food Choices This Travel Season
1. Always Be Prepared
When you’re sitting in an airport or on a plane or driving down the freeway, think of the options. It’s typically fast food loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. Not great selections if you want to feel good, focused, and ready to go.
Therefore, preparation is key. Before hitting the road (or skies), eat an easily digestible snack or meal that’s high in protein. An egg-white omelet, Greek yogurt with nuts and oatmeal, or a garden salad with chicken can each go a long way in keeping you full until you reach your destination. And remember, you can always pack a healthy snack like homemade granola or pumpkin seeds to bring with you.
2. Reset Your Internal Clock
If you’re taking a long-haul flight to visit your sister in Australia or Japan, research has shown that fasting for the course of the flight—then eating as soon as you land—has the ability to reset your brain’s feeding clock. Resetting this important natural timekeeper could help you fight against overeating on long trips and get you on track for the new time zone, regardless of when you land.
However, if you’re flying cross-country for a quick two-day trip, sticking to your home schedule is the best way to avoid gorging and mindless snacking.
3. Stay Hydrated
And before you take off, always be sure to drink plenty of water. Even short flights can lead to grogginess because of dry cabin climates, so adequate hydration is key.
4. Avoid Unhealthy Snacking
If you’re bored in the airport, elect to drink a coffee (it can control hunger; just don’t drink it if you plan on sleeping). And again, prioritize high-protein snacks like protein bars or yogurts.
You also want to avoid the food sold on flight. Not just because it’s a rip off, but because the salt and sugar found in it can add to dehydration, increased hunger, and blood sugar swings.
Happy and Healthy Trails!
What and when you eat can influence how your body responds to travel, and ultimately how much you enjoy your trip. Make smarter decisions and you’ll enjoy your summer getaway even more, wherever it may be!
Prescott, B., “Study identifies food-related clock in the brain,” Harvard Gazette, May 19, 2008; http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2008/05/study-identifies-food-related-clock-in-the-brain/, last accessed July 11, 2017.
Jermyn, D., “How proper eating can minimize the tiring effects of travel,” Globe and Mail, June 2, 2016; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/how-proper-eating-can-minimize-the-tiring-effects-of-travel/article35188302/, last accessed July 11, 2017.