Whether hitting the road for a family vacation or flying across multiple time zones, traveling can play havoc on your body. Use the information below to help ensure you get adequate nutrition and rest to help you think clearly and feel you’re best.
Drink plenty of fluids on the plane. Bring your own large water bottle to fill and drink at frequent intervals. Get up and walk frequently when you are not sleeping.
Bring your own snacks. Now more than ever there are healthier meal choices on flights but having your own snacks to munch on between meals will be helpful. Skip the fast food on the road. Consider packing some of the non-perishable items below in your suitcase or car so you can stock healthy foods in your hotel room.
Good travel snacks include:
*Unsalted nuts. Bring 1 oz bag so you don’t over consume at one time.
*Jerky, low sodium (under 200 mg/serving). Field Trip is sold at Starbucks
*Low sugar, high protein bars. Check the label to keep the added sugar to 6 g or less. Several KIND bars Lara bars make the cut.
*Nut butter packets and low-fat cheese wedges come in handy. Try Justin’s Nut Butter and Sonoma Jacks cheese.
*Packets of Starkist Low Sodium Chunk Light Tuna packed in water
*Packets of Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon
*Whole grain crackers. Bag several individual servings.
*Packets of instant oatmeal
*Microwave low fat popcorn (94% fat free)
*Decaf Green tea bags (when you want something healthy to drink besides water)
Request a hotel room with a mini frigerator and microwave. Stock your room with bottled water, fresh fruit, vegetable tray with hummus, and low-fat Greek Yogurt. Ask room service to remove foods and liquor to make room for your goods vs. the junk food and alcohol in the refrigerator (if you remove the items yourself, they may charge you for them).
Do not skip meals and consume your snacks between meals. Ask room service for shrimp cocktail and the vegetable platter to snack on in your room.
Exercise. Take time to use the exercise facility and/or walk to your destinations when possible. If you are up for it, bring a jump rope with you and use it in your room. Stretching and meditating will make you feel refreshed and relaxed.
When dining out, plan alcohol consumption. Keep it to 1 or 2 glasses of spirits and drink non-alcoholic beverages between orders. Overindulging does not help you make the best business or food choices. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people consume an extra 433 calories from alcohol and food when they consume spirits. Watch for automatic wine refills by the waiter. Keep a coaster on top of your glass or let the waiter know you don’t want your glass refilled without asking you first.
Use green salads as an appetizer. Keep the dressing on the side. Studies show people eat 11% fewer calories when starting with a salad as an appetizer. Order vegetables cooked with limited or no fat. Request that your protein foods be grilled with no butter. Keep sauces on the side so you can control calories. Consider splitting a dessert. You can still enjoy the local goodies but limit it to one dessert daily.
Avoid buffets when possible. If you have no choice, make sure green salads and fresh fruit take up half the space on your plate. Keep your trip to the buffet table down to one visit unless you are reaching for more produce.
Thirst often masquerades as hunger. Dehydration may also cause fatigue. Carry a water bottle with you. Drink enough so that you are urinating several times during the day and that the urine is only slightly colored and the volume is a decent amount.
Flying Across Multiple Time Zones?
If you have trouble keeping your body clock (circadian rhythm) ticking consider using a melatonin supplement. Taking melatonin may help your body adapt to local time. Your body treats melatonin as a darkness signal, and generally has the opposite effect of bright light. The time at which you take melatonin is important. If you’re flying east across multiple time zones, you should take melatonin at local bedtime until you have adapted to local time. When flying west, melatonin should be taken in the morning.
Doses as small as 0.3 milligram seem just as effective as doses of 5 milligrams or higher for most people. Avoid alcohol when taking melatonin. Side effects are uncommon but may include dizziness, headache, daytime sleepiness, loss of appetite, and possibly nausea and disorientation. Some examples of brands on the market include:
- Herbatonin Plant Melatonin. Each pills provides .3 mg of melatonin.
- GNC Melatonin Cherry Vegetarian Lozenge. Each lozenge provides 1 mg.
- Pure Encapsulations Melatonin Liquid. A half-dropperful provides 1.25 mg
Establish a healthy habit and routine when traveling just like you do at home. When a routine is not possible, you’ll be ready because you packed and stocked up on some great foods.
Happy and successful travels!