I LOVE TRAVELLING! Trying funky local foods. Being blown away by natural beauty. Salty sea water. Mountains. Forests. Beach. Snow. Breeze. Overall emotional YUM.
But you know what I’m not a fan of? Feeling bloated. And lazy. And just meeeh. I mean, holidays don’t last forever and there’s all this stuff I want to try/see/taste/touch and it really sucks if I feel my energy levels don’t keep up.
Maybe it’s the over-processed snacks at the airport, or airplane food, or too much wheat, or not enough water. Too much food. Stuff like that.
I say, to hell with that! Here’s my 5 step winning plan to help you feel amazing while travelling. I’ve been road testing this for some time now and I’m really pleased with the results. Without further ado…
#1 Take Awesome Food For The Trip
I started bringing snacks to last me until I get to my destination – so no more Pret, no more airplane food. The key here is to have something that’s not messy to eat – energy balls are great for that, so are healthy cookies. Here are some recipes you might want to try:
I never used to bring salads because I worried about them leaking all over the place, but now I got myself a leak-proof stainless steel mini pot which I LOVE = YES to salads! You should have seen my mom’s face when I tucked into my quail eggs + roasted veg + feta + oregano + pine nuts salad on the last trip (I shared, I promise).
I also like to take a green smoothie with me to have before I go through security. And once you’re through security remember to get plenty of water so you can stay hydrated throughout your flight. Coconut water works too and I know you can get some in all London airports – they usually sell them in Boots.
Be careful when snacking on nuts, especially if they’re not pre-soaked. They’re easy to go overboard with and quite a challenge to digest. And then you end up with a hamster-cheek-like belly.
Also you might want to do some prep for your flight back home – maybe chop up a quick salad the day before or pick up some snacks from a local healthy food joint if you find one. Whatever you do make it easy – you don’t want to spend too much valuable holiday time prepping food for your flight back.
#2 Do Some Research on Local Healthy Food Places
Do some research before your trip on where you could grab healthy food or a green juice on the go. You don’t want to be wasting time googling this while you’re on holiday. Prioritise proximity to your key checkpoints – i.e. your hotel, transport hubs you might be using regularly or main tourist attractions you might be visiting so that you don’t have to drag your friends all the way to some obscure neighbourhood just for a juice. Although… obscure neighbourhood = adventure!
If you’re travelling somewhere where English isn’t the main language and googling stuff in the local language is a bit of a challenge, try to play around with the term “organic” (i.e. “organic cafe”) – I’ve had the best results with “organic” because it seems to carry over into other languages.
#3 Move Move Move!
I always travel with my running shoes, yoga mat and swimsuit. I like to do 15-30mins of yoga every morning and I try to keep up with that while traveling as well. I’m not a master yogi yet so can’t just come up with my own routines on the spot, but as long as I have wifi and my mobile/iPad/laptop I just log onto youtube and do a session with one of my favourite yoga instructors – Adriene or Ekhart Yoga. It sets me off to a good start and sometimes I do one more session before bedtime – but this may be harder to fit in if you’re traveling with other people.
I also check if there’s a swimming pool in my hotel and jump in for a 20minute swim every time I’m due to wash my hair. And if there’s somewhere nice to go running… an early morning jog to pick up fresh breakfast food can do magic, or go for a high power sprinting session or whatever floats your boat really. I love to use my Moov while travelling because you don’t need to “plan” your running session – you just do whatever Moov tells you to do.
I also much prefer to explore places on foot rather than driving/public transport. Keeping up a good level of physical activity helps your digestion. You want that.
#4 Pockets of Good Food
So, staying healthy on holiday… It shouldn’t be about completely depriving yourself of all opportunities to try funky local foods. It’s more about giving your body a chance to recover from culinary adventures quicker, as opposed to bashing it for 7 days straight and then trying to recover once you get back home, all bloated and whatnot. It’s about balance. Find the perfect balance for you. For me that holiday sweet spot is probably somewhere around 70-30, i.e. 70% great food and 30% no questions asked.
Make an effort to understand what kind of foods help keep you regular – this way you can be more efficient with your pockets of good food. I love to start my day with a glass of warm water and juice of 1/4 of a lemon. Then after yoga, I have a breakfast of soaked buckwheat with fruit (1/3 cup buckwheat soaked overnight in water) – it’s super easy and requires no cooking. I also bring Pu-Erh tea and fennel infusions – both help digestion, except Pu-Erh is best taken in the morning as otherwise you might struggle falling asleep. Drink plenty of water. The combination of all of these is like life’s UNDO button!
If you want to go really hardcore you can bring something like a Nutribullet so you can make your own smoothies – especially if you’re going somewhere where the healthy food trend hasn’t taken off yet. You can also use it to make your own nut milk – it’s not a big deal if you don’t strain it.
Don’t feel you’ve got to make perfect food decisions all the time though as you might end up having a pretty stressful holiday (or making somebody else’s holiday stressful) – instead open yourself up to local foods and just slip in pockets of good food every now and then.
#5 Hack Your Sleep
Get good sleep – the quality of your sleep affects the quality of food choices you make and making good food choices can already be pretty tricky while traveling so you don’t want to make it harder for yourself. Great sleep isn’t just about the duration, but also about quality. Same rules apply as at home – reduce screen time before bed, close all curtains, set the room temperature to slightly cool, maybe do some bedtime yoga etc.
If you need to fight jet-lag, the secret is to fall asleep at the right time on day one. Try a combination of exercise (to get some physical fatigue) and pre-bedtime valerian tea to help you doze off.
That’s it folks. Simple as that.
Now go plan that next holiday :)