Sarah Pittman, BS Graduate Student in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
With the start of the new year, many of us have set goals to eat healthier and be more physically active. Until the new routine becomes a habit, it can be challenging to stick to our goals while away from home. Whether traveling for work or on vacation, new goals can be derailed when we don’t have access to the food we would normally eat or our normal gym routine. Here are some ways to keep diet and physical activity goals on track while away from home.
On the way to the destination:
- Bring fruits and vegetables as snacks
- Keep water handy by using a reusable water bottle and refilling it throughout the trip
- Pack some protein bars with minimal added sugars to help curb cravings between meals
- Try to avoid splurging when eating at a restaurant
- Restaurants give big portion sizes and it can be hard to hold back the urge to eat it all, but listening to your body and realizing when you have had enough is key to not overdoing it! You can order half portion sizes or ask for a to-go box when you first get your meal and put half of it away to avoid eating too much.
- Skip the chips, breadsticks, or rolls. These foods don’t really fill you up but have a lot of calories
- Take it slow on the alcoholic beverages
- Order side dishes of fruits and/or vegetables!
- Get the dressing on the side with salads
- When at fast-food restaurants try to order more healthful meals, like a salad or a chicken sandwich
- Skip the soda or sweetened beverages and choose water instead
- If traveling all day, make a point to get up and walk around, whether in the airport or at rest stops
- Sightseeing can be a great way in a walkable location to get in some extra steps and to check out a new city
- If your destination is not walkable, go to a park or take a hike
- Go for a walk after dinner
- Take advantage of the amenities, such as the hotel gym or pool
Eating and physical activity choices may not be perfect while you are traveling, but every little bit helps.
Don’t stress yourself out by following too strict of guidelines while away from home, just do your best and try not to overdo it. Sustainable diet and physical activity habits allow for some flexibility. Once you are home, refocus and get back to your pre-travel routine.
Gordon, B. (2019). Quick Guide to Eating Right While Traveling in the U.S. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.eatright.org/health/lifestyle/travel/quick-guide-to-eating-right-while-traveling-in-the-us
Magee, E. (2019). 10 Ways to Eat Healthy While on Vacation. Retrieved 28 December 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/women/features/vacation-eating#3