10 Totally Doable Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

bike riding in netherlands

Until this point in my life, I never really traveled all that much. I would vacation maybe a couple of times per year. But this year is a whole lot different! Living in Europe and being able to travel the world is something that I get giddy about..like that butterflies in your stomach feeling. My husband and I are always looking for our next adventure and booking our next trip. While traveling and exploring new places is wonderful, there are some downsides, like wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re not eating home cooked meals and don’t have your home gym available.

With that being said, I know I had to maintain my healthy lifestyle even while traveling because it’s just that important to me!

Since January of this year, we’ve been on countless trips to seven different countries, so I’ve come up with some totally doable tips for staying healthy while traveling. These tips are things that I do pretty much every time we travel. Without a doubt, when I feel healthy and strong I’m a happier and more vibrant human being. When I eat lousy and don’t workout, my body is tired and my motivation is poor. I know how I want to feel on a regular basis, so I make sure that I do all that I can to maintain my healthy lifestyle both while I’m at home and while traveling.

Hallie Streets of Lisbon

10 Totally Doable Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

[1] Pack snacks for the plane and while you’re getting from point A to point B.

With a toddler in tow I always have snacks on my mind because toddlers snack a lot. A lot. But I also need some healthy options for myself. The night before a trip I make sure I have my snacks planned out set out so I don’t have to think about it the day of our flight [or forget the snacks all together!].

Some easy, go-to travel snacks are:

  • homemade trail mix [raw nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, unsweetened dried fruit, etc.]
  • raw nuts
  • “clean” beef jerky
  • whole fruit like apples and oranges that don’t smash easily
  • dark chocolate [70% cocoa or higher, of course!]
  • homemade granola bars [check out this recipe and this one, too!]
  • homemade muffins [check out this recipe and this one.]
  • raw veggies like baby carrots or sliced bell peppers that can be eaten at room temp.

Trail Mix

[2] Hydrate.

Whether you grab a big bottled water at the nearest market or you hydrate before you head out the door, it’s so important to drink water. Throughout Europe it’s not standard that you get free water at your table when dining out either. When exploring a new city, chances are you’ll be walking by some small markets or grocery stores, so don’t forget to stop in for a water break. Whatever your water consumption goals are at home should be the same [or close to the same] while traveling. Remember, divide your body weight [in pounds] in half and aim to drink that many ounces of water daily.

[3] Walk or bike when you’re going places.

When we decide where to go on vacation, we almost always choose places that we can walk and explore ourselves, rather than having to take taxis and other forms of public transportation. Not only does walking really allow you to take in all that a city has to offer, you get to burn some calories and get your blood pumping a bit. Win-win. We also like to stay near the city center if we can so we can walk out our door and get going exploring rather than having to catch a ride into town.

Ghent Streets

[4] Eat breakfast.

This can be tough in Europe because Europeans typically eat pastries and coffee for breakfast. While I’ve had my fair share of pastries in the morning while vacationing in Europe, I know that my body feels better when I’ve had something more substantial and protein-based like a quiche or eggs. If I’m going for a pastry I’ll choose one that’s not loaded with extra sugar like a plain croissant rather than a donut. And I never order a sweetened or flavored latte. My body just doesn’t need the extra sugar. Black coffee or a cappuccino is my breakfast drink of choice.

I also bring along some travel packs of Vital Proteins® Collagen Peptides that I can easily add to coffee for a boost of protein and nutrients.

[5] Review some restaurants before choosing where to eat.

I use the Trip Advisor and Yelp apps on my phone to scope out restaurants before we decide on a place. I want to know what kind of food a place serves and if I’m going to have some healthier options to choose from. I also love to search for green juice bars so I can hit up one of those cafés for a healthy veggie boost while we’re out and about! And if you have dietary restrictions you can search for places that offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and other options.

Healthy Dinner and Wine

[6] Choose healthier menu items.

There are some simple things you can do to make your restaurant food a little bit healthier. Start by foregoing the bread basket as an appetizer, or stick to just one piece. The last thing you need to do is fill up on bread before dinner. Also, if you’re in a coastal area, opt for the fresh seafood. You can’t go wrong with fresh fish, and it’s usually one of the healthier menu items. Try to avoid heavy dishes like pasta [unless you’re in Italy, of course!] and opt for something more protein-based like meat/chicken/or fish and some veggies. Or even try a large dinner salad. The salads I’ve had throughout Europe have been amazing, and they don’t drench your salad in dressing like many places do in the US. Lastly, try to avoid sugary cocktails and opt for a vodka soda with lime or wine instead.

Chickpea Appetizer O Corvo

[7] Stop by a local market if available.

We love to stop by the local markets and pick up some produce that we can munch on throughout the day. Things like fresh fruit are a staple with us and our daughter, and the fruit at some of these produce stands are simply amazing. If you’re staying at a hotel or Airbnb with a kitchen and you plan to cook, local markets are the best place to pick up the freshest produce, fish and meats.

[8] Don’t “eat whatever you want” just because you’re on vacation.

When I’m in Italy I order pasta and when I’m in Germany I drink beer, but that doesn’t mean that I order the heaviest, cheesiest pasta on the menu. Instead, I order pasta with veggies or something lighter that I know won’t be too rich and heavy. Or if you’re dying to try something in particular, see if your spouse or travel partner will share with you. Typically pasta dishes have huge portions anyways. We rarely order dessert because we’d rather have a glass of wine or two at dinner than fill up on some sugary dessert.

You have to learn to make choices that are best for you. I know that when I eat certain things, I’m not going to feel great after, so I don’t eat them. It’s the same thing on vacation. Why would you want to feel bad on vacation just so you can eat whatever you want? It’s all about balance and eating healthy most of the time. And listening to your body.

Healthy Dinner Crete

[9] Get in a quick 20 minute sweat session in your hotel room or Airbnb.

Even if we’re going to be walking a lot throughout the day, sometimes my body just needs a good ole’ sweat session. You don’t need any equipment to simply set a timer and get moving. I like to do things like lunges, squats, jumping jacks, etc. I’ll set my phone timer for 20 minutes and do a different move for 60 seconds until I’ve reached the 20 minutes. You can also find many free online workouts from Tone It Up or YouTube. I immediately feel stronger and ready to take on the day! Plus, after a good workout I want to fuel my body with healthy foods, so it’s a win-win.

[10] Bring a larger purse or backpack to carry snacks, water, etc. when you’re out and about.

This is a no-brainer for me because I still carry my diaper bag around for my daughter and use it for some of our essentials, too. But even if I didn’t have my diaper bag I would have something large enough to carry some goodies and my water bottle.

[bonus tip 11] Have something homemade in the freezer so you don’t have to cook or go to the grocery store when you get home.

I always have something in the freezer whether it’s a leftover dinner, frozen chicken, homemade granola bars or ingredients to make a smoothie. I’ll also make sure I have a few things in the fridge and pantry that wont spoil while were away. Things like eggs, an unopened container of almond milk, almond butter, cheese, sweet potatoes and canned beans. These things can quickly and easily turn into a hassle free meal if needed.

 

There you have it. My 10 totally doable tips for staying healthy while traveling. I hope you find this helpful for your next adventure! And don’t forget to check out the travel section of my blog where I’ll be posting about all the different places we visit throughout Europe!

 

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Angela Freed

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