For those who have food sensitivities or are trying to keep their physical health in check, the food portion of a vacation can be a little stressful. A lot of us tend to worry about how our travel adventures might derail our overall wellness goals, especially when dealing with chronic illness. Vacations are meant to be a time to recharge and enjoy ourselves, so it’s important to find that balance between living in the moment and being mindful of our health.
As someone with autoimmune issues, I know the struggle. This week, I’m sharing my tips for enjoying your travels in a healthier way. 🙂 For other travel planning tips, check out my recent collaboration with 11 other talented bloggers.
1. Do your research ahead of time.
It’s easier than ever to look up restaurants that cater to specific food sensitivities, allergies or preferences. If you’re gluten-free, NOBREAD has some helpful guides to several cities to make the planning process a little easier. I like to Google farm-to-table restaurants in whatever city I’m visiting to help guide my choices when possible. It’s just as easy to look up restaurants that are ideal for specific dietary restrictions, like “gluten-free,” “vegan,” “paleo,” “vegetarian,” etc. Most restaurants now list their menus on their websites, which makes planning ahead simple.
2. Pack healthy snacks.
Whether you stash a few RX Bars in your bag before the trip or you stop by a local grocery store for fresh produce once you arrive, it’s always a good idea to have healthy snacks on hand in case you’re in a pinch. I try to keep my snacks similar to what I would eat at home for consistency, rather than stopping in a convenience store for a quick junk food fix. Having something healthy on hand will help you keep your energy levels up to enjoy a full day of sightseeing!
3. Ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
I’m not a huge foodie, but I always enjoy trying a special meal or something unique to the city I’m visiting. There is no part of a beignet that truly fits my health goals, but eating beignets at Café du Monde in New Orleans with my mom was one of my favorite travel experiences I’ve ever had. Fried food is not my jam, so that type of cuisine in Savannah was not important to me. But sampling pralines on River Street was 100% worth the sugar and calories.
In other cases, the ambience was more important to me than the food choice. One of my favorite foodie travel experiences took place in the indoor swimming pool of an old hotel, but my meal was merely a salad. If something doesn’t fit your usual food restrictions but will truly add to your experience, then by all means, indulge! But take a step back to ask yourself if the choice is worth it or if you’ll enjoy the experience just as much without it.
4. Incorporate healthy movement.
If your concerns are more related to weight management, keep in mind the power of exercise. There are plenty of ways to be active on vacation, from walking tours to nature hikes. I find that I get my most steps (take that, FitBit friends!) when I’m traveling. You’re probably getting a lot of exercise on vacation without realizing it!
5. Drink plenty of water.
We always forget this step (myself included). It is so important to remain hydrated, especially when you’re in a new climate or time zone, you’re exerting a lot more energy than usual, or you’re eating different foods than you’re used to. Bring a refillable bottle or grab a bottle from the hotel, but don’t forget to drink to keep your energy levels up!
What are your tips for healthy travel? Where are you planning your next adventure? Don’t forget to share in the comments section!