How Do You Stay Healthy While Traveling?
A few years back, Sergio and I were in an intense life coaching program that meant we were in a hotel for almost three weeks with a mini-fridge and our determination to stay on track. Of course, this was in Miami, Florida, so eating out was not attractive anyway at an average of $20-$30 per person per meal. So how did we do it, and how can you travel while plant-based?
There are a few different approaches depending on if your travel is for work or pleasure and also the location and type of hotel or motel you will be living in while away from home.
What you can bring with you depends on how you will be traveling, your finances, and your willingness to pack and carry some supplies with you on your trip.
We were blessed to be at a resort on the beach, so we had some advantages, like full hotel service and a mini-kitchen in our room. They automatically provided things like a microwave, dishes, knives, and some other basics. But we were on our own for the rest. Here’s how we prepared.
How Did We Prepare?
We did not want to get out of control, but since we were driving to our destination, we had the luxury of bringing a ginormous cooler on wheels. We filled it up with pre-cut vegetables in containers, pre-made chickpea salad, fruit, almond milk, and the basics we eat daily at home. We brought along canned beans, precooked packaged rice (for Sergio), dried fruit, old fashioned oats, a can opener, sharp knife and a cutting board. I wish I had thought to take pictures back then! We planned a budget ahead of time for how much we would spend on filling in our food inventory during our training. We also limited our restaurant outings, so we could stay on our plan but still enjoy some meals out with the rest of the group and get a break from eating in our room.
While we had to make a few trips to the grocery store and it wasn’t a trip filled with fancy nutritarian recipes, we were able to make our meals quickly for breakfast, on our lunch breaks and for dinners. We enjoy what we ate and felt full after each meal.
Here are some recommendations for you – but don’t be afraid to get creative and make it work for you.
If traveling on by airplane, you can bring premade soups or meals frozen in tightly sealed mason jars in your suitcase, as well as a can opener, knife (if you are checking in your suitcase), small cutting board, a collapsible bowl for making salads, ground flaxseeds or chia seeds, some seasonings.
When you drive your car, your options are a lot more flexible – you can bring all of your dry foods and fruits in your car, along with the above-mentioned supplies and even your dishes if needed and a case or two of bottle water or your refillable filter bottles.
If you plan to bring the minimum supplies due to airplane travel or for convenience, here are the items to bring and to buy when you arrive at your destination.
- Can opener
- Chopping knife
- Cutting board
- Collapsible salad bowl
- Seasonings, flax or chis seeds (ground)
- Supplements, water bottle if not purchasing bottled water
- Dried fruit may be cheaper at home as well. Y
- Premade salads such as bean dips or chick pea salad
- Steamed or roasted vegetables
- Precooked bean-based pastas that you can cold from the refrigerator or cooler
- Variety of pre-chopped vegetables or whole vegetables to chop (cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, peppers, greens, including Romaine, kale, spring mix or others, onion)
- Canned(BPA-free) or precooked beans
- Canned (BPA-free) unsweetened pineapples or other favorites
- Fresh fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, nectarines, papaya or mango
- Frozen veggies that can be eaten thawed in a salad or heated up in a microwave with seasoning.
- Case or two of BPA-free water bottles (optional)
- Lemons and/or limes for adding to morning water – stay hydrated and detoxing while away from home.
To microwave or not to microwave: There will always be debates microwave safety, but no legitimate study has proven that they are dangerous or lessen the nutrient quality of our foods. If you have a microwave or access to a microwave at your hotel, enjoy the option for oatmeal or heating up vegetables.
Don’t avoid eating out a few times if it’s in your budget. Be clear to the server about your health requirements and customize a salad – if it’s on the menu, they can add it to your salad. Be assertive about no oil or sugar in your meals. Ideas for ordering:
- Salads with your own custom requests
- Baked potato with steamed broccoli and a side salad
- Fruit salad
- Vegetable soup (watch out for oil)
- Sweet potato fries if baked with no oil,
- Raw vegetables with a side serving of brown rice
- Roasted veggies and onions.
You don’t have to be perfect if your trip is a rare occurrence. Do your best to prepare and be as disciplined as you can when you are on your trip. If you have a slip or get lazy for a meal, get back on track at the very next meal and don’t beat yourself up. This is a way of life and you have to make it sustainable. If your travel makes it difficult to bring or prepare food in your hotel room, be vigilant about your food choices at restaurants or as a guest at someone’s home. Your health and your happiness are dependent on it.
Need an accountability partner or a health coach who can help you with the behavioral challenges of a plant-based life? Contact me today for a complimentary consultation. Change your health, change your life!