Whether you’ve decided to take the plunge and live overseas or are simply visiting a new country, I’m sure you’ve realized it’s not easy to live a different lifestyle and would’ve gladly welcomed some words of wisdom for healthy travel tips. No one wants to come back from their exciting trip to Europe with extra pounds (not the kind in their suitcase). But being surrounded by bakeries filled with fresh pastries that are basically calling out your name every time you walk by can be extremely derailing! A lot of websites may give you advice that makes you want to cry just thinking about. I mean, you’re on vacation right? You deserve to try foods around the world, right?
HECK YEA YOU DO!
I would be a huge fraud if I didn’t admit to indulging every now and then when I travel.. My sweet tooth has a very strong-will to get what it wants, when it wants.
And that’s OK.
I speak about all of this through experience; I never handled gaining weight while living abroad well. It took time for me to learn how to go from my strict, clean-eating habits in California to eating greasy street noodles in China and not having a complete panic attack.
Traveling is about experiencing different cultures.. the good and the bad. The savory and the oh-so-delectable, melt-in-your-mouth, dreaming about it as you go to bed, sweets. Yes.. I LOVE sweets.
But luckily (from trial and error.. lots of error), I have found what works best for me when I’m trying to stay healthy while I travel. I want to share it all with you because there is nothing more sad than skipping out on a slice of cheesy Italian pizza or feeling guilty for indulging in a buttery Bavarian pretzel. You really can have your cake, eat it too, and not worry about your health along the way.
Here are some healthy travel tips I’ve acquired through my adventures abroad:
Mindful Eating > Mindless Eating
No this is not some new-age, hippy talk that’s super hard to achieve.. it’s just becoming more aware of our eating habits. Instead of mindlessly gulping down food like it’s a guilty pleasure, rather than a life sustaining need, you simply pay more attention when you eat! Slowing down, taking time to enjoy your food (not just the taste– the smell, the texture, the sight) allows you to more fully partake in your meal and treasure the experience. Not only that but you are giving your body more time to digest its food, which will help signal to your brain when it is actually full instead of that horrible feeling when you’re all the sudden, REALLY FULL. I love to really look at my food while I eat, chew it completely, notice any smells it may be giving off; this all makes the experience that much more memorable. Which is what travel is all about, right? The memories!
Balance, my friend.
Yep yep yep. I’m going to be that person and tell you that indulging in every meal is a really bad idea. “But Kirstie, I’m traveling! I want to experience as much as I can!” Great! Get out for a walk around the city.. Go meet some locals! Because if you want to go out and have pastries for breakfast, followed by pizza for lunch, and pasta for dinner, you will feel
like shit really gross the rest of your trip. Deciding to only indulge maybe 1 or (sometimes) 2 meals per day is the best way you can go about being a bit healthier while traveling. Always being full of food that is lacking in nutrients will make you feel very sluggish and tired. And in my experience, being tired never contributes to a great travel experience. So, instead, why not focus on eating more fruits and veggies at two of your meals, than dive right in for one meal and experience the local food! Not only will you feel better (physically and emotionally) but you will most likely save a bit more money too!
Transportation is for the weak.. WALK!
I can’t tell you how many times I opted out of taking the subway 10 minutes through the city and instead took a 30 minute walk to my destination. Aside from the health benefits of getting more exercise, you get to actually SEE the city more! I promise that subways and buses really aren’t much different around the world. But getting outside and walking through the city is probably the best way to travel. It’s easy to find tiny, hidden gems this way. I have come across countless coffee shops, street art, and hidden streams that are only visible if you are out walking the streets, observing what’s around you. But aside from that, walking is great exercise and perfect for balancing any calorie packed meals you may have eaten that day.
Drink Water.. and then Drink More Water
This is probably the number one thing we forget to do when we’re traveling and is the most important healthy travel tip. Yet it’s probably the most important aspect for staying healthy when traveling. Being dehydrated can cause us to feel agitated, tired, and even worse, become sick. Not to mention our bodies literally thrive on water and need it to function properly. I should’ve put this tip at the top, bolded and highlighted, but alas I will leave it here. You can buy a water bottle almost anywhere while you’re traveling– convenience stores are always selling them. Plus they’re cheap so you literally have NO EXCUSES. If you’re thinking that it’s a huge waste of water bottles (though, I do believe your health is a tad bit more important) then go on Amazon and order one of those sticks that you can put inside of water and it kills any bacteria that could be harmful to you. Bring your bacteria slaying magic stick and a reusable water bottle and fill up at sinks around the world! There.. I have given you plenty of options that you can’t possibly have an excuse! *applauding myself*
Remember to Love Yourself Regardless
The fact is, we can’t control life. We can’t completely control our bodies. We can’t completely control what happens around us. But what we can control is how much we love ourselves. You went to Italia, indulged in the delicious cuisine, and gained a few pounds? So what! Love yourself regardless. I had a hard time with this when I went to China and wasn’t used to the greasy, noodle based foods. I just assumed I didn’t have any control and I constantly hated on my body. But what did that accomplish? Absolutely nothing. Feeling guilty is no way to travel!
If there’s one thing in life that we can always count on to be around, it’s ourselves. So we should choose to love ourselves all the time! More than anyone else in our lives! Before you leave to start your day of adventure, try to look in a mirror or reflection and think to yourself, “damn, I’m awesome!”– because you are! Then, while you’re going through your day, remember to take care of your awesome self in a loving and healthy way, even if tat means to treat yo’self!!
What’re your healthy travel tips that you’ve picked up? How do you keep from going insane when trying to balance healthy and the delicious foods of the world?