There's no time like August for summer vacations. But whether you're road tripping or flying somewhere exotic, it can be difficult to stay healthy while on the go. While I'm all for indulging in local foods that may be different from your usual diet (I seriously did my best to taste test every gelateria in Florence!) there's nothing worse than feeling guilty after downing junk food just because you felt it was your only option. Guess what, it's not!
Check out my guide to making wise choices and sticking to healthy habits away from home:
ON AN AIRPLANE
There’s a reason that plane food tastes like garbage: because it is. Even the so called “healthy” options are processed and preserved within an inch of their life so that they barely resemble food by the time they reach your plate. Rather than being subject to whatever the airline has on hand, it’s best to BYOM (Bring Your Own Meal) from home. If you can’t bring something healthy from home, you can often find decent options at the airport to buy and bring on the plane.
AT A HOTEL
Boutique hotels and Bed and Breaksfasts aside, hotel breakfasts often consist of a depressing spread of packaged breads, sugary cereals and OJ from concentrate. When faced with continental crap - look for plain yogurt and fresh fruit, but steer clear if it’s flavored (even vanilla) as it will be loaded with sugar. Another sugar bomb is the juice. Unless it’s fresh, the nutritional value to sugar ratio of juice literally isn’t worth the squeeze. Boiled eggs are the cleanest option, offering a boost of protein without any unknown additives. A simple egg scramble is the next best thing, just resist the urge to go overboard as you can bet the kitchen’s not cooking with heart healthy olive oils or quality butter. If you’re a bread girl, look for a multigrain or whole wheat toast, and top it with protein rich peanut butter.
AT A GAS STATION
Where can you buy a pizza-taco-hotdog combo worthy of an SNL skit? At most gas stations across America. But next to the neon colored chips and meat logs, there are actually a few healthier options for snacking on the road. Nuts are always amazing (especially walnuts or almonds); but stay away from trail mixes that are usually laced with junky ingredients. Turkey jerky or even beef jerky are actually good options too, IF you can find a brand with simple, real ingredients (no Slim Jims please). Krave and Duke’s are two trustworthy brands that I’ve managed to find at several surprising locations. Granola bars and protein bars are often full of sugars, preservatives and other crap, but keep an eye out for KIND or Lara bars, which are widely distributed and made of very few, simple ingredients. If you’re in need of a refreshing pick-me-up, opt for unsweetened iced tea rather than soda and you’ll not only avoid a boat load of artificial ingredients and sugar, you’ll even pick up some extra antioxidants. If it’s the fizz you crave, sparkling water (even flavored varieties) are a better option than soda.
EXERCISE ON THE GO
Obviously, if there’s a gym at the hotel; use it when you can. If you’re staying at a house or would rather exercise outside of the gym, download an exercise app (there are zillions of free ones to choose from) or find videos on YouTube of exercises you can do without equipment. Even better: bring sneakers and take a jog or a long walk around the place you’re visiting; it’s a great way to see the sights and break a sweat!