Numerous studies have stated the effect vacations have on weight gain. Vacationers carefully watch their calories before going on a holiday. They eat healthily and many a time may even resort to dieting to keep those pounds off. The motivation for doing this, most of the time, is the ability to enjoy the sweets while on the vacation without feeling guilty. So does this method of fasting before going on the road work to keep your weight in check? No, it doesn’t. If anything, it might lead you to overindulge during your time on the road as a way to reward yourself or make up for the gap you subjected yourself to earlier.
The ability to keep fit, healthy, and watch your weight is even more difficult for those of you who are constantly on the road. With limited access to healthy, freshly cooked foods, continuous travelers tend to find themselves at loss. Most of the time both, business and pleasure travelers depend on local restaurants or airport food. Needless to say, neither promise healthy food. Food that has been cooked for hours or ones dripping with fat yet tastes great thanks to the herbs and spices do not spell weight-watch.
Through this post, we give you ways to watch your weight while you travel. You will learn about:
- Four eating mistakes that you should avoid while traveling
- Ten tips to help watch your weight while on the road
- Five food options to go for at airports
- Three golden rules of watching your weight while traveling
To begin with, one of the most important things frequent travelers need to understand is that traveling a lot does not necessarily need to compromise your eating habit, fitness regime, or your weight. These can all go hand-in-hand, quiet well. There are ways to dealing with this paradoxical situation. Following them can help you eat healthy and watch your weight while traveling, to a great extent.
Four Eating Mistakes to Avoid While Traveling
There are some simple things that you should remember when you are planning to travel for a short or long stay. While there are quite a few tips and tricks that can help you watch those pounds while you are jet setting to new locations, there are some mistakes you should avoid to help you get there more easily.
Skipping breakfast: Whether it is a normal workday or a travel day, breakfast is something you shouldn’t ever skip. By eating a hearty breakfast, you can get your metabolism going. Breakfast also helps cut cravings later during the day, which are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain. If you do not have the time for a proper breakfast, know that a bowl of cereal with some fruits or a combination of fruits and yogurt is also good to get going.
Drinking less water: Water is that one liquid that can do wonders for your weight loss efforts. It is important to stay hydrated, especially when you are on the road. Many a time, dehydration causes a sensation that feels similar to hunger. That is, people often confuse thirst with hunger. By keeping yourself hydrated you will do away with the feeling of pseudo hunger, which will, in turn, keep you from ingesting more calories.
Eating full portions: Meal servings at the restaurant are too much for a single adult. As such, if you are ordering your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the restaurant and trying to finish the entire meal, then you are bound to eat more calories than you probably should. Ask to order from the appetizer menu, or request for half portions. You could also pack-to-go the other half, but if you do not have access to a microwave, there is no point in doing that. Cold, stale food is not the best meal option.
Indulging in alcohol: Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body. It also fogs the mind and decreases your ability to concentrate and get things done. So if you are on work travel, it is better to stick to the occasional single drink and limit it to that.
Ten Tips to Help Watch Your Weight While on the Road
With limited access to freshly cooked food containing less oil and spices, chances of a sudden weight gain are high. It takes effort to ensure you are putting the right food into your body. The following ten tips can help you not only keep your weight in check, but also eat right and healthy while you are traveling.
Learning about what you eat: You might feel the urge to try a new cuisine or a dish, which is perfectly fine. What you need to do is learn about what has gone into a particular dish. It is always okay to ask about the nutritional aspects of the food you are ordering. This will help you control the number of carbohydrates and fats and ensure you get a portion of protein with every meal. This is also a good habit to maintain for people who are allergic to certain food substances, such as dairy, nuts, spices, etc.
Drinking enough water: Staying hydrated is a must while traveling. Whether you are on a pleasure trip or work trip, stress and duress due to travel sets in sooner or later. Water helps you stay fresh and reduces stress to a great extent. Water is also a 100% calorie-free drink that can help you cut cravings, boost immunity, and also cut back on sugary beverages. If you are not a big fan of drinking water, carry some flavored tea bags and organic herbal infusions which can help maintain your water intake while adding some health benefits to it. Also, a common trick to hinder overeating is to drink one to two glasses of water about 30 minutes before a meal. This will give you a feeling of being full and help you in eating only what is required.
Ordering the right coffee: While coffee is a must in most people’s morning, afternoon, and evening routine, care must be taken to see what kind of coffee you order. Many a time, the specials menu at the coffee place around the corner might pack in a punch of calories. Avoid cream and sugar in your coffee and stick with the classics of espresso or an americano, sans sugar.
Sticking to a meal plan: It is easy to overeat in a new environment. You might want to try more places and cuisines. But having a set meal plan can help you keep track of your meals and, hence, your calories. Try to eat what you would have eaten if you were at home. Carry healthy snacks that can keep you from binge eating full portions of meals every time you feel hungry.
Ordering dressing on the side: Even if you are trying to play safe by having salads for meals, make sure that you order the dressing on the side. Although your salad might be low in calories, healthy, and protein-packed, the dressing might be rich in fat and high in calories. Having it on the side helps you stay in control of how many calories you ingest.
Adding protein to your meals: When you are not sure of what to eat, order protein. This food group helps you stay full for longer periods and also makes you more alert. So whether you order grilled chicken with a side of veggies at a restaurant or grab a protein bar when you are battling hunger, know that you are in safe hands.
Staying away from liquid calories: Liquid calories such as sodas, sweetened juices, and alcohol have a lasting effect. That is, the calories you gain from drinking liquid calories are difficult to lose for a long period, which could last up to 6 weeks. Try drinking flavored water, instead. If you have access to fresh fruit juices without artificial sweeteners, you could go for them, as well.
Carrying your snacks with you: It is always a good idea to pack some snacks from home. Here’s a list of healthy snacks you can choose from:
- String cheese
- Fresh fruits
- Small containers of hummus or nut butter
- Unsalted almonds
- Whole grain crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Skim milk
- Granola bars
Even if you are unable to carry a whole lot of snacks while traveling, head to the nearest grocery store once you reach your destination and stock up on these snacks. Keep some of them in your everyday travel bag to calm your hunger pangs anytime, anywhere.
Investing in a cooler: A small cooler can help you keep your food fresh at all times, especially dairy-based food like cheeses or perishable foods like canned tunas. A cooler is especially helpful when you are traveling during summer. For business travelers, carrying a cooler around might not be the best option. If you are a business traveler, try to stock up on non-perishable goods.
Following is a list of perishable and non-perishable foods that you can carry with you while traveling:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Pre-cooked meats
- Fresh fruits
- Cut vegetables
- Cheese sticks
- Trail mix
- Beef jerky
- Granola bars
Cooking for yourself: If you want to control your calorie intake while on the road and wouldn’t mind cooking for yourself, then book a stay at an apartment that offers a basic kitchenette. If you do go for this option, you can plan your meals, pack in the required ingredients in the cooler, and you are all set to eating healthy even when you are traveling.
Five Food Options at Airports
Airports and flights pose a serious challenge to healthy eaters. Airplane food seldom tastes good or fresh. Airport terminals, on the other hand, tempt with their range of food options, delicacies, and fancy menus. It is easy to lose yourself in the moment and get into the holiday mode, even when you are traveling on business, and partake in a wealth of calories. Following is a checklist of guilt-free food items that are safe to eat at the airport.
Fruits & Vegetables
It is easy to find fresh fruits at most airport terminals. If there aren’t a lot of choices, you can surely find some fresh apples and bananas which are good enough to curb hunger. Freshly cut fruit cups are also a good option, but when you are unsure about how fresh the cut fruit is, it is better to avoid it altogether. Berries are also a good choice, but make sure any fruit that you eat has been washed properly. Fruits are rich in fiber and water content, which makes them a great snack to address hunger pangs while calming the sweet tooth, as well.
Yogurt is the ideal breakfast add on, as it ranks high on satiety and boosts metabolism. Yogurt is also something you can find easily at grocery/departmental stores at airport terminals. You can either eat some yogurt or club it with fruit, say banana. If you cannot find your non-fat, unsweetened yogurt option in the store refrigerator, go for Greek yogurt instead. You can also opt-out of yogurt altogether and buy some nut butter or a pack of nuts to feel full while indulging in some healthy snacks.
Nuts and Seeds
These are full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. You can find small packets of seeds and nuts at the airport terminal grocery store, but make sure you go for the unsalted ones because you would want to watch your sodium intake. Like any other pre-packaged food, make sure you read the label of these packaged nuts and seeds, so you know exactly how many calories you are eating.
Stores display a large variety of protein bars, but not all of them might be the best option for the ‘weight-watching you.’ Read the labels and go for a bar that offers less than ten grams of sugar. You can also go for protein bars that are organic and contain nuts, seeds, or organic meats and vegetables along with natural sweeteners. But like always, do check the label before buying it.
One of the safest go-to options at airport terminals, smoothies are fresh, and they help keep you hydrated while not loading you up with too many calories. They help quell hunger and quench thirst at the same time. But do make sure that the smoothie ingredients are all-natural and that it does not contain ‘natural sweeteners.’
Three Golden Rules of Watching Your Weight While Traveling
Now that you know the do’s, don’ts, tips, and tricks of healthy eating and maintaining your weight while you are traveling, these three golden rules are, finally, all you will need to make sure you stay on track.
You put in a lot of effort to eat healthy and keep fit. You wouldn’t want to give all that up during the times you travel, especially if you end up spending the lion’s share of your time traveling. If your go-to food options are organic, vegan, lean proteins, and healthy fat, it is recommended that you try and stick to that meal plan as closely as possible. Any sudden changes to the same might be received as a shock by your body, and travel time is not the best time for such shocks. While it is important to try local cuisine to savor the ultimate cultural immersive experience in a new place, it is also important to balance the food you eat. You can always choose to try a new dish that might be deep-fried, or rich in sugar or carbs, but remember to balance off that particular dish with something that’s lighter on the stomach and easier to digest.
The importance of exercise in our lives cannot be undermined. The release of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine not only makes you feel happy, but they also help you build muscles, and strengthen your immunity and cardiovascular system. You do not need to indulge in hardcore exercise if you are not into it. Just staying active will do the trick. If you are visiting a new place, see if you can find some hiking trails, or you could you even rent a bicycle to explore the new city instead of using an Uber or a taxi. That is surely going to help you cut some calories. Another great way of exploring a new city is on foot. Vacations, too, can give you plenty of opportunities to stay on your feet and lose those new calories that you have added on. If you are on a business trip, exploration and cycling your way through the city might not be an option. Find out if your hotel has a gym and try out some light cardio every day before you head out in the morning, or once you are back from work.
Traveling does not do much good for our sleep routines, especially if you are traveling across time zones and you find yourself jetlagged for the most part of your travel. The trick in battling this is to stay hydrated and not deny your body the sleep it is craving. A good seven to eight hours of sleep does you a world of good, especially when you are in unfamiliar territory. It helps boost your immunity, cognitive functions, body’s stress tolerance levels, and of course, it helps you stay energized and happy. Sleeping well also reduces your body’s cravings for food, which in turn helps you maintain your calorie intake, thus, keeping those pounds in check.
Keeping your weight on watch shouldn’t be a difficult affair. A strong resolve and a good meal plan in place can do half the job of ensuring you eat right, stay fit, and come back from your trip with only the extra weight of what you shopped. Practice mindful eating. Know the right food for your body at any given point, and always make a conscious effort of choosing the right options. Rest well and stay active to ensure your body is well-rested and your metabolism is on track. Know what foods to avoid and which ones to embrace. Being on the road the majority of the time can be a difficult feat. But once you master the tips and tricks listed here in the post, it’s only a matter of time till you see your weight watch efforts while traveling take a positive effect.