It was a busy morning trying to get everything together for our trip. I was checking my bag over making sure I packed everything I could possibly need. My dogs were panicking because they knew the big pink bag meant their humans would be leaving them. The house still needed to be tidied up before the dog sitter arrived and my anxiety was kicking in as I am not a huge fan of flying but every now and then it must be done to get from one location to another.
I usually always recommend having some sort of plan whenever it comes to food. Whether you are meal planning for the week, going out to eat, or traveling. My plan for this particular morning was we would eat breakfast at home and then get lunch at the airport to bring on the plane. In my mind, I thought I had remembered there being certain restaurants that I could pick up something healthy from.
When we arrived at the airport everything had changed. They moved the parking structure and had a new air train to bring you to your airline. I had no idea that this new system would take so long. Who knew that the old shuttle would be faster than an air train. Well, I think we saw the whole city before we finally got to our destination. Once we got inside, everything took longer than we expected. We had to tag our bags and the line we thought was correct to drop them off was not and we were redirected to another line. When we finally made it through security, we had only fifteen minutes left to find food, water, a bathroom, and our gate before our plane started boarding. As we were looking for food, the restaurants I thought were available were not. I guess I had the wrong airport. Everything that was opened was fried and fatty. I was starting to panic when I finally found a restaurant that had a salad with grilled chicken. I told my husband to order that for me as I ran to the bathroom.
We made it to our gate on time and boarded the plane. I didn’t have time to pick up magazines or get water beforehand but I knew the flight attendants would be around soon with drinks. I inhaled my salad and my parched mouth anxiously waited for the cart to come down the aisle. What I didn’t know, was that due to covid, they no longer were offering the same items as they were before. I received a thimble size glass of water for my 6-hour flight.
By the time we landed, we couldn’t wait to get something to drink and some more food for my husband. To our surprise, EVERYTHING was closed! I was tempted to stick my head under the bathroom faucet when thankfully we found a vending machine selling water. As we waited two hours for our rental car we were never so happy that I had found some turkey jerky on the bottom of my bag.
Not everything can go as planned especially when you are traveling but if you at least try you will be better set up for success. Going with no plan at all will most likely lead you to pick up any food that is available when you are hungry.
I know some people who like to give up their health plan entirely when they go on vacation as I used to be one of them. How do you know what is right for you? Well, it depends. You know yourself best and will have to make that decision. I would start by asking yourself the following questions:
- How often are you traveling? If it is a once-a-year vacation it might not be harmful to splurge on your favorite meals. If you travel often, splurging every time could cause you to not keep or reach your health goals.
- From your past experience, how have you felt after your vacation? For me, when I have just eaten whatever I wanted, I enjoyed it during the vacation but when I got home I felt miserable and had a hard time getting back on track. I found myself getting pulled back into my old routine of eating bad food and instead of losing what I gained on vacation, I would just continue down a bad path of gaining more.
- Will you be able to enjoy your vacation without having some treats? You don’t want to feel deprived or left out when everyone around you is enjoying all the yummy food options. For me, I have learned that having an occasional treat or meal is ok. I will try and stick with my plan most of the day and then allow myself to enjoy something that I wouldn’t normally have.
If you have decided to stick with your health plan when you travel, below are some tips to help keep you on track.
- If you are able, bring your food with you. When we travel by car, it is easy to fill an ice chest with our healthy food options. Or stop by a store near your location to purchase what you will need. We like to stay in places that have a kitchen so we can prepare our own food as well.
- When traveling by plane, pack plenty of healthy snacks that you can bring with you.
- If you are only able to eat at restaurants, try and research the menu ahead of time. Do your best to choose foods that fit within your plan.
- Don’t overindulge at every meal. Plan ahead on what items you want to splurge on. Are you going somewhere that serves a certain food that you can’t get anywhere else? You might not want to pass it up. Do you normally skip dessert but would like to enjoy it on vacation? Then have the dessert. If you know ahead of time that you already planned these splurges into your day, you will enjoy it more and not feel guilty about it.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water when traveling. When you become dehydrated your body can think you are hungry causing you to eat more.
- Try to fit in exercise. If you are site seeing you will likely be walking a lot but if you plan to lay around a beach, try and find ways to be active. Locate gyms in the area, search for walking trails, or try out a new activity like kayaking.
Even though it can be a challenge to stick with your health plan when traveling, it can be worth it when you do. Eating healthy while traveling can ensure you feel energized and engaged in all of your activities. Always remember to enjoy the experience and the people you are with. And if you gained a little weight, don’t panic! Just get right back into your health routine when you get home and it will come back off.
On the way home from our last trip, we made sure we gave ourselves plenty of time. I was thankful that we did because the rental car company forgot to tell us that they did not open early in the morning. As we drove in circles around the airport pondering where we should dump our car, I told my husband to pull up one more time to the rental car location to see if there was a sign telling us what to do. The gate was closed and the tire spikes were up. Just as we pulled up, a man jumped out of a vehicle waving his hands excitedly trying to convince us not to run through the gate. He then proceeded to tell us where we could return our car safely. Once the car was returned we jumped on the shuttle to take us to the terminal. We made it in plenty of time to check in our bags and go through security. This time, I had made sure to pack a healthy breakfast and plenty of snacks for our flight. I was feeling confident that we would get to our gate on time when all of a sudden my bag was pulled from the security check. I started to question what all I had brought with me. Did I accidentally pack a knife? Did my breakfast burrito look like a bomb? Another security agent came up and took the bag and said with a stern voice “follow me”. I was nervous but I couldn’t look nervous because that would make me look guilty. I just needed to calm down. Before I knew it, they were taking out my salt shaker. I know that salt is not good for you but I didn’t think I could get arrested for it. After an interrogation and a lengthy science experiment, it was determined that salt was in the salt shaker and I was free to go. Ah, traveling, it can be so much fun!