The Holidays are upon us and travel season is here. The travel and breaks to the regularity of our lives bring us ample opportunity to eat out, sleep in and completely disregard our daily diet and fitness regimens. This holiday season, don’t leave good health at home—take it with you!
The Voyage Begins
Transitioning into vacation mode requires having the right mindset. Vacation is a healthy and often necessary part of life, so commit to making the most of your time off.
If you are flying, there are a few precautions you should take to minimize poor health choices during your travel:
- Refrain from eating large meals prior to and during your flight. You won’t be moving much, and your body will have difficulty processing all that food.
- Reduce your sodium intake. This will help prevent you from retaining water and becoming dehydrated. Bananas will help with potassium levels.
- Remember to get up and move around periodically to stretch and get your blood circulating. Even twirling your ankles a few times while sitting helps.
- Avoid drinking alcohol prior to and during your flight; load up on water instead. Aircraft cabin relative humidity is usually below 20 percent, which makes for a very dry environment.
If you are taking a road trip, many of the same principles apply. Additionally:
- Pack a variety of healthy snacks.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take a rest stop every couple of hours to stretch.
- When you arrive at your destination, try to adjust to local time as quickly as possible to minimize effects of jet lag. This means going to bed and waking up at appropriate times for the new time zone. Give yourself one day to adjust, and be sure to schedule outdoor, physical activities during your first day away.
Taste the Flavors
Nothing says vacation and holidays like good food. Just remember: Everything in moderation.
It’s hard to avoid the full-blown feasts and overindulgences that are synonymous with the holidays and vacations. Here are some options:
- Cut the portions you would like to eat, or would instinctively load your plate with, in half. Taste the array of flavors in everything you put in your mouth and savor every bite. Take your time in consuming your meal—you may be surprised at how fulfilling this process can be.
- Limit eating out by buying your own healthy snacks—fruits, vegetables, yogurts, granola etc…
- Remember fiber. People are less likely to consume enough fiber to keep their systems functioning properly on vacation—all the more reason to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink a full glass of water before each meal. It will hydrate you as well as fill you up. Many times hunger pangs are signaling dehydration.
Back to Reality
This may be a rough day. Your impending return home means getting back to housework, cooking meals, school schedules, and worst of all, work!
In order to get back into a healthy routine as quickly as possible:
- Try to allow one day at home before returning to work, for running errands, resting, and stocking up on healthy meal options.
- Plan to exercise within one to two days of your return home. It may motivate you to meet a friend at the gym and catch up on your vacation/holiday stories. Even a nice long energetic walk will help.
- Minimize the effects of jet lag by getting a good night’s sleep just before and after traveling.
Letting go of your worries is part of the allure of vacation. But letting go of your health should not be an option. By building healthy meals and physical activity into each day of your vacation, you will make the most of your travel time and your continuing efforts to stay healthy.