It’s that time of year again. As you plan out your summer trips, you not only want to be swimsuit ready, but you want to stay that way on your vacation. As a personal trainer, I’ve seen so many clients work hard to drop those last pounds (in order to feel confident in that bikini) only to step into the airport and quickly start to sabotage all of their hard work.
Avoid feeling bloated and gaining weight during your travels by adhering to these simple travel tips.
Prepare — A few days before you go on vacation, hit the health food store.
1. Airport meal: If you are going to be in the airport for several hours, then you will most likely be there during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Do not start your trip by eating airport food. Not many healthy options exist here, as most food court counter fare is full of fat and sodium. If you want to avoid water retention, bring your own food. (I almost always pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as they’re easy to make and easy to eat.)
2. Snacks: Pack as many healthy snacks as you can fit in your carry-on bag (and that are allowed by the airlines). I always bring a mix of cashews, almonds, and walnuts. Because they’re high in fat and can really satiate your hunger, they are a great snack to have when you’re starving. Of course, you do need to eat them in moderation. Other great snacks to have on hand include: protein bars, granola bars, and even fruit. *All of these items can either be eaten in the airport or on the plane. *Note: International travel might not allow the fruit.
Just Say “No”
Since you planned ahead and have your airport meal and snacks packed, you can say “no” to all airport and airplane food. Let’s face it, there are vey few healthy options in the airport, and the snacks that are given on the airplane have zero nutritional value. Avoiding these unhealthy (and high sodium) choices means you won’t end up feeling bloated the moment you step off the plane at your tropical destination. It’s never fun putting on that bathing suit when your stomach is distended.
Once you get to your gate, go buy a big bottle of water. It’s probably the only item I recommend you buy in the airport. Don’t let your eyes peruse all the candy options at the store either. Grab the water and be done with your purchases. Staying hydrated while traveling is key to feeling and looking great. Often a travel day can be stressful and exhausting. Having a water bottle in hand will ensure that you stay hydrated and will help deter headaches and sluggishness.
Once you hit your destination, I encourage you to be as active as possible. It’s ideal if you can get in an hour-long workout each morning. If you do this, you’ll be more inclined to eat healthy during the day. If you’re not interested in hitting the gym, see if you can find one fitness activity to try each day. For example: hiking, walking to town, swimming in the ocean, paddleboarding, surfing, etc. If you are moving, then you are burning calories.
Avoid Certain Foods
In order to avoid those extra pounds while traveling, stay away from the following food options when eating at a restaurant: anything in a cream sauce, pasta, Caesar/Ranch/Thousand Island dressing, chips, or bread at the table. That being said, it is your vacation and you should enjoy yourself. So, if any of the items above are your favorite, perhaps pick one or two days when you will indulge. The same rule applies to desserts. Instead of having a sweet every night, pick two nights that you really want to celebrate and save your treats for those evenings.
Don’t worry! I’m not going to tell you to be sober throughout your trip. It is your vacation, after all. But you might want to limit your alcohol intake to evenings only. Daytime drinking can create exhaustion and lead to poor choices later in the day regarding food. You might also want to avoid fancy drinks like piña coladas, daiquiris, and mai tais. Did you know these drinks could have over 600 calories? They’re a huge cause of weight gain on vacation. Once again, if you must enjoy a beverage like this, pick a couple of days to indulge in one. But avoid consuming them daily.
If you can follow most of these tips, you’re likely to do great maintaining your weight while traveling. Keep your travel day healthy, exercise while on your trip, and make decent choices while eating out. Enjoy your vacation and look great in that swimsuit all season. It’s that simple.