Patricia Bannan’s Travel Bites

Turn these pumpkin seeds into a trail mix that will make for a quick and healthy snack!

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, it can be challenging to stick to your healthy eating routine. First, your time is not your own. Your flight is delayed, and you’re stuck in the airport an extra four hours, or longer. Even if you wind up driving, you can’t control traffic conditions. A trip that was supposed to take you less than an hour may wind up taking three times longer, thanks to construction, traffic jams, or just plain bad luck.

Business travel has its own challenges. Once you arrive at the destination, you may put in extra hours at the office, entertain clients late into the night, or have to prep for important presentations and meetings. At the hotel you may have to face down the mini-bar or an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet the next morning. Between stress, fatigue, overload, and jet lag, it’s not surprising your energy and motivation are sapped.

When it comes to vacations, I find the biggest issue is people go overboard because they can. They say, “I deserve this. I’ve worked so hard this year. A few desserts won’t kill me.” Sure, you had a fantastic time, but do you really want to be unable to zip your pants in a week? That’s why the first order of business is to let go of the “gotta-have-it” mindset. I’m not saying you can’t indulge or splurge. That’s part of being on vacation. But if you limit yourself even a little (you know, like having one dessert a day—not two, or even three) you’ll eat better and feel better too.

A little balance will go a long way. I suggest you work out first thing in the morning when you’re traveling. You don’t have to stumble out of bed for a sunrise power yoga class. But a regular workout routine will keep some of those treats from settling around your waistline. You can also stock up on healthy snacks to have on hand in your hotel room—and plan to eat a meal (say breakfast) in your room most days. One great idea for a tasty, low-mess option is making your own snack mix before you go.  Mass produced options tend to be heavy on the candy and sodium—and there’s bound to be something you just pick around and leave at the bottom of the bag.  Try Kelapo’s easy recipe for Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix, which makes for a healthy on-the-go snack even your kids will love.

Another tip is to make sure you stay hydrated. Remember that thirst often masquerades as hunger, and opt for no-calorie or low-calorie beverages throughout the day. Watch your alcohol intake—those calories add up fast, especially if you start drinking before evening—and look for ways to get more fruits and vegetables into your day. The key is to make the most of your travel time, without feeling like you’re stuffed or missing out.


Patricia Bannan, MS, RD

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