Nutrition Expert: Sana Saiyed, practicing clinical dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Mumbai.
Traveling is the most common cause for many people to lose track of the hard work that they put in while maintaining weight. Of course, you have to learn to manage your travel schedule to overtake your desires to stay on track.
A study conducted by Extended Stay America in 2014 found 86% of travelers reported gaining an average of 1.5 pounds for each week they were away from home. If you fall into this statistic and spend even 50% of your time on the road, you are looking at potentially gaining 25 pounds over the course of a year. (1)
There are thousands of hacks in the universe which can help you managing to stay within your desired numbers on the scale, below are the 10 easiest ones:
- Bring your own food for the flight: Plane food is the worst. High in sugar, salt and laden with preservatives. You will be bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish. Some of our favorite snacks to prepare for flights are: roasted chana with dates, roasted makhana, trail mixes made at home, dried fruit.
- Hydration: It’s obvious but has to be said. When you’re traveling, you’re walking…a lot. Climate, time, and environmental changes, not to mention flying, is extremely dehydrating.
- Select foods carefully. You will most likely be eating restaurant meals when you are traveling. Make healthy choices, like salads with no dressing, lean meats, and vegetable dishes without heavy sauces. Eat healthy snacks like fruit and nuts in between your meals so you won’t be tempted to buy high-calorie snacks. If your hotel has a microwave, try to dine in when possible. Otherwise, make sure to avoid fast food and stick with restaurants that have healthier choices.
- Consuming some rice or pasta or beans is fine; just don’t make it the only thing you eat.
- Avoid processed junk, sugar, and liquid calories like soda, juice, and so on.
- Opt for healthier breakfast rather than skipping, as it is the most important part of the maintenance regime. Instead of eating a paratha have Poha, oats, cornflakes with low-fat milk.
- Drink soy milk or almond milk instead of regular milk post-workout as they are higher in protein than the usual milk, also these kinds of milk are fortified with various vital minerals like calcium.
- Carry protein bars: Make sure these are under 200 calories and as low in carbs as possible, you can also carry Granola bars.
- Limit alcohol intake: While it is okay to have a drink, getting carried away night after night will catch up with your waistline. If you feel you need to drink to be social pull the bartender aside and request your drinks with the mixer only (water) and no alcohol after your first one.
- Do not miss out your basic workout: As per the National diabetes prevention program, it is recommended to be physically active for 150 minutes in a week,(2) now it is understood that while traveling, staying active is a little difficult, but you can choose stairs instead of the lift , you can take a walk in the garden of your hotel stay, walk to your destination if it nearby instead of going by car, do basic stretching and breathing exercises.
Travel as much as you want, but make sure to eat healthy and make healthier choices. Make wise decisions and stay healthy while traveling.