nourish yourself while traveling

you’re doing so well – you’re exercising, drinking water, sleeping sound at night, waking refreshed, and – then you go on vacation.

your vacation is meant to be fun – you overindulge, drink alcoholic beverages, stop exercising, sleep late, and end up with weight gain and feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.

so how do you maintain your healthy state while traveling? here are five tips that will help you stay on course:

1) pack snacks for the transport
whether you’re traveling by car, bus, rail, or plane, you’re bound to have a handy shoulder sack that can hold a few nutritious snacks in ziploc bags. look for healthy treats that provide protein and fiber, which helps to keep your blood sugar and energy stabilized to decrease cravings and mood swings. smart snacks will also keep you satisfied so you don’t veer toward fast food joints or vending machines which are havens for foods high in sugar, fat, and calories.

• trail mix: you can make your own by combining almonds, walnuts, pecans, cacao nibs, dried apricots, blueberries, and coconut.
• fruit: berries, grapes, orange; cut up apples, pears, mango, papaya.
• beef, venison or turkey jerky.
• protein shake: if you have a big canister of protein powder you can opt to take it with you, or just divide single servings into ziploc bags and carry the amount that you need.
• protein bars: nutritious protein bars include: balance, cliff, think thin, and zone.

2) choose wisely when dining out
put a little effort in researching healthy dining options near the place where you are staying. using a great online tool like yelp makes the job even easier. explore menus and decide ahead of time where you would like to eat so you’re not opting for the tempting fast food chains that are conveniently located right off highway exits and next to hotels.

if you find yourself in a group where someone else has chosen the restaurant, choose grilled fish, meats and veggies; whole grains like quinoa or brown rice; and spinach or arugula salads, and soups vs. the fried foods, creamy pastas, and cheese laden meals that will surely taste good but are low in nutrients and fiber.

3) recognize portion distortion
since portion sizes have increased over the years, take a moment and look at what is being served before you take that first bite. if it looks like it can feed two, it probably can. divide your plate in halves and eat one side first. take a break and talk with your friends. if you still find yourself hungry, then eat a little more.

the point is to “check in” with your body by giving yourself a break from eating and look for your signals of satiety – the state of being full. if that voice in your head (that suspiciously sounds like your mom) is telling you to “eat everything on your plate,” kindly ignore it and pack the leftover half “to go” and eat it the following day. avoid the need to have to carry your stomach out of the restaurant.

4) don’t forget your water
it happens every time. for some reason, when traveling, the easiest thing to do is forget about the vitally important liquid that makes up almost 70% of the human body. especially when traveling by plane, it is extremely easy to get dehydrated in aircraft cabins that are not always properly humidified. this can be avoided by following the rule of drinking half your body weight in ounces – every day. carry your own water bottle while you’re out and about and remember it’s ok to have to urinate. it’s one of your body’s important ways of flushing out toxins.

5) fit in time for movement
while on vacation, explore your new surroundings by foot or bike. plan a hike or take the opportunity to visit the nearest yoga studio. body movement is great to maintain energy levels, increase vitality and mental clarity. not to mention, if you did happen to eat a few bites of french fries, it only benefits you to work those calories off.

at the end of the day, you are on vacation. relax and enjoy it. just remember to eat and live in moderation. if you indulge a little too much, then tomorrow will give you an opportunity to start off on a better foot.
oh, and don’t forget your sunscreen!
dr. rhodo nguyen addresses the health of the whole person in an integrated approach that uses naturopathic medicine, nutritional counseling, colon hydrotherapy and craniosacral therapy. to book your appointment, please call 202.328.9642 or email

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