I’d actually forgotten what a pain trying to eat well and travel can be until I started getting myself organised for my first flight of the year recently. More on that here.
Quite often, duty free perfume has greater nutritional value than half of the stuff on offer in airport departure lounges. Some are admittedly better than others but still have a long way to go. And then there’s in flight ‘meals’. A ridiculous excuse for ‘food’ that’s lingered around for hours on end. And what about when you arrive at your destination? What’s the best way to get hold of the local, good stuff without falling into tourist traps?
Here’s how I tend to approach travelling in an attempt to keep myself in tip top condition throughout the trip.
1. At the airport
I’ve usually got a Tupperware of last night’s leftovers in tow for my pre flight meal and sip steadily on a big bottle of water from leaving home to arriving at the airport. Not ideal when you’re en route to Stansted, delays on the M25 are horrific and the services are 4 miles away but it does keep you nicely hydrated for the flight ahead. If you need to buy something to eat at the airport, Pret is probably the safest of bets for a bit of green, protein and fat. Once you’re through security buy the biggest bottle of water you can lay your hands on. In flight you’ll only be served water in some pesky 150ml cup and that’s not going to cut it – especially on a long haul flight.
Here’s a shining example of pre-flight prep from Russ @ SBC:
2. In flight
Have your snacks at the ready. You’d never normally want to eat a rubbish Pretzel, so why do it now? A Nakd bar, some dark chocolate, a handful of nuts, even more Tupperware full of goodness. Just be careful about certain country restrictions about what foods you can carry across borders and just hope you’re not faced with an irritable guy on security that classes your leftovers as a ‘dangerous liquid’.
Here’s fellow blogger and clean eater Ceri’s recent in flight staples.
If you opt for the in flight meal, pre order a gluten and wheat free choice as it tends to be slightly better than the other option – that and those with special dietary requirements get served first so, y’know…
Try and stick to a regular meal pattern as much as possible. Don’t eat for the sake of it. Don’t eat because you’re bored.
Whatever you do, move! Give your limbs a chance and help your digestion out a bit. Being sat still for that long isn’t good for anyone, especially if unnecessary calories are being consumed. I’m yet to do this, but I loved Tim Ferriss’ suggestion of body weight squats and wall presses in the toilet cubicle as described in 4 Hour Body as a means of ‘damage control’ during any period of binge eating.
Toilet work outs, Tim Ferriss style
3. On arrival at your destination
Keep a check on things
No one likes talking about this bit but, you’ve gotta ‘go’. Keep a check on your body. If you’ve not been to the loo, something’s not right. Hydrate, get your hands on plenty of fruits and veggies and often a strong black coffee can work some serious bowel movement magic. On a recent business trip to San Fran these saved a colleague and I. I spied them at the airport, have no idea if they’re actually credible or just an expensive laxative but regardless, they kept us going. Literally…
Decide what kind of trip this is going to be for you
Do you want to stick to your normal nutritional ways as much as possible or do you want to splurge, indulge and treat yourself a bit? You have every right to but just be mindful of how this will make you feel. If you’re a regular clean eater your body is going to freak out if you shovel too much cr@p into it. Be warned.
I know that I’m shockingly insulin resistant so unless I want to have gained 10 lbs after 10 days away I can’t be that person that hits the Nutella crepes at every breakfast. I can however line my body up with a portion of protein at brekkie then steal the occasional corner of my husband’s pain au chocolat to see me on my way until that afternoon ice cream treat on the beach.
Ask for tips on where to eat
I always like to know where my next meal’s coming from and I also like to know it’s going to be a good one. When you’re away make sure you enjoy your food as much as you do at home and set about exploring places with menu options that suit you. Twitter is an awesome way to shout out for recommendations of where to eat when travelling. I find with restaurants in non English speaking countries that those with menus only in the native language tend to be the best local treasures. Just make sure you’ve swotted up on translations for special dietary requirements if you need them.
4. Heading home
You may not be blessed with as many options to choose from for your return journey. Some hotels will be extremely accommodating – another gem from SBC here:
But if the chef hasn’t got your back, see what you can package into a takeaway from the brekkie table – a bit of fruit, a natural yogurt perhaps.
Breakfast table loot from a recent trip to Poland
5. When you’re back at home
Travelling can often make you feel a bit tired, bloated and generally rubbish. Don’t let it grind you down. Here’s a post I wrote a little while back on pulling yourself back together!
How do you manage travelling and eating well?