Eight Tips for On-the-Road Wellness
As holiday traveling becomes more commonplace and in many people’s lives, more frequent, I thought it might be helpful to offer some suggestions for maintaining wellness while on the road. Whether traveling by car to a destination or taking a holiday trip of some sort, here are eight tips to help you to navigate your holiday travel experience.
- Restaurant wisdom at dinnertime.
By pass the bread and butter and ask for soup instead (if you need something as you are considering the menu). Focus on healthy salads (easy on the dressing), vegetables (try some pan roasted root vegetables or stir fry) and ask for sauces on the side. Opt out on fried foods, instead finding a protein choice that is grilled or baked. Consider a “small plate” or splitting a main course with a companion. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you want, graciously of course. Remember: this is your health and they are there to serve you.
- Plan ahead.
Ask about microwave and small refrigerator options in your room. Purchase snacks and mini-meals accordingly. Also, if you will be walking often or sight-seeing, create baggies full of snacks ahead of time. Choose wisely…and save some money at the same time.
- Always eat breakfast.
As tempting as pancakes with syrup may be, opt for high protein choices at breakfast as this will set you up for your day energy-wise. Be sure to drink water as well as coffee and juices to stay hydrated. If something sweet beckons, have a sample or share something with someone else (and it’s okay to leave some of it on your plate as well).
- Early dinners.
People tend to eat less and make wiser choices the earlier they eat dinner. Aim for eating between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. rather than 8 or 9 at night. Your meal will have more time to digest before bed and you will, probably, feel more comfortable the following morning.
- Walk after dinner.
Taking a walk after dinner (or after any meal) encourages you to eat less and or to eat lighter foods. A good walk or even a stroll helps digestion and is good for the body as well.
- Say no to desserts.
As best, choose fruit if you desire something on the sweet side after dinner. No, it won’t taste the same as cheesecake or chocolate mousse, but in time, your taste buds will adjust and your waistline will thank you. If fruit just doesn’t do it, consider a gelato or a frozen yogurt option.
- Limit alcohol intake.
Limiting your use of alcohol is not only wise but it saves calories, makes your decisions clearer and, if driving, maintains safely on the roads. Carbonated water or still water in an attractive glass with a twist of lime or lemon can be surprisingly refreshing. Give it a try!
- Eat more fresh foods.
More and more research is telling us the fresher the better. Rather than fast foods or processed choices, lean toward what is fresh and local if possible. The fewer preservatives, other chemicals and sugar that a food choice contains, the better.
In addition to these eight tips, it is very helpful and soothing to build in other ways than calories to treat yourself. Some ideas might be a hot bath or shower, treating yourself to a massage, finding a place of beauty nearby to fill the senses or splurging on some fresh flowers (if you will be in the same location for a few days or a weekend). Create some special times such as a late afternoon cappuccino (decaf if preferred) or a lovely experience with a special tea to add a fun touch to your trip. Are there stores or shops nearby that sell specialty soaps and shower gels? Beginning the day and ending it with a lovely scent can be a special treat. And if the host or hostess, management of an inn or hotel, is okay with candles, purchase a traveling candle and notice how a plain bathroom can become transformed by a simple candle’s glow during a bath. Is there a museum nearby that might add some unexpected interest to your trip? And finally, what about music? Is it possible to access Pandora or bring your own music source with you, offering soft, enjoyable melodies in the background?
Please use your imagination to think of other ideas to bring health, wellness and well-being to your experience while traveling or vacationing. I wish each of you a blessed and safe holiday season.