I have never been one of those girls where I can eat whatever I want and the next day strut around in my tightest dress. No, that stuff shows. So when I’m on vacation and not only want to feel good but truly look my absolute finest on the beach, it’s frustrating when months of hard work is hidden by the binges I indulged in during the past week.
As time has passed I’ve been able to figure out what foods trigger me the most and what makes my body feel great. The only problem with all this is when you’re in a controlled kitchen environment, it’s a whole lot easier to know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
When you’re traveling it can be very difficult to eat well, get enough sleep and in general take good care of your body. When your body isn’t taken care of because you haven’t eaten well or gotten enough sleep, it’s hard to travel.
It’s a horrible cache 22. But it doesn’t have to be.
Staying at your absolute best while on the road definitely takes a little bit of work and preparation. BUTTT, you get home and don’t need a vacation from your vacation, (how many of us have said that am I right?) the pay off is so worth it. Not to mention, you can avoid that horrid “I overdid it” vacation guilt. You’ll only be left with space in your head to think about all the amazing memories you made.
Eating clean all comes down to preparation at home AND on the road. Here’s what I like to do to make sure I keep that diet (plus that swimsuit body) in check!
1. Grocery Shop
We’re all trained to believe a lie that just because we’re traveling we’re limited to eat unhealthily and expensively. I’ve definitely mentioned this in other articles before so bear with me if this is the second time you’re hearing this. However, I cannot emphasize how important, and frankly easy it is, to grocery shop at the beginning of your trip! Depending on where you’re visiting and how you’re traveling this can look drastically different.
When I have access to a fridge
If I’m staying at a hotel, hostel, air bnb or even a friends house that has a fridge I can use, the game is incredibly easy. Typically I make a really easy grocery list consisting of food I can make sure to eat during my stay. Lean towards fruits and veggies you can cook multiple meals with.
My list typically consists of…
• Greens (Lettuce/Spinach etc.)
• Snacky Veggies (Carrots/Celery/Peppers etc.)
• Fruit (Bananas/Strawberries/Grapes etc.)
• Veggies to cook with (Asparagus/Mushrooms/Peppers/Tomatoes etc.)
• Bread or Wraps (I’m not a big bread person, I usually sub lettuce but it makes for easy sandwiches)
• Dips/Dressings (Hummus/Ranch/Guac etc.)
• Salsa (It works well with like everything)
• Lean Meat (Chicken/Turkey etc.)
Now, I know this list looks simple, but that’s the key! With just these basics you can make breakfast shakes, fruit bowls, sandwiches, wraps, salads, fajitas, veggie bowls…get creative. (By the end of the week I’m usually just dumping the remainder of my veggies and chicken in a pan and calling it a day.)
Don’t waste your money on a fancy meal plan. You should spend some money on food, but not here. When you’re traveling you definitely have to treat yourself with a local dish, but not for every meal. Try eating breakfast and lunch with the groceries you packed and even a few snacks. (Do you really want to waste tons of time sitting down when you can pack a sandwich and keep sightseeing during prime hours of the day anyway?) When you do eat your dinners out, you can enjoy without the guilt.
Not only will your stomach thank you for eating clean meals once in a while, but so will your wallet. My budget is usually around 15-20 bucks for enough food for me to last a week. (We’re talking two happy hour cocktails here.)
When I have access to a cupboard
Okay so clearly we don’t always have the perks of a fridge or space to cook, but don’t throw in the towel just yet! At the absolute minimum, there are tons of little snacks I love that tend to keep the hunger away in-between meals.
My list typically consists of…
• Meal Shakes
• Snack bars
• Squeezy fruit tubes
• Peanut butter
• Bananas (Yay for fruits that stay good without a fridge)
Meal shakes make the perfect breakfast, lunch or snack substitute. (More on that to follow) You can obviously still work with lunches if you just love yourself a good ole’ peanut butter and banana sandwich. But remember, even the snacks you pack will save you money and bad on the whim decisions as you pass sweet or salty indulgences on the street.
When I have access to a backpack
I absolutely love trekking so I understand sometimes our tent is the only thing we have with us. That obviously makes tugging a fridge along with you difficult and let’s be clear-I would not recommend it. Make sure to pack light on your treks!
However, there are still a couple of things you can take with you on your back
My list typically consists of…
• Meal shake powder (Funny how that keeps coming up, huh?)
• Peanut butter (Doubles as good protein, healthy fat and helps your energy levels)
• Snack bars
If you have a preferred trail snack pack that too! Just remember when you’re carrying things (even food) on your back, consider weight, duration, and intensity of the hike. Meal substitutes and peanut butter are my recommendations only because they keep your cravings limited and also save you from paying for the way overpriced snacks on the side of the road that appeals to hungry, hikers scurrying through the town.
2. Get yourself one of those cute travel sets
The key to packing food well and being excited to pack food is all in the details. When you buy a cute travel set, not only will you be excited longer to use it, but you’ll be helping the environment by not throwing away so many sacks, plastic containers, and water bottles! Find a brand you love and support it.
I never leave the house without my Sand Cloud water bottle.
A.) It’s cute
B.) I love how my purchase goes to support marine wildlife and beach cleanups
C.) It forces me to refill it and drink more water instead of buying tons of plastic water bottles that would probably have just ended up back in the ocean anyways.
It’s a win-win-win.
If you can’t tell already, I love my shakes. When I’m at home, I buy tons of spinach and frozen fruit and have a filling and healthy breakfast every day. As I’m sure you already know, fresh fruit and vegetables aren’t so easy to pack while you’re traveling.
Health substitutes have advanced so much over the years. There are so many awesome powders that are rich in healthy nutrients, fill you up for hours on end and all WITHOUT added preservatives, colors or flavors. My advice is if you are really serious about a good, quality shake that acts as a whole food instead of just a substitute, do the research and be willing to pay just a bit more for a quality product.
I also have portable blenders that go with me everywhere! Check out my reviews of the best four blenders to take on the road to figure out which one works for you! Right now I'm obsessed with my popbabies blender!
There are multiple good products on the market, but my current obsession is AIM. I don't have to worry if I'm filling my body with something artificial or real. I can relax knowing when I want to try a new product, it will be real, whole and natural and not packed with artificial junk like so many other advertised "health products" on the market today. Here are the products I use on a daily basis.
• Just one scoop is filled with all the greens you need for your day, and the ones you wouldn’t have probably eaten anyways (let’s be real, I know they don’t all taste good)
• Barley leaf, spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and broccoli sprout powders and cocoa powders
• Helps to crush hunger since it’s a whole food and not just a food substitute
• Gives you natural energy
• I try to take this one twice a day if possible! Peak Endurance
• Filled with ATP which improves blood flow and boosts body energy
• Lots of electrolytes and vitamins
• Increases lean muscle mass, and physical strength
• Basically, I use it sometimes as a coffee substitute at the beginning of the day on top of a pre/post workout!
• Protein coming from peas instead of whey or soy. This means it takes around 4 hours to digest instead of 30 minutes which keeps your body fuller and more nourished longer!
• Supports HEALTHY weight management
• I don’t take this daily but always after a good workout. Sometimes also if I miss too many meals because I want to make sure my body is still nourished no matter how rushed my schedule is.
If you’re curious or want to learn more about AIM products make sure to let me know by commenting below or even check out my personal aim store, (where I purchase for myself and my friends and family) and I’ll share more info with you.
If you have a brand you love, use it and love it! Just make sure that nourishing your body should be a top priority! Shakes are just an easy way to make sure that when like isn’t so consistent (aka anytime you’re traveling) you’re still eating consistently!
4. Buy a Fancy Shaker Cup
I carry my Promixx with me everywhere. I use it to drink my greens in the morning, make my shakes and even take my protein after a workout. I hesitated at first to buy what I saw as a “fancy mixing cup”, but it has definitely proved worth its cost. Convenience really does help when it comes to eating healthy. It encourages me to still get my nutrients in while keeping me full so I'm not so tempted to buy food on every street corner.
Are you making it harder on yourself than it needs to be to stay on a routine? If that’s what is stopping you, really consider investing in products that make sure inconvenience is no longer an excuse. Make sure to check out Top 4 Blenders to take on the Road to help you figure out what travel blender is best for your lifestyle!
5. Don’t forget that workout!
This is very non-diet related but get that workout in. No matter how busy you are, try your absolute best to get some kind of exercise or movement into your day. If you are going to be sitting in a car all day long, get up and try to go for a run before the drive or stop in a cute town for dinner and take a short walk to get your blood moving.
If you’re staying in a big city like NYC, google free fitness classes! There are so many free yoga, pilates, abs-you name it-community classes offered even outside the weekends in pretty parks in most major cities.
If you don’t feel like staying outside, find a local gym that offers a free first-time visitor pass. There are way more fitness centers than you could imagine that let you use the facilities on your visit through the city.
If you’re in a cabin in the mountains go for a hike or explore the woods and watch for cool wildlife.
If you’re on the beach, rent a body board and get out on the waves.
If you’re sightseeing rent a bicycle or walk in-between museums and monuments instead of paying for a taxi. (This one will save you tons of money too.) Download the app citibike in Washington D.C, NYC, London and tons of other major cities to see where all the bikes are located.
I’m not telling you to cut time out of your day to work out, but to soak in what’s around you while simultaneously making sure your body feels awesome the next day. No one likes to play catch-up when they get home from vacation. Don’t use traveling as an excuse to not treat your body right.
6. Every body is a bikini body
I grew up in a cute neighborhood in Indiana. The closest thing we had to water nearby was a community pool. I was infatuated with movies where the heroine lived on the coast and her daily clothes consisted of a bikini with a sloppily tossed on denim shirts and comfy t-shirt. I didn’t know what I was going to do in life, or how I was going to afford living so close to a beach or lake. I just knew I was going to do it. One day, all the bikinis I bought over the years would finally be the staple of my outfits.
Now, I’m working on a cruise ship.
The gig where I have the excuse to wear a bikini and beach hop every day. The perfect job that gives me the excuse to buy the fanciest of dresses for gala night ON TOP of my go-to staple of denim shorts and bikinis. I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been excited to live this life.
And I didn’t take advantage of it for months. I wasn’t eating healthy enough. My body wasn’t swimsuit ready. I had so many excuses.
I moved back home during my vacation and had the “perfect environment”. All I had to do was sleep, workout, and eat clean. My body felt great and you know what? All of a sudden I didn’t have a reason to wear my swimsuit anymore. I missed my opportunity for what purpose-Self-confidence issues that literally every girl in the world has? I won’t let that happen again.
I say all this to tell you something so important. Eat healthy because it makes you feel good. Work out because it makes you happy, but if you’ve been dreaming of wearing that bathing suit on the beach when life gives you a beach (figuratively or literally) STRUT YOUR STUFF.
Don’t wait until you have a “perfect environment” and don’t kid yourself to believe that everyone you see on Instagram has the perfect travel eating and workout plans. Yes, they work hard, but they aren’t perfect either.
I hope if you didn't catch anything else from this article, you go home with these two things. 1.) Treat your body right and it will return the favor. It will let you run, climb and explore all kinds of new places with the right fuel.
2.) Love yourself, exactly where you are. Because where you are is perfect.
If you enjoyed this article, want to learn more or just want to stay in the loop with all things travel, make sure to subscribe to my blog to get all the updates. I'm just a girl from Indiana, who loves to write, travel the world and I want to love on as many people as possible in the process! Follow me on instagram or head to my "Home" page and send me a message! I would love to chat.
As always, God Bless and I hope to see you somewhere around the world.