You don’t HAVE to get the Heathrow Injection!
Posting about staying fit and healthy over the Easter long weekend seems crazy, considering I am about to inhale a hot cross bun and a small army of Cadbury mini eggs, but I always get asked about staying healthy while travelling, so I’ve taken some time to think about it and I thought I’d post it for everyone to read.
Living an active, healthy life is important to me and I try to continue that philosophy while I’m travelling too. We’ve all heard the stories about those travellers who gain 20kg’s upon setting foot in Heathrow Airport (also known as the ‘Heathrow Injection’), and I know of plenty of people who work out HARD prior to a big trip, knowing that they’ll likely gain a few kg’s, but I believe that you can travel for weeks, months and even years on end and not pile on the pounds, as long as you make the right choices.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about long gym workouts every single day, or skipping local ‘must have’ favourites (like gelato in Florence for instance), so check out my personal Top 5 tips for staying healthy whilst travelling!
1. Choose active adventures
Ski & Snowboard trips!
Diving & Snorkelling
Hiking to Everest Base Camp.
Cycling in Vietnam.
Yoga in the Himalayas
This is probably the simplest ways of staying healthy whilst you’re away. Not only will active adventures help you keep off any extra unwanted weight, they’ll allow you to make the most of your holiday by experiencing things you may not get to experience in your day to day life!
There are some amazing trips and destinations all over the world that are designed for active people, and that specialise in certain NICHE areas. Activities like skiing, snowboarding, surfing, hiking and biking are just the tip of the iceberg. Even simple walking tours in your favourite city could be an option or signing up for an overseas Yoga retreat (or sunrise class at your Vietnamese beach resort)….. It all encourages you to keep moving, and will ensure that you stay physical and healthy on a trip overseas.
Just a handful of companies that offer ‘active travel’ itineraries include:
Personally I ensure that every trip has some kind of active component and as the above examples show, It can be as complex as a hike to Mt Everest Base Camp or as simple as adding a city tour by bicycle one day, and a Kayak around the lagoon the next. So, as much as we all love a chilled out beach holiday every now and then, I urge you to choose an active holiday every once in a while… or at least make some time every day to get moving!!
2. Pack your own healthy snacks for the journey
Have you eaten that sugar loaded plane food lately or been stuck in transit with nothing but McDonald’s or 7 Eleven for company? Don’t get caught out! Pack healthy snacks that you know will satisfy you during those long flights or car journeys and avoid the convenience of salty, fatty snack foods and soft drinks.
On a recent short trip I toasted a couple of bags of natural almonds and walnuts in sea salt, and baked a few batches of almond meal cookies, that I took with me on my travels. Not only were they the perfect go to snack when I needed a little something to get me through, but it was relatively small in size, and didn’t take up too much room in my luggage.
There are so many yummy, healthy and natural snacks you can make yourself, so get inspired!! Check out this awesome selection of recipes that ‘Girl Meets Nourishment’ has put together, and get preparing!
Trust me, plan ahead, and don’t get caught out. That’s when reaching for a bag of crisps is going to be the only option.
3. Fresh is best!
Fresh Sushi in Tokyo!
Steamed Dumplings, China
Tamarind cooking classes, Luang Prabang.
Fresh Local cuisine! Yum
We all know fresh is best, so I urge you to seek out the local delicacies based on the environment that you are in, and try to eat what items or products would be most readily available to the restaurateur or chefs in that location.
For example, when in areas that are on the ocean (like Thailand, Indonesia, the Caribbean etc..) seek out fresh, local seafood or the ‘catch of the day’. Chat to the chef’s and find out when the catch was brought in or if they’ve had it frozen. If you’re in the middle of the country, and you’ve got yummy veggies or delicious organic Beef to feast upon, go for it! Use your surroundings as a guide to what you eat.
An awesome example of this was a great Café in Rarotonga that I stumbled across called the Moorings Fish Café. They prepare the menu daily based on what seafood they were able to catch that morning on their daily fishing run. They only had so much and they’d shut up shop when they sold out, so nothing went in the freezer, and It was all prepared fresh daily. Loved it!
If you can, another great idea is to immerse yourself in the cuisine and do a cooking class on your travels. Not only is it a great day out, but you’ll learn a skill and see exactly what’s going into your food!
Keep it simple… Think logically about where you are, and what would be the freshest, most available products and stick to those. If there is a local delicacy, try it! Chances are it’s something they prepare daily and will rarely cause you any real harm.
4. Self-catering accommodation can save the day
Beachfront Villa @ The Crown Beach Resort & Spa Rarotonga (Pic via their Website)
Luxury self catering in Bali (Image via EasyVillas.net)
I know that most of us won’t want to cook whilst on holidays, but trust me if you have accommodation that has a kitchenette or even just a microwave it can save the day if you’re struggling to find something healthy and decent to eat.
On my recent trip to The Cook Islands it was hard to find anything open after 2pm that wasn’t a fast food place, so a pot of water to boil some eggs and a cuppa served its purpose to fill myself (and my always hungry boyfriend) up, until it was time to hit the restaurant for dinner.
Most destinations are catering more and more to clients looking for that balance between self-cater, and restaurant variety. Even luxury properties are offering self-contained ‘villa’ style accommodation, which personal chefs (the works!) so there is truly something for everyone.
Sleep is the most UNDERRATED health benefit in the world, and ensuring that you get enough sleep whilst you travel is vital.
I know jet lag and time zones can make it tricky, but try adapting to any time zones as quickly as you can, and ensuring that you are still getting your 7-9hrs a sleep a nite.
Not only will it ensure that you are fresh and ready to get the most out of the experiences the following day, but there are commonly known links between sleep and your immune system, so this is one of the BEST ways to protect against picking up any nasty travel flu’s, as the LAST thing you want whilst travelling is a cold. So hit the sack!
I guess to wrap all of this up, my final thought would be enjoy everything in moderation!
Gelato in Florence !
Cocktails @ Happy Hour!
Local Beer, the only option!
As I mentioned right at the start of this post, I’m all for getting out and enjoying your indulgences whilst you’re away, after all FOOD is a huge part of your overall travel experience and can sometimes be the BEST part of a city or cultural experience, but remember to enjoy all things in moderation.
There is nothing wrong with eating a slice of steaming hot, spicy, cheesy, New York style pizza (or 2) whilst in New York, just don’t have it everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Balance your meals (like you would at home) and ensure that you are also drinking loads of water. This combined with an activity or two every day and you’ll escape the dreaded holiday weight gain, and there will be no need to safety pin your shorts back together when you’ve busted out of them!
What are the travel health tips you live by? I’d love to hear all about what you guys do to stay fit and healthy on the road!!!
Thanks for reading!