Holidays & How To Travel Healthy

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again!

PHOTO Alex Baker-Brown

Winkling lights illuminate the streets, people huddle up in cozy coffee shops having hot drinks and converse, families gather to share the stories of the past year and relax in each other’s company for the holidays. It truly is a magical time. With all of the days off of work and school, December and January are full of journeys to unique locations and trips to visit friends and family. As if eating healthy while on flying and vacationing aren’t hard enough already, add heaps of gingerbread cookies, pie and holiday ham to the mix and you have a serious challenge. Below are my tips on how to eat healthy and indulge in the right way so that you can feel and be your best self around the holidays!

1. Use online classes to keep on your workout routine.

While traveling you may not have access to gym or exercise equipment, however there are numerous great online videos that can help you maintain your level of fitness while on the road. I personally love online workout videos because they are typically designed to be short and challenging to give you an effective workout in a limited amount of time. This is perfect when you’re visiting with relatives or traveling with family and may not be able to carve an hour out of your activities for a classic workout. Also, these workouts can usually be done in a hotel room, guestroom or outside in the backyard or at a park, making it easy to slip away for a few minutes and get a sweat in! Keeping up your workout routine while traveling around the holidays will help balance your body and your mood while dealing with time changes and eating atypical foods like holiday sweets. Also, the adrenaline high might be helpful dealing with any family overload stress! My two favorite online fitness instructors are Kayla Itsines and Casey Ho. Kayla has a fantastic app called Sweat with Kayla that provides quick and highly effective workouts that can be completed in 28 minutes! She also has videos on her blog. Casey Ho teaches online pilates class through Blogilates. Her classes target everything from glutes to relaxation and her upbeat, spunky personality makes the classes fun! Classes are usually 5-15 minutes long.

2. Stay hydrated during the holidays.

This is a big one. Staying hydrated is extremely important while traveling and during the holidays. The recycled air systems in airplanes are very drying so drinking lots of water will keep you feeling good and keep your skin looking fresh so you can arrive at your destination looking fabulous. In addition, people often mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated will help keep you from snacking on fast food, chips and sugary concessions at the gas station or airport when you’re not really hungry. Also, with all of the celebrating around the holidays, this may be a time when you’re indulging in more alcoholic beverages than you typically consume so drinking extra water will help you avoid that morning after headache so you can fully enjoy your time with friends and family!

3. Indulge intelligently.

Traveling around the holidays means that there is going to be a plethora of delicious sweets and treats around every corner. Having these additional indulgences at your fingertips, in addition to all of the mouth watering new food you want to try when visiting a city for the first time, can make it extremely difficult to stick to any sort of healthy eating routine. As the great Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” This is definitely on ok time to indulge in the amazing, seasonal food available, but indulge intelligently. Don’t binge on cold crackers or subpar brownies just because they are at your fingertips. When setting out for an indulgent meal or treat, take a bite and then ask yourself, “Is the experience of eating this worth the additional calories, sugars and fats I’m consuming?” If you’re in heaven after the first bite, eat on! If you’re not completely impressed or the experience is just average, pass on it. In addition, don’t binge on non-special items like bagged chips and boxed cookies simply because you’re on vacation or it’s the holidays and you think this is a time to eat. Save the non-typical consuming for the delicious, unique foods you can’t get in your home city or other times of the year.

4. Bring snacks.

Whenever I travel, I always bring organic granola bars, fruit and a non salted nut mix in my bag. Whether you’re on a long car ride or flight, bringing your own snacks gives you control over what you want to eat rather than having to pick from the typically unhealthy, and overpriced, concessions at gas stations and airports. In addition, having healthy snacks on hand gives you to stave off hunger on long journeys so you don’t scarf down two bags of Doritos in a desperate fit of hunger while on the road. When packing your snacks, avoid packing salty foods. Salty foods cause bloat and the effect is even worse when you’re sitting down for long periods of time. Eating fresh and non salted or lightly salted foods will make your journey more comfortable and allow you to arrive with your body feeling good, rather than feeling like an enlarged puffer fish.

5. Meditate during the holidays.

Traveling, being around family non-stop and holiday crowds can be stressful and overwhelming. Make sure you carve out time for yourself to relax and re-center. This will help you stay in tune with yourself and use vacation days around the holidays to relax and rejuvenate so you can return to your post-holiday daily routine feeling refreshed and ready to jump into the new year! I recommend using the Headspace app for great 10-minute meditation sessions that can be done anywhere, anytime.

Alexandra Baker-Brown

From a young age, Alex started visiting different continents with her family and then as a solo traveler later in her life.

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