Planning ahead to maintain a few small healthy behaviors
Sacramento, Calif.- After many weeks of rain and cold in the Sacramento area, it’s finally time to start thinking about spring break travel!
Though vacations are meant to help us relax and unwind, it can be easy to disregard health behaviors for the sake of letting loose. Being spontaneous is a natural element of vacation, but I’ve found that planning ahead to maintain a few small healthy behaviors can prevent you from feeling sluggish or exhausted after vacation and instead return home feeling refreshed and revitalized.
6 Travel Tips
1: Prioritize a Balanced Breakfast
It’s important to start your day off with a breakfast that contains a source of fiber, fat, and protein. These elements provide lasting energy and a feeling of satiety, which can help prevent cravings for less nutritious foods later on in the day. In fact, starting the day with a healthy behavior like eating a well-rounded breakfast sets you up for other healthy choices throughout the day.
2: Hydrate Often
Many factors related to spring break travel can increase the risk for dehydration. For example, most of us live in climates with about 35-65% humidity, but airplanes are climate controlled at 10-20% humidity. Lower humidity in the air can lead to dehydration, so aim to hydrate more than normal 24 hours before and after air travel. Additionally, drinking alcohol, overconsuming caffeine, and traveling to warmer and higher elevation climates can also lead to dehydration. You also may be engaging in other activities on vacation like hiking, walking for prolonged periods of time, or simply laying out in the hot sun; all of which will require adequate hydration.
Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Pack an empty, reusable water bottle with you on vacation and keep it accessible at all times. Consider bringing an electrolyte powder like Catalyte of LMNT with you as well to replenish minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
3: Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption
Speaking of the effects of alcohol on hydration status, keep in mind that alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it causes the body to remove fluids and minerals like sodium at a much faster rate than other drinks. Always drink a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks, and know how many drinks you will be consuming prior to an event where alcohol will be served. Knowing your number allows you to drink mindfully rather than saying yes to every time you are offered a drink.
4: Always Have Emergency Snacks
Have you ever been in a situation where you are hungry and irritable, but are unable to access food? There is nothing worse than being, “hangry,” especially when you’re on vacation! It’s a good idea to keep some snacks in your purse or backpack throughout your trip for a few reasons: you may be hungry when the group you’re traveling with isn’t ready to eat yet, or the group you’re with is eating food that you have an allergy or sensitivity to. Keeping the elements of fiber, fat, and protein in mind, consider bringing along some mixed nuts with an apple or orange or a protein bar close by when on the go.
5: Incorporate Movement
Vacations are a great opportunity to try out a different form of activity that isn’t normally part of your day-to-day life. Try a popular hike in the area or a brisk walk around the area you’re staying. A morning stretch is especially beneficial after traveling to your destination and can be a great time for mindfulness or meditation before the day’s activities. Many hotels now even offer free workout or yoga classes!
8: Stay Present
With so much beauty on our planet, it can be easy to get lost in taking photos and sharing them instantly. By focusing on connecting with what’s in front of you in each moment- the people, the scenery, the food, etc.- you’re giving yourself an opportunity to enjoy your vacation to the fullest. If you’re like me and love taking photos on vacation, consider sharing them at the end of each day or at the very end of the trip.
Implementing a few, small healthy behaviors during your trip can actually enhance your vacation experience. Fueling your body with nutritious foods, hydrating, and making time for movement will allow you to feel more engaged, connected, and present for all that your vacation experience has to offer.
About the Author:
Hanna Spevak, MScN is an integrative nutritionist at Sacramento Naturopathic Medical Center. She earned her Master of Science in Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. She is also a Food As Medicine Everyday Educator and believes in the healing power of food. Outside of the office, Hanna enjoys creating new recipes, traveling, going for walks and lifting weights, and spending time with friends and family.
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