Keeping a healthy lifestyle is a challenge at any time. But when you’re traveling it takes special determination to keep from falling back into less healthy eating and exercise patterns.

When you’re on the road your schedule is disrupted. You get tired. There may be meetings to get to. Fast food, airport food, restaurants, hotel breakfasts – none of those make it easy to eat fresh unprocessed food. And with fatigue and change in routine your ability to resist temptation may be less than normal as well.

If you travel only a couple times a year, eating less healthy or not getting exercise may be a small thing. But it’s very different if travel is a frequent part of your life. At this point I’m traveling a lot. I’m away from home at least two and sometimes four weekends a month.

I’ve found it takes some planning and determination to keep healthy on the road. Here are some things I’ve found to help:

When choosing what to eat:

  1. Take some healthy snacks with you. Nuts, bananas, dried fruit, protein bars – taking a few with you can prevent some fast food or vending machine runs.
  2. Get some protein regularly. And don’t rely on cheese. Yogurt or one serving of eggs at breakfast, turkey or chicken or fish with dinner, and nuts for snacks are good choices. Protein with most meals will improve your energy level and help you feel more satisfied.
  3. Limit the processed carbs. Ever notice how hotel breakfasts are loaded with sugary cereal, waffles, biscuits, and pastries? Choose oatmeal or a piece of whole wheat toast instead. And when you have a choice, stay away from the pizza and pasta! I’m not going totally gluten-free, but I feel so much better since I’ve been limiting the processed flour foods.
  4. Focus on fruits and veggies. There may be limited choices of fruits and veggies available when eating on the road, but make it a priority to find some every day. For a salad, remember to limit the add-ons that can pack on the calories and fat. Hotel breakfasts usually have some fruit available. And for dinner, when you have a choice choose an extra side of broccoli or greens rather than mashed potatoes.

It’s just as important to stay physically active on the road as it is at home. Remember, you can move anywhere!

  1. Use the gym room. Almost every hotel has an exercise room available. Be one of the guests that take advantage of it!
  2. Take the stairs. Climbing a couple flights of stairs in your hotel will get your heart rate up, and is great for your thigh muscles.
  3. Pack a swimsuit. Get up early and go for a morning swim in the hotel pool. It won’t be overrun with splashing kids at that hour!
  4. Pack your exercise. Take a jump rope or exercise bands in your suitcase, and work out a few minutes in your room.

I’ve found that paying attention to these things make a huge difference in how I feel if I’m spending the weekend in a hotel, or a long period of being on-call in the hospital. It’s worth it!

There is no excuse for letting your healthy lifestyle get derailed while you’re on the road. It may take some discipline. But what good thing isn’t worth working for?

Your turn: Do you let your healthy eating or exercise routine go when you’re traveling? What tips have you found to stay on track while on the road? Leave a comment below. 

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