To Travel is to Live – Hans Christian Andersen
Have you ever felt bloated after traveling? Maybe you’ve felt a “slight” headache or even nauseated. Or just plain BLAH?! You are not alone. As much as I enjoy traveling, there have been times were I just need hours to decompress after the flight. Not so fun when you are limited on vacation or business time.
With warmer days and off days from school, there might be some traveling planned for the next few days or weeks in your future. My family and I love to travel, discover places, and explore the outdoors together. When it comes to eating habits during a trip it can be challenging. It has been one of the hardest things for me to learn how to plan. It’s still challenging but I continue to learn, and I will share some of the things I have learned along the way. In this air edition, I will share my best tips for plane trips. With or without kids, what we eat during our trips could affect our overall experience.
Healthy habits should be a daily priority for all but if you haven’t made that a priority, let’s make it NOW. There is an old proverb that says, “there’s no time like the present.” I don’t know about you, but I dislike feeling bloated mostly if I am wearing a bathing suit. It frustrates me feeling tired and sleepy while I am on vacation. The fuel we put into our bodies has a lot to do with those feelings.
It’s all about planning ahead. Nothing wrong with spontaneity, but when it comes to our health it’s all about intentionality.
As I plan a trip, I make sure that we have water. H2O – Plenty of water! We travel with reusable bottles. Save money, space and help the planet in the process. After hurricane experiences lived in Puerto Rico, we invested in Lifestraw bottles. Full disclosure- I do not sell these bottles nor am I being compensated for mentioning them on this post. They are great because you can refill them with the filter already in it. And the filter lasts a while, and by “a while”, I mean months. For plane traveling, they are especially great because you go through security with your empty bottle and fill it up as soon as you are done tying your shoes back on after you’ve greeted the TSA personnel. If they are not within your current budget, a regular bottle would do as well but thinking of how much water cots at airports, investing in a good reusable bottle might be an investment after all. Staying hydrated is extremely important during any traveling.
We also travel with reusable cutlery and even straws, but I will provide more details on that in my next post about healthy travel by land.
An important thing we’ve learned is to eat before we even arrive to the airport as much as possible. Eat some high protein yet light meal or snack. Hummus and nut butters would do the trick. They are also fantastic items to pack as a snack. You can prepare a whole wheat salad wrap with hummus, a small salad with beets or dried fruits and take it with you. Even healthier, you could make an almond flour tortilla wrap! (We are enjoying those Siete Foods products too). You will save the costly airport meals while keeping yourself healthy and properly fueled.
Have you tried freeze dried fruits? DE-LI-CIOUS!!!. The greatest thing about freeze dried fruits is that they provide healthy nutrients and are non-perishable. They have become one of our go-to snacks at home or on the road. There are so many options these days. Dehydrated fruits are great for traveling as well, however I prefer the freeze dried because of the higher amount of sugar found in the dehydrated fruits.
Some of the best and healthiest snacks we have found are, nuts, carrots, dried or dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits, apples, kale chips (low or no salt added) and blueberries. Dried edamame beans and dried chickpeas are easy to pack and such healthy snacks too. We take fresh blueberries on short trips or on our flights out to our new destination and they are the first thing we eat along with any other fresh food. It is best to save some of the other food items for your flight back.
We have learned to avoid eating in the plane all together. But if you must, kale and dried fruit are probably your best bet to avoid that groggy feeling afterwards. We even pack some extras in our luggage for the trip back. I have made beet salads for our plane trips too. Place them in a small container in my backpack and they are ready to eat. The salad won’t bother other passengers with any strong scents, and you will stay healthy adding antioxidants and other nutrients to keep your immune system strong. Another important reason for healthy eating while traveling- a strong immune system! To help with that immune system I usually travel with a few bags of tea. I avoid caffeine (mostly in a plane) and ask just for hot water to submerge my tea. My preferred ones for traveling are ginger, mint, lemon balm, and Hibiscus tea. I like these ones because they are soothing, are high in antioxidants, help with the bloating and are anti-inflammatory.
A healthy gut is important during traveling and it helps your immunity exposure in an airplane setting. It’s best to avoid alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks. Alcohol is dehydrating, and coffee is a diuretic. You want to stay hydrated. However, if you feel you must have some alcohol, choose a glass of wine or hard alcohol with club soda, lime, or lemon and down a glass of water for every drink you have. Carbonated drinks allow air to enter your gut which will increase bloating. On that note-so will chewing gum. Gum also has added sugars and or artificial sweeteners that will increase that feeling of bloating we are avoiding. I admit, this was a hard one for me. I grew up with the notion that you just chew gum to avoid your ears from plugging. Guess what? Major discovery alert!! When I first traveled with my first born, she was only 5 months old. I was so concern about her ears bothering her and then her bothering the ENTIRE flight trying to express her discontent. You know what I mean… Another wise and experienced frequent flyer mom told me to make sure that the baby was either sucking her pacifier or drinking her milk right as we were departing. Worked like a charm! I figured at that moment why can’t I do something other than chewing gum to avoid the change in pressure to bother me? After all, have you seen the flight attendants chewing gum? I haven’t. I bet you’ll look now. HA! My solution has been to purposely swallow or sip water as we ascend and descend. Voila! It even works for my toddler and younger kid.
As I mentioned a healthy gut, probiotics are a great way to avoid bloating while traveling. There are so many supplements available now. There are options for kids too. We try to take supplements since a day before traveling. When we travel in the morning a yogurt with fresh fruits and a spoonful of flaxseed is our preferred breakfast. I could even add those ingredients for a shake. Add some nut butter for extra protein and head out the door. There are other food sources for probiotics that you could try too such as tempeh or even sauerkraut. But just to be safe I’d recommend having the supplements on hand.
My most recent “discovery” has been- drum rolls please…. Compression socks. I know it sounds old. Well, it kind of is. I wore them during my pregnancy and deeply dislike them. (I save my four-letter word H… word for very serious situations so I stick to dislike instead). However, a fellow runner was telling me what a game changer those socks have been for her. This woman travels all over the place mostly for triathlons, so you understand the importance of proper circulation in her legs. I’ve read research that says that is recommended to get up and stretch on any flight over two hours. Let’s be real, sometimes that is almost impossible. Many other factors are at hand. Who is seating next to me if I am not on the aisle? Turbulence, delays at terminals…you name it. The compression helps stimulate the lymph system and encourage circulation and lymphatic drainage while avoiding that puffiness while we are motionless. So to avoid that stagnant feeling, I have recently invested in some sleeves as well as some compression leggings. Comfortable, stylish and beneficial. Triple win!
There are many other ways to make our travel time safe, healthy and enjoyable. These are just some of the few I’ve discover so far. I am currently researching and consulting physicians on Magnesium Supplement powders to relieve stress by relaxing the muscles. If you are interested to know what I find, sign up to my email list to receive news in the future. I would also love to hear what your travel hacks are.
Who knows?! This might the beginning of a healthier lifestyle for you. Start with your vacation. Enjoy healthy traveling, enjoy family and friends and a safe return home.