This past weekend I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina for a bachelorette party for one of my friends from college. We arrived on Thursday evening and had a lot of activities planned before the …
This past weekend I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina for a bachelorette party for one of my friends from college. We arrived on Thursday evening and had a lot of activities planned before the weekend was over and we all went our separate ways again. We rented a beautiful house on a mountain with a stunning view and had a great time. Traveling is one of my favorite activities and I love exploring new parts of the world. Over the years, I’ve figured out a few ways to manage prioritizing my health goals while traveling.
One of the most challenging parts of being away from home and maintaining a priority on health is eating the majority of meals out at restaurants. When our food options are in the hands of someone else, it can feel like we have to choose between staying focused on our goals or having fun in life, and that we don’t get to do both at the same time. Our mindset around food while traveling is very important and will determine how we feel about the food choices we have to make.
It’s easy to treat eating out at a restaurant as an extremely novel experience and one that is worthy of throwing all of our nutrition goals out the window. While this may be the case occasionally, if we approach every meal in this way, we will really struggle to find any sort of harmony or enjoyment in our lives.
I notice that when I approach a meal at a restaurant from a place of scarcity and worry I’ll never have this experience again, it’s very difficult for me to make food choices or have a good time.
When I acknowledge that having a great experience at a restaurant doesn’t depend on eating the most unhealthy food on the menu, I find it much easier to achieve this balance I’m looking for.
After I settle in and accept that I can have a great time and eat in alignment with my goals, here are some steps I follow to help make food decisions easier.
The first thing I always like to do is order vegetables with my meal and eat them first. Eating vegetables at the beginning of a meal helps stabilize blood sugar, regulate hunger cues to help us recognize when we are full, and will leave us feeling better physically and more confident than if we skip the veggies all together.
Along with that, I like to choose a savory meal with a lean protein option. After I finish my vegetables and protein, I round out my meal with my starchy carbohydrate of choice, like rice or potatoes. Eating in this order allows me to enjoy all aspects of the meal without worrying too much about the exact foods on my plate.
Having a sweet treat with friends and family can be one of the most fun parts of traveling and we don’t need to cut out that experience altogether. I like to have a plan for enjoying ice cream or dessert and the best time to do so is at the end of the day after dinner.
This timing helps keep inflammation down, energy up, and helps us remain clear-headed and stress-free, making it easier to make food choices.
Prioritizing our health goals doesn’t mean we need to cut out fun or be strict all of the time. Remember, we don’t have to always make these choices or eat in this way, but doing so a majority of the time will help keep you in alignment with your goals and feeling your best.
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