Sunday, November 24, 2013

Healthy Travels

Today I have my first guest poster! Cole from is sharing his tips for healthier traveling.
Being an avid traveler myself, I am excited to share his tips. When I was younger, it was a tradition of mine to get a Cinnabon Pecan Bun every time I went on vacation. It was a special treat and part of the whole exotic experience. But then I learned more about what is actually in those buns and started traveling a lot more and decided a Cinnabon a month was really too much. So I stopped my tradition of indulging in highly-processed sugary bun and have applied some healthier habits including some of the tips mentioned below by Cole...
Airports are a prime location for the luring attacks of sugary drinks, snacks and fast food.  Most people, who are often in a rush, forget to either eat prior to their airport arrival or to grab healthier snack to hold them over.  Consequently, this makes them prime targets for those energy sucking foods that never fail to add those unwanted pounds.  

Staying hydrated also important to avoiding unnecessary snacking.  Although airport security will not allow water bottles through the security gate, they will allow an empty bottle through which can be filled once inside the gate.  Most places in the airport do sell water but the bottles are often small and usually overpriced.  Either way, your stomach, and bladder, will thank you for choosing water rather than caffeinated drinks which tend to run right through you with, sometimes, with some very uncomfortable side effects.
Now realistically, life doesn’t always allow the time for us to eat prior to airport arrival.  That most often being the case, a great first step for any airport travel is to take a quick peek at your airports website.  Find out what kind of restaurants and snack bars are going to be available.  A quick peek will allow you to know, in advance, exactly where to go for a nutritious meal that will satisfy your taste buds.  Also learn about the restaurants and hotels in the nearby area. You never know when you are going to be stuck over night on a layover. I had a flight cancelled recently while I was in Boston after a Red Sox game and thought I was in a trouble. I did a quick search and found a great list of hotels and restaurants in Boston that could cater to the health conscious. Researching everything is extremely important.  By doing this, you'll be better able to gauge the availability of health-conscious menu items. Steer clear of places serving junk foods, barbecue, fried foods and other health nightmares. You're much better off with places that serve Mediterranean fare, salads, soups and lean meats.
Yes, it is true that airports are ideal locations to catch up on reading or to jump on a laptop to get a few more minutes of work done.  It is a proven fact, however, that exercise will boost not only your emotions but also your work ethic.  Taking a quick stroll around the airport, perhaps even browsing through a few of the airport shops, will keep both your mind and body in motion.  Carrying your bags instead of rolling them beside you adds resistance, and taking the stairs instead of the escalator will get your blood flowing.  Increased blood flow not only makes your heart happy but also you will notice yourself relax and smile with each new step. 
All in all, the bottom line is to know what to avoid and what to enjoy.  Fried foods, those delicious smelling cinnamon rolls, or too much caffeine can leave you lacking in energy, cringing from heartburn, or constantly rushing to the bathroom.  Healthier choices like fruit, crackers, perhaps a sandwich or wrap, and plenty of water will keep up your nutrition and your health.  Movement, like a quick stroll or even skipping steps up the stairwell, will keep your energy up and your mind clear for the journey that lies ahead of you.
In addition to Cole's great tips, here are a few of my own. As a general rule, I only order water when I fly. When I made that switch I felt like I was missing out a little bit - I mean it's free, it's kind of a treat to get some soda or juice, but anything else will just make my already prone to swelling feet worse. Plus, the taste really isn't worth all the processed sugar in my system, so now I don't even miss it. 
I usually don't eat the pretzels because of the highly-processed white flour and I don't even like pretzels. Don't make the mistake of eating the snacks because their free - be picky and make smart choices! I also try and stay away from meals with meat when ordering anything at the airport. Actually, I stay away from most meats outside of what I cook at home (unless I know it's organic/grass-fed/local) because I don't know where it came from and how processed it is. You will always find some meat-less option. 
I usually pack a bag of nuts, a health bar or two, some fruit, and maybe a sandwich if it's a longer flight. I feel much better when I eat healthier while I am traveling and it is worth the extra prep beforehand. 
Healthy travels to all!