I often hear Executives complain a whole food plant based diet is “too difficult” to follow with their busy travel schedules. I have to admit, I agree with you! It is a challenge to eat healthy while traveling no matter what diet we eat. But with a plan, and a little practice, making healthy choices can be as easy as making unhealthy ones. The key to being a healthy road warrior and following a plant based diet is to follow a plan and practice it until you make a routine out of your food choices. Often times, travel can be stressful, causing lost sleep, dehydration, and achy muscles and bones. Eating a plant based diet during travel can help you feel more energetic. Having a plan takes the stress off your mind and relieves you of the guilt of making poor choices.
Here are my tips for sticking to your plant based diet while traveling:
1. Pack a snack/meal bag for the plane.
Fill it up with nuts, dried fruits, cut up veggie sticks and and an oil-free dip, make a huge salad, cook up some rice and beans to take with some salsa, cook up some sweet potatoes. As long as the dressings you bring are less than 3oz you should be able to take these foods through the security check without a problem.
2. Arrive early enough to scout out the restaurants at the terminal and choose the healthiest choice.
More and more airports are offering healthy alternatives. Grab a trailmix, oatmeal, or fresh juice from the Starbucks, find a Jamba Juice and ask them to create a custom smoothie for you, look for an Asian restaurant and ask for some rice with some steamed veggies, look for a steakhouse and order a baked potato and some vegetable sides and salads, grab some bananas, apples, and a veggie sandwich from the deli.
3. Do not let yourself get too hungry!
Make sure you have food with you before you board your plane. We all make poor decisions when we are too hungry! If you are not hungry while you are waiting for your plane, make sure you bring food from home, or pick up some food to go from one of the terminal restaurants. You don’t want to be stuck on your plane with two hours to go and all of a sudden realize you are starving with no healthy options!
4. Make a plan for dining out with colleagues or clients.
You have two options here. You can be honest with your colleagues about your diet and suggest a healthy restaurant. If you are not comfortable with that or your colleagues want to go to the new hip steakhouse downtown make sure you check out the menu before you go. It’s possible to order healthy no matter where you eat. Check out the sides menu and order rice, potatoes, and veggies. Order a salad with no meat or cheese and ask for the dressing on the side. Ask for extra veggies added to the salad or some avocado. Get ideas from the waiter! Tell him have cut out meat, dairy, and oil from your diet and ask him what he recommends you order. You might be surprised with what they will come up with.
5. Treat yourself with a non-food related gift.
Sometimes, making healthy food choices for ourselves can make us feel left out. It’s really hard to make the right choices for ourselves when all the other options seem so easy and appealing. Reward yourself! What you are doing is hard! It takes discipline and self-control. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi, massage, or spa day. You are amazing and you are worth it!
6. And if all else fails, remember to forgive yourself and move on.
Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we still make the wrong choice, or eat something that we later regret. It’s okay. We are all human and it happens. Forgive yourself and move on. Get right back on your plant based diet and forget about it.
Have any tips or tricks to share that help you stick with your plant based diet while traveling? Comment below.