It’s super easy to give in to unhealthy habits when you travel with your family. A quick stop at the drive-thru while you’re on the road. A bag full of sugary treats when you fill the tank with gas. While I try not to freak out too much about occasional botches, I also try not to completely derail my health when I travel. And you can too, if you put some planning into it.
If you have school-age kids, you know that spring break is coming up soon. Here are a few things to consider before you head out to your vacation destination.
Where are you staying? My family always tries to find a house or condo to rent when we travel. That way, we have plenty of space to spread out and be comfortable during the day, and we can sleep in our own bedrooms each night. But even more important is access to a fully functioning kitchen, so we can cook our own meals. Our general rule is to cook two out of our three daily meals at the rental. Not only does this keep it more affordable, but it also keeps us on track with eating healthy.
Where are you eating? Part of the fun of traveling to different places is eating the local food. If you’re visiting the coast, it’d be a shame not to experience the ultimate in fresh seafood. Right? Right. So don’t shy away from eating at local restaurants—just lay down some guidelines before you get there. A good one is to make sure everyone drinks water rather than soda.
If you have a special diet, you can go online to find restaurants that cook food in the way you prefer. Pull up your favorite search engine and type “find [your diet requirements] restaurants in [your destination].” For example, the website Paleo Hacks offers a few tips to finding Paleo-friendly restaurants wherever you’re traveling to. If you find yourself in a restaurant you don’t know anything about, remember the tips in the SRP Real Food FAQ, “How Do I Find Real Food in a Restaurant?” This information should help you navigate through your choices.
What are you snacking on? Snacks are inevitable when you travel, especially with kids. Sometimes quality snacks can be the difference between everyone’s mood staying even or going south in a hurry. Be sure to bring along a cooler packed with grapes, slices of summer sausage, and/or baby carrots. It’s also pretty easy to buy a bag of clementines or apples at the local market to keep at the ready.
You can also prepare some snacks before you even leave home. Make a batch or two of Sally Fallon’s Crispy Nuts from Nourishing Traditions. Or if you’re traveling with really little ones, check out Super Nutrition for Babies by Katherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger—it’s an invaluable resource that will help you make healthy choices.
Are you headed somewhere known for offering up parasites and diarrhea to its visitors? Bring Standard Process Zypan with you. This HCL supplement helps stop parasites in the stomach by digesting them. And Standard Process Cholacol II adsorbs (not absorbs, there’s a difference) toxins in the gut and can safely stop diarrhea.
What types of activities are you planning? Be sure to include some physical activity in each day’s agenda. It could be hiking to some gorgeous waterfall only the locals know about or even just running around at a city park. The days are much more enjoyable when you get your body moving—everyone has more energy, and you all have fun experiences to talk about.
Next time you head out on the road with your family, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to mean a hiatus on your health. What are your plans for keeping your family health next time you travel?
Photo from iStock/diepre