Whether for work or pleasure, your days while traveling will be jam-packed with sights to see, things to do and food to eat. For the person on a restricted diet or who’s trying to eat healthier to lose weight, though, that last part could cause more trepidation than excitement. Nurses travel for their jobs to work at different hospitals and clinics across the country, or to volunteer in impoverished nations. In fact, that’s one of the perks of deciding to find more information about RN to BSN courses online: earning a higher degree and having more opportunities to travel. Travel nurses especially know the importance of taking care of health while traveling. They will tell you that eating right away from home will save you from sickness, weightgain and fatigue, so you can truly enjoy yourself.
1. Bring Along Snacks
Temptation begins in transit, so bring along some healthy — even better if non-perishable — snacks so you have something for the plane, train, bus or car ride and can avoid overpriced airplane or train food or junk from a rest stop. As Men’s Health explains, airplane travel in particular causes dehydration and fatigue, which makes you hungrier than usual. Keep your energy up with healthy, non-messy foods that work with your diet, such as crackers, veggie sticks, apple sauce, granola bars and dry cereals. Non-perishable snacks will last you a few days, and they typically cost significantly less if you buy them at home rather than in an airport.
If you’re on a restricted diet due to a health issue, pack all prescription medications in addition to over-the-counter digestive aids. Even with careful planning, you might accidentally eat something that gives you a reaction.
2. Stop at the Grocery Store
The longer you spend on a vacation, the more snacks you’ll need, and you may not have room to pack enough to last you the whole trip. As soon as you settle in to where you’re staying, head to the grocery store to buy more healthy snacks. Take snacks with you each day to carry you through, and store the rest at your hotel. Having a healthy snack on hand will help you avoid buying impulse snacks while out or eating expensive junk food from the mini bar in your hotel.
3. Research Restaurants Before You Leave
Wandering around your destination while hungry will lead to poor choices. You may get exhausted and settle for the first restaurant you come across, regardless of quality and regardless of menu offerings. Instead, use the Internet to research some restaurants before you go. Go beyond checking location, and read any online reviews or menus. Plan which days you’ll visit which restaurants and include them on your daily itinerary, considering ease of commute to the restaurants as well as what they serve.
You don’t have to eat out every day, either. If your hotel room or the place where you’re staying has a kitchen, plan to cook a healthy meal to save money and eat right.
4. Avoid Vendors and Fast Food
If you plan which restaurants you’ll visit and carry healthy snacks with you every day, you won’t have any reason to wind up at a fast food restaurant or buy junk food from a street vendor. Even so, as TravelNursing.com explains, that “treat yourself while on vacation” mentality leads even seasoned travel nurses to reach for the junk. If you smell something good from a fast food restaurant or vendor and feel your stomach rumble:
- Reach for one of your healthy snacks to combat the hunger
- Devote your attention to the next activity on your itinerary and keep walking
- Distract yourself with a stop in a nearby store
It may take a little planning and forbearance to stick to a healthy diet while traveling, but chances are if you eat right at home, you know that making the effort pays off. If you eat right while traveling, you’ll feel better, be less likely to get ill or feel bloated and have the energy you need to enjoy your trip. Marlene Sargent is a contributing writer and travel nurse with over 10 years of experience. She frequently blogs about health and nursing topics.