I love to travel. And, really, unless you travel consistently for work, who doesn’t? A new place to explore, new people to meet and new cultures to be sampled – I love experiencing it all, including the local cuisine.
However, as we all know, what we eat in a new place does not stay at the new place.
I had this conundrum of what to eat recently while on a work trip to North Carolina. I was super excited to visit this state, as I’d never been there before, and as I was staying in a coastal town, I couldn’t wait to satisfy my stomach with some local seafood.
Generally when I travel, I allow myself one “cheat” meal. I do my best to eat healthy the rest of the time, but if you travel a lot, you know sometimes the best option, especially if you’re short on time, may not be the healthiest option.
Everything started going downhill in Atlanta. I had a three-hour layover, it was time for supper, and as I don’t check bags usually, I was lugging two fairly heavy bags around the airport. And I was tired. And cranky. And hungry.
So I caved. I found an airport pub (but seriously, can an airport really have a legit pub?) and downed a hamburger and fries. I’d like to say at least I didn’t eat it all, but I did. Every. Single. Bite. And it was delicious.
No big deal, I thought. I’d do better the next day.
That’s my life motto, I think; if any day is bad, I think, “Tomorrow, I’ll do better.” I do this with parenting. Y’all with kids, you know what I mean. Some days the best you’re doing is watching “My Little Pony” or “Cinderella” while eating fried chicken picked up from the closest fast food place. Listen. I’ve been there. I understand. And as your kid is screaming bloody murder when you’re trying to read and put her (or him) down, you just think to yourself, “Tomorrow, I’ll do better.” And you will. Because you love your kid, and even though you have one hard day, you can have more good ones.
Same goes with taking care of yourself. You may have one bad day, but as Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow, I’m going to eat better.” Or something like that.
The next day actually was better, though not out of anything I necessarily orchestrated. The continental breakfast was sparse, so I opted for a small muffin and black coffee. I had planned to run that morning, hopefully outside, but that beautiful fall North Carolina sky was bleak and stormy. However, the hotel had a treadmill, and I took advantage of the free morning to exercise. Lunch was found in desperation, but I managed to eat baked flounder and drink a tall glass of water before my afternoon presentation. Sure, I could have opted for the shrimp and grits and a delicious glass of sweet tea, but I really didn’t need those extra calories.
It’s hard to eat healthily and travel, and many of us get caught in a vacation mentality, where we seem to adopt the assumption that anything you eat while not at home has magical disappearing calories. You may not eat a cinnamon roll normally for breakfast, but when traveling, you eat two (Or in my case, it’s resisting the urge to go to Dunkin’ Donuts, even though I could count for you on one hand the number of donuts I eat in an entire year.).
You can still enjoy eating while traveling. I could have eaten the waffle with butter and maple syrup for breakfast, but I chose a muffin. I could have purchased the autumn latte at the coffee shop, but I chose black coffee instead. Sure, I’m traveling, but that doesn’t mean that I can throw healthy eating to the wayside.
Healthy living is a choice you make daily, no matter where you are. Go ahead and pack your exercise clothes. Drink the water instead of a tea. Have a cheat meal once or twice (depending on the length of your stay), but remember what you have spent those months and years working for – it wasn’t to blow simply because you’re not at home.
Enjoy your travels – and all you’ve worked for when you go back home.
How do you handle your healthy living goals when you travel?