Travel may have some great perks, but weight loss is seldom one of them. And it's pretty safe to say that during the holiday season when we're dashing from office parties to family celebrations, weight loss is definitely not a perk here either. So how do you keep up your energy while traveling and during the holidays?
Whether traveling for business or pleasure during this busiest month of the year, here are my 5 Top Travel Tips to keep you strong, slim and energized when you arrive at your destination.
1) Sip Smartly
Flying dramatically dehydrates us, so it's critical that you drink regularly in flight. In fact, a scant 1.5% dehydration (which can happen on even short flights) can zap our mood, energy level and focus. Drink plenty of water-still or sparkling- instead of sugar sweetened beverages or alcohol to stay hydrated without packing on the pounds (unless you feel like walking back and forth in flight for 30 minutes to burn off that soda you ordered?). Or bring along a green or herbal teabag or two and simply ask for a cup of hot water. Add a wedge of lemon or lime for extra vitamin C and flavor. I always carry a reusable BPA-free water bottle with me, so I don't have to wait for in flight service, or feel wasteful with all that plastic (check out my partner CamelBak's gorgeous options here). Many airports now have free filtered waters stations past TSA-so you can fill up before you fly.
2) Nosh on Nuts
While it’s tempting to reach for a gooey, sweet treat as a bright spot in a dull travel day, foods high in sugars, salt and fat can backfire, zapping your energy, intensifying your craving for more sweets and having you arrive at your destination ready to take a nap rather than hit the ground energized and with a fresh, clear mind. Not only are they free, and you don't have to prepack them, but nuts significantly more nutrient dense than pretzels. Need more convincing? Recent research our of Harvard University has shown that eating nuts may even help you live longer! The study showed that eating nuts may help reduce the risk of mortality, finding that those who ate nuts daily saw health benefits nearly double. Nuts' trifecta of protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats also unlock sustained satiety and focus. Eating a 1-ounce package for every three hours in flight is a good rule of thumb. Don't like peanuts? Almonds and pistachios are delicious alternatives.
Stuck in the air for more than three hours? Make the most of your meal by sticking to this easy rule: You’ll likely be snoozing-or need to loosen a belt buckle if you eat a meal rich in low quality, highly refined carbohydrates (like a doughy sandwich). Think Protein + Produce as an energizing combo: in business class, choose that salad with chicken as your in-flight meal instead of the pasta. Pick up a hummus (Both Sabra and Hope Hummus make convenient portable humus packs), and bring along some whole grain crackers or snack-sized veggies from home. I also love Saffron Road's Crunchy Chickpeas, or my partner Kit's Organic Fruit and Nuts Bars. Or look for ready-made sushi in the airport. These are clean choices to stay energized to make the most of your flight time rather than snooze-and save your calories for better things, like your grandmother's cherished Chocolate Trifle with Rum.
4) Pack a Snack
It is essential that you have a backup plan in case you are stuck in your seat for longer than expected-which, of course, is something you can expect as throngs of Americans hit the skies in December. Try a mixture of dried fruits, nuts and seeds (I stash a mix of tart cherries, pumpkin seeds and almonds in my travel bag), a Greek-style yogurt or an organic string cheese, an apple or clementine with a PB&J pita, or dry roasted soybeans. In a rush to get to the airport? You can now find many of these items in the terminal before you board the plane.
5) Delayed? Do a Quick Walk
Virtually all of the clients I work with spend hours and hours each day sitting. Collectively, Americans are logging more hours sitting than ever before, and growing evidence suggests all this “sedentarism” may trigger negative changes in our muscle physiology and metabolism. As a general tip, walk by three gates for every minute a flight is delayed. This will energize you and help you from packing on the pounds, and have you landing at your destination refreshed and ready to go.