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How to stay healthy while traveling

Keeping up your healthy habits on vacation can be a challenge. Read these six tips from nutritionist Mia Rigden to learn how to stay healthy while traveling.

 by Mia Rigden, board-certified nutritionist, classically trained chef

Exploring new places, beach days, dinners al fresco, quality time with family and friends; Summer vacations are the best! But they’re also a time for ice cream, burgers, hot dogs, rosé, cold beer, and chips, lots of chips — and how to stay healthy while traveling and enjoying these treats can be tough! A certain level of indulgence can be fun, but at some point it can start to feel icky.

More sugar and carbohydrates can lead to blood sugar imbalance, energy fluctuations, and cravings for more sugar and carbohydrates; increased alcohol intake can disrupt sleep, cause anxiety, and harm our gut health, among other things; and the more we dine out the more we are exposed to inflammatory industrial seed oils.

We wait all year for summer holidays and I want to make sure that you feel great and get the maximum enjoyment out of it and don’t feel like you need a complete reboot when you get home. Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy while traveling. 

Eat a high-protein breakfast

I know the pastries and pancakes at the breakfast buffet can be tempting, but starting your day with a carbohydrate-dominant meal can affect your energy levels and lead to increased cravings. Instead, opt for a high-protein breakfast like eggs, greek yogurt, or a protein shake. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy local delicacies. We all want that coffee and croissant moment in Paris, but you might feel better if you order it with some scrambled eggs. 

While you’re sitting on plane without much to occupy your hours in the air, it’s easy to fill your time with mindless snacking. It’s a lot easier to say no to the cookies and artificially coated pretzels if you’ve packed some healthy, nutrient-dense snacks that will satiate you until you’ve reached your destination. Some of my favorites are nuts and seeds, protein bars, dry-roasted edamame beans, an apple with a single-serving packet of nut butter, and flax seed crackers.

Have the “thing” on the last day

I’m all for epic food experiences while traveling, but one afternoon gelato can easily turn into a week of afternoon gelatos. If there is a sweet treat or pastry you're excited to try, have it on the last day so it doesn’t become a daily habit.  

Move your body

You might be missing your gym sessions, but increasing your steps and doing multiple short bouts of exercise a day (like walking, swimming, playing paddle ball, or flying a kite) can be just as beneficial as one long workout and may even have some additional advantages. For example, movement after a meal is a great way to stabilize your blood sugar and improve glucose control. 

Plan your travel day meals

B-Y-O-food for travel days so you can save your indulgences for good food, not airport or gas station food. I also recommend sticking with your regular meal times when you travel. It can be all too easy to graze throughout travel days which can leave you in what I like to call “snack purgatory”--where you are neither hungry nor satisfied and maybe feel a little ill. We’ve all been there! Pack the meals you’ll need during travel and a few fun and healthy snacks to help you pass the time, as listed in #2. 

Take your supplements

It can be easy to forget your supplements in the chaos of packing, but sticking with your supplement routine will help support you through any travel disruptions. Magnesium, like LivOn Labs' Lypo-Spheric® Magnesium, is one of my favorite travel supplements because it supports both sleep and digestion, which can easily get thrown off during travel. I’m a big fan of LivOn Labs supplements particularly for travel since they come in individual packets that you can take in your carry-on bag.

    Remember, your everyday routines are far more impactful than some vacation indulgences. Hopefully these tips will help you to figure out how to stay healthy while traveling and enjoy every moment. 

    Mia Rigden is a Los Angeles-based board certified nutritionist, trained chef, and the author of The Well Journal (2020) and Foodwise (2023), a comprehensive, encouraging guide to healthy eating with 100 original, nutritionally-balanced and flavor-enriching recipes. Learn more about working with Mia on her website, check out an online course, and follow on Instagram @mia_rigden for science-backed, practical nutrition advice.

    Tags: Magnesium