Traveling can throw a lot of monkey wrenches into your nutrition plans. Maintaining a healthy diet is challenging enough even when you’re at home in a safe and familiar environment. But when you’re traveling, food impulses and distractions are everywhere! When we’re traveling, food temptations become even stronger and more frequent, which is why it’s often difficult for travelers to keep their resolution to eat healthy. Let’s discuss common diet challenges when you’re on a trip, and learn how to control cravings while traveling — while still exploring exciting foreign dishes!
Why are food cravings stronger when traveling?
You might think that your cravings would not be different while you’re traveling. After all, we have the same eating tendencies wherever we are, right? Well, that’s not the case most of the time. Traveling can indeed make you hungrier than usual for several different reasons:
- Jet lag – changes in time zones, jet lag, and lack of sleep disrupt eating and hunger hormones. All this may increase your appetite.
- Traveling is often physically more challenging than staying at home – switching flights, sightseeing, and other functions of traveling are often more challenging than your everyday routine. Different can equal stress, which can make you crave more comfort foods.
- Dehydration – this is a common issue, especially after long flights. Low humidity in plane cabins can leave you dehydrated, and this can cause your brain to send both thirst and hunger signals.
- New foods all around you – An exciting part of seeing new parts of the world is exploring a new culture by tasting their dishes. This is one of the reasons we get cravings when traveling.
- Also, airports and gas stations are filled with unhealthy temptations – snacks are easily accessible, and you often reach out for things you ordinarily wouldn’t eat at home.
All these factors can lead to the consumption of more calories than usual, which can disrupt your diet and keep you off track when it comes to balanced and nutritious food habits.
Control your cravings while traveling with these simple tips
Even though it seems impossible to stay strong and avoid all the temptations when visiting a foreign country, there are ways to minimize the impact and ensure your body doesn’t suffer. Here are some simple tips that will help you control cravings and maintain a healthy diet even when you’re traveling.
Listen to your body’s signals
Time zones may mess up your sleep and mind, but your brain will send clear signals when it needs more fuel. Instead of relying on the external clock, try to maintain your eating schedule and listen to the signals your body is sending you.
The lack of water in our bodies makes our brain look for other resources – and that’s food. Thirst may be easily confused with hunger, which results in unnecessary calories and cravings. Stay always hydrated, especially if you’re traveling by air, particularly in the summer season. Sometimes, stress can also affect your hydration levels and diet. People who are moving to a foreign country are often nervous about the whole process, which can significantly increase stress levels and mess with their cravings. Experts at Four Winds KSA suggest trusting a reliable professional when moving abroad, and doing your best to plan the move well to minimize the stress and anxiety that such events commonly cause.
Prepare snacks for traveling
Snacking on the go is one of the worst ways to mess up your diet. Try preparing snacks for the road and avoid making bad choices at gas stations and airports. Snacks are a great way to pass time while driving, so be sure to make wiser choices and go for more nutritious snacks such as nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, granola bars and more. If possible, make meals you can bring with you – homemade dishes are often a safer choice when it comes to eating on the go.
Research the food scene you’re traveling to
Whenever you’re visiting a place popular among travelers, you’ll find that the most accessible food sources are unhealthy ones – fast food restaurants and street food vendors. These are all very tasty and present a huge temptation for travelers and passers-by. So, don’t wait to be very hungry to start browsing local foods and restaurants – chances are you’ll probably end up eating foods with more calories. Do research on local foods and restaurants in advance, so you know exactly where to go when you arrive. If you’re planning on cooking food while you’re traveling, choose accommodation that has all the conditions for it. Also, explore locally grown foods that you can use to prepare healthy meals and check local food bloggers and their recipes. This is also a way to learn more about the local food scene, which can be very useful if you need to move there. You can make beneficial changes in your lifestyle by adapting to the local environment, which also includes adjusting your diet.
Enjoy and indulge – but don’t overdo it
Traveling is a great opportunity to relax and indulge – especially when it comes to food. However, don’t make a special occasion out of every meal on your trip. Make sure you keep to your routine and maintain a balanced diet and have a couple of special meals where you don’t need to think about calories. Treating yourself is fine but try to make it truly a special occasion rather than an everyday diet on your trip.
It’s okay to make ‘mistakes’
Feeling guilty about the food you eat may ruin your overall traveling experience – and that’s not worth it. It’s okay to make mistakes and stop being so disciplined all the time. Obsessing about each and every calorie can be counter effective and make your traveling less enjoyable. Simple don’t stress about it and try getting back on track first thing you come back home.
Final words about cravings while traveling
It’s sometimes difficult to stay disciplined once you’re out of your everyday routine – and traveling is one of the best examples of it. Luckily, these tips will help you control your cravings while traveling and ensure you stay in control of your diet even with all those temptations around.