Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. As mentioned in my last post, I was away for a week from November 2nd-9th in Medicine Hat, Alberta for the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association Women’s Soccer Nationals. Since I’ve returned home, it’s been a whirlwind of catching up on school work. And even now that I’m caught up, it’s the end of the semester. Meaning papers, presentations and final exams all happening from now until December 12th. Despite all that, I’m going to try my best to squeeze in some posts!
Because I travelled across the country for a week and ate almost every meal at a restaurant (one that was not of my choice, might I add) I decided to post some tips for you guys all about healthy eating and staying on track while travelling. But before we get to that, I thought I’d give a little recap of my trip!
Our first day of the trip was a strict travel day. We were up and out of our hotel at 4:30 am to make our 6am flight at the airport. We had a layover in Toronto from which we flew to Calgary, Alberta and then took a 3 hour bus ride that brought us to Medicine Hat. By that time, it was about 5 or 6pm Alberta time, which was about 8 or 9pm in Nova Scotia. Safe to say we were pooped.
The second day in Med Hat included a morning team practice on the turf where we were scheduled to play our games. After practice, the rest of the day was left to us to do as we please (read: nap). That evening, we attended the CCAA Women’s Soccer National Banquet. Basically, we got dressed up all nice and pretty to eat a buffet dinner and take pictures. Here’s a few snap shots of the evening:
Sorry the quality isn’t great!
The rest of our time in Alberta consisted of playing (losing) 3 games. We played against two teams from Alberta – one team was ranked 1st in the country and the other was the host team – and a team from Toronto. We weren’t expected to win any games (we entered Nationals ranked 8th – out of 8) but after the week we all agreed that we actually did pretty decently compared to what was expected of us. Everyone figured the East Coast team would come in and get completely dominated by everyone we went up against. Yet, our biggest goal differential was only 3 goals. Besides, to me, it was really all about the experience. And a great one it was!
As for the weather in Alberta, it was actually quite beautiful. Everyday was relatively sunny with a high of about 10 degrees (Celsius). Although, there was actually a blizzard and temperatures in the negatives on the day we left. Thank goodness we didn’t have to play soccer in that! To conclude my little recap, I’ll say this: Win or lose, it was an unforgettable trip with an awesome group of girls! Can’t beat that!
Now, onto what this post is really about.
While travelling, things like expensive airport food and enormously portioned restaurant food can really get in the way of your health and fitness goals if you’re relatively new to the whole healthy eating thing. Realistically, even if you know your stuff it’s not easy. Well I’ve compiled some of the things I do to maintain a healthy diet while travelling to help out!
The Traveller’s Guide to Eating Well
- Bring an empty, reusable water bottle in your carry-on. I think this is my number one must-have when flying. If I don’t have my water with me on the plane I quickly begin to feel dehydrated and sick. Once you’re through security, you’re free to fill er’ up and keep hydrated throughout your flight and layovers without spending a dime on expensive airport bottled water.
- Pack healthy snacks from home. If you’re travelling nationally, like I was, you’re allowed to bring whatever food items you please in your carry on and checked baggage. For example, I packed little tupperware containers filled with mixed nuts, granola, LaraBars, and even almond butter! When you bring along your own healthy snacks not only are you keeping up your good eating habits, you’re also saving your change – those airplane snacks are pricey!!
- Oatmeal packets. Seriously. They are a lifesaver. It’s too easy to get your hands on boiled water whether you’re in a hotel or an airport. In hotel rooms, there’s often microwaves and if not, there’s always a coffee maker that you can heat up some water in to make your oats! Perfect for a healthy breakfast or even a snack while lounging in your room.
- Go for whole foods. In the airport, sometimes the array of choices in a short amount of time during a quick layover or a sprint to catch a flight can be pretty overwhelming. Look for the most natural, unprocessed foods you can find. A salad? Perfect. Fruit cup? great. Whole grain bagel? Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat? You got er! When you choose foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains, the fibre content will really help keep you fuller longer, helping you from feeling hungry an hour later on your flight forcing you to eat whatever you can get your hands on on that plane. Lean protein choices will also help you feel full.
- Eat a good breakfast. A healthy, balanced breakfast really sets the stage for your food choices and appetite for the rest of the day. The hotel we stayed at served a hot breakfast every morning including pancakes with whipped cream and syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. I know that if I start my day with a big, greasy breakfast my eating habits for the day are bound to go downhill..not to mention how gross I’d feel. Lucky for me, there were other options! I went for the oatmeal, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit. Whether the breakfast is just continental or restaurant-style there will always be easy options like oatmeal, yogurt, fruit and boiled eggs. I did, and I felt great every day and it really kept my healthy eating on track.
- Research. Before you travel. Look up where you’re going. Check and see if there’s any health food stores or special healthy restaurants that you can hit up on your trip. If there’s not – decide where you’ll be eating ahead of time and scout out the restaurant website for the menu and nutrition information so you can plan out the healthiest option ahead of time. Our Athletic Director let us know every morning what restaurant we were going to that night which made it easy for me to check the spot out online and plan a healthy supper.
- Keep your healthy mindset! I know it can be hard travelling and eating out with people who are a significant amount less health-conscious than you are. It’s not always easy when everyone around you is eating big plates of creamy pasta, cheesy pizza, fries and cheesecake for dessert. You want a burger and sweet potato fries one night? A chocolate bar? Go for it! You deserve to treat yourself! Just don’t feel that because you had one or two bad meals that you’re healthy eating efforts for the rest of the trip should go down the drain. I definitely had a couple treats on the trip and that’s how it should be! I worked hard in those soccer games. I deserved it! Maybe you’re on vacation – live a little!
Just don’t lose sight of your health and fitness goals the entire time you’re away. I’ve done that before and let me tell you, by the end of the trip your body will be begging you to get back to your healthy habits.
That’s it folks! I hope it was helpful 🙂 Let me know in the comments what you think of my Traveller’s Guide to Eating Well.