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Stay fit while travelling

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Payal Kothari offers some clever food and drink hacks for when you are on the move

Travelling isn’t new to anyone, be it a housewife, a CEO or a travel addict. While it can be fun and adventurous, travel creates its own stress from the different time zones, jet lag, new environment, the hustle to reach meetings on time and so on.  For most, it’s almost one or two weeks out  every month, which means eating on-the-go, with less control over the ingredients, amount of fats used and hidden sugar consumed.  But for many of us who travel for work all the time, it could be an airport or station we rely on for our meals and satiating our hunger as much as possible. Staying healthy also means keeping that immunity high on board a flight, in a new hotel room and in a new city.

 I have been travelling ever since I married an entrepreneur, almost 30 years ago. I can safely term myself as a seasoned travel veteran, always making sure I stay healthy, energetic and enjoy the stay as much as I can and as a bonus maybe even lose some weight and inches during that time.

 Here are some key takeaways for you when you are travelling non-stop, week after week for work, so that you can keep your energy levels up and your weight down. Sounds too good to be true, do try it out though!

Eat, Drink and Be Immune!

Try to balance the CPFF That’s carbohydrates, proteins, fibre and the fat in every meal. For example, for breakfast, if you enjoy a multigrain toast, add lots of sliced vegetables, avocado if available, sprinkle some cheese and grab a non-flavoured Greek yogurt. For lunch, grab a salad bowl, some high fibre pasta/quinoa burger. If travelling within the country, then have a green salad of cucumber, tomato, green chilli along with a hot phulka, some palak saag and some daal. Similarly keep the fibre high towards the evening and carbs low.

Pack smart, plan ahead Pack a snack and a meal if the flight is too long. Avoid airline meals. They are loaded with preservatives to keep the meals fresh. Carry nuts, seeds, cheese, Greek yogurt, sandwiches, Indian pancakes (chillas). Even a wrap tastes yum in the aircraft, making you the envy of fellow passengers. A healthy quinoa burger is easy to carry as an onboard option too.

Travelling smart with the kids Carry lots of nuts, seeds, makhanas with you. Makes them eat less of the refined sugars and processed junk food. They are more susceptible to catching a new bug on flight or on the train, so feed them vitamin C rich fruits a week before your travel date—ideally every day even if you are not travelling. Carry along a vitamin C supplement in case they catch a cold. Also a powder made of dry ginger, dry haldi and dry cardamom works like magic with some honey or warm water. Pack nibbles for flights, for eg, cheese and dates to keep them away from chips and donuts.

Eat local produce Every city and country has its own super food or local produce. Do try to reach out and consume those meals. For or example- if you go to Assam, drumsticks, amba haldi is their main produce: black rice, pink rice is their staple grain. So eat those items on the menu instead of eating the same that you eat in your own city. Anyone would be happy to help you if you asked.

Avoid the junk snack with your alcohol Limit the alcohol to one or two pegs a week or 10 days. Keep that drink without sugar and avoid aerated combinations. They are almost one-third the calorific intake of your day. Make sure you eat some fresh veggies, hummus, chana chaat or grilled vegetables along with the drink. Skip the peanuts, masala chana – very high in sodium. Avoid fried snacks - edamame, boiled green peas, cheese, salad should be your go-to snack.

Carry your superfood supplement to keep that immunity high Carry curcumin to add to your tea, cinnamon to your water and some effervescent vitamin C to keep your immunity high on board a flight and in a new city, a new room and also a new vehicle. Keep a small box with these tiny but powerful super herbs to keep that immunity high and strong.

Stay hydrated at all times Last but not the least, staying hydrated throughout the day is very important. Begin your day with water, drink lots of water throughout the day and end your day with water. Even on a flight, stay away from diuretics like aerated drinks, caffeine and alcohol. Instead add some lemon slices to your water and make it tastier. A good hack to see if you are hydrated is that the colour of your urine should be colourless and odourless. It’s a good way to know your hydration levels. Carry your water around, avoid using plastic and your travel can be a blessing instead of a weight gain destination.

So, to begin with just get a good stretch, elongate the spine upwards, sideways forward and back a couple of times. It’s the best release for your stressed out spine sitting on a long haul flight. Then get 7-10 surya namaskars, 7-10 burpees and do a quick on-the-spot jogging for five rounds of one minute each. End the quick workout with a five-minute pranayama and you are good to feel at least 100% better than you did before the workout.

You gotta move it!

Destination wedding hacks Stay hydrated, eat lots of fibre, rather than sugary refined carbs. Get a morning run or evening swim in-between the functions. There’s always time for a quick salt water tub bath with your beloved. It’s a good detox as well. Get your body moving to the beats at all times, instead of just sitting on a couch watching people dance and move. Help out if the wedding is that of a close friend or family member in running chores for the functions.

Burn your wine Agreed, travel is hectic, the beds are too warm and comfy. If you want to optimise your day when travelling for a meeting or to crack that important deal, a quick 15-20 minute workout is very important. It releases the stress of jet lag, raises the feel-good hormones and makes you want to go get that deal. The workout can be in your hotel gym, your room itself or, if you are up to exploring a local park around you, that would be the best.

Payal Kothari is an integrative and functional nutritionist.

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