Tips to travel well this summer

 
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From a Saturday morning trip to the farmers market to a weeklong beach vacation, you may find yourself out and about more this summer. While exploring a new local spot or a exotic destination abroad is exciting, letting go of our health goals is not. Lack of a routine, limited access to unprocessed foods and a “vacation mindset” can all factor into why we fall off track. In addition to packing extra sunscreen, let’s dive into these simple strategies to help keep you healthy and happy this summer.

1. FOCUS ON FIBER

We may know that getting enough fiber is good for gut-health but what about when it comes to travel? Found in fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and whole grains, fiber keep us fuller for longer. When we’re on the go, mealtime may be more inconsistent so filling up on fibrous foods can help keep cravings at bay. As a bonus, these foods are bursting with protective antioxidants, substances that protect our bodies and help lower levels of inflammation.

Pro tip: Since we tend to find the most fiber in the skins of fruits and vegetables, snack on produce with a skin (berries) vs. a peel (banana) for an added boost.

2. PORTABLE SNACKS

Running from airport to Airbnb doesn’t always leave us time to enjoy a proper meal. To stabilize blood sugar levels and give your body enough energy, aim to eat every three to four hours. Having simple snacks on hand can help prevent that “hangry” feeling some of us may experience from time to time. Examples include fresh fruit and nut butter, plain oatmeal packets with seeds, hummus packets and pre-cut veggies as well as some mēle packets!*

Pro tip: pack a “perfect pair” -- start with a carbohydrate (e.g., bread, fruit, oatmeal) and add a fat or protein (e.g., nut butter, cheese, yogurt) to help give your snack some staying power.

3. DRINK UP

While you may be tempted to sample the local espresso first thing in the morning, try starting your day off with a glass or two of pure H2O. Drinking water throughout the day helps keep our bodies functioning properly, preventing fatigue and headaches associated with low water intake. Staying well hydrated is especially key when we’re in an airplane and running around in a warm environment (hello, summer sunshine!).

Pro tip: Pack a refillable water bottle that is attractive, easy to clean and carry and follow the “1-for-1” rule. For every alcoholic or caffeinated drink, enjoy a glass of water.

4. PLAN ACTIVE ADVENTURES (or a quick sweat sesh)

While lounging lakeside is definitely on par with vacation, consider checking out a nearby trail or studio near your hotel or Airbnb. Building in movement not only helps burn off any excess calories from last night’s meal, it also gives us a boost of energy and reduces stress levels. Add tennis shoes and athleisure to your “to pack” list alongside swimwear and sunnies.

Pro tip: Grab a map and DIY a sightseeing tour by renting a city bike or scooter for a small fee.

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Bottom line: Treat yourself.

Travel can be exhilarating and exhausting. When we are depleted, we may be less likely to dedicate energy to making healthier meal and snack choices.

Choose one small item, like local sorbet or glass of wine, to indulge in each day. Be kind to yourself and enjoy your time away!

This blog post was written for and originally published by meleshake

*P.S. I pack a few of these when I’m headed out of town. Nutritionally, they’re well balanced and I like how they’re not overly sweet. My favorite flavor is SUPERGREEN PLANT-BASED (I’ll add half water, half soy/oatmilk to make it creamy).

Curious? Use code MAYA15 to get 15% off your first order. Cheers!


Shape-up your space: Five ways to ‘healthify’ your surroundings

 
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At the end of a long day, it may be tempting to reach for our favorite foods without giving it a second thought. From chocolate-covered cookies to a chilled glass of wine, we all have our ‘go-to’ faves. For me, if I’m feeling extra wiped, I’ll dive into whatever frozen treat is waiting for me in the freezer. This state of ‘mindless munching’ is something that many of us may be familiar with. But sometimes turning to these treats leads us down a path that doesn’t serve us or our health goals. According to the American Psychological Association, studies suggest that willpower erodes across the day. So when we’re feeling depleted and running on empty, what can we do? Enter our environment.

1. MAKE HEALTHY EASY

After getting home from the grocery store, wash, cut and store produce in clear containers. Make them ‘snackable’ by placing them at eye level next to a dip of your choice. Cucumber rounds with hummus or apple slices with almond butter are simple, filling and nutrient-dense. Since it can be easy to polish off an entire bag/container/box of whatever we’re eating or drinking, consider buying single-serve, individually wrapped snacks to help keep intake in check.

2. “KONDO” YOUR COUNTER

If you’ve ever emptied your closets, reorganized your pantry or otherwise ‘tidied up’ as Japanese organization guru Marie Kondo would say, you may notice feeling less stressed. According to one recent study, “clutter had a negative impact on self-reported well-being” among the study’s participants. Keep your counters clean and clear of junk food. Store fresh fruit in attractive bowls and containers on top of your counter, making choosing filling and fiber-rich foods easy to get to.

3. CREATE HOME HYDRATION STATIONS

Many of us struggle to drink enough water throughout the day. According to the Institute of Medicine, women need about 11 cups of fluid per day while men need closer to 13 cups. Stash several water bottles or glasses in ‘hot spots’ in your home as a visual reminder to fill up on fluid. Sparkling water and caffeine-free drinks will count toward this number so maybe store an herbal tea bag or two in your favorite space.

4. BESPOKE WITH BEANS

Like water, many of us don’t meet our recommended daily intake of dietary fiber each day. For women, we need 25 grams per day while men need 38 grams per day. Not only does fiber promote positive digestive health, it helps with satiety, that feeling of fullness we get after eating. Staying fuller for longer may help keep cravings in check, making reaching for a treat less likely after a fiber-rich meal. From roasted chickpeas to lentil pasta, store different bean-based foods in your home to up your fiber game.

5. GREENIFY YOUR SURROUNDINGS

When we’re feeling stretched thin, spending time around greenery may lift our spirits and our mood. A 2010 study found that those who spent time in a room with a plant reported feeling more confident and energized compared to those who were in a room sans plant. Create your own indoor garden by adding a low-maintenance plant or terrarium to spaces where you spend the most time. Or, if you’re like me and don’t have a green-thumb, treat yourself to a few fresh flowers now and again.

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Bottom line: Starting something new and working toward a personal health goal can be challenging.

Building healthy habits takes time. Scan your current surroundings and focus on changing one thing at a time to help prevent that “I’m doing everything yet nothing is getting done” feeling.

Above all, be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time.

This blog post was written for and originally published by the glu