How to stay healthy while traveling

When I arrived home last week after an extended trip, my snuggest pair of jeans still fit.

While I don’t suggest losing weight as a holiday goal, I advocate staying healthy and active while traveling.

One of the great joys of travel is trying new things, whether it be food, drink or experiences. And people are apt to splurge while on holiday. So, go ahead and enjoy that German Schnitzel or trifle, just balance it with some vegetables in between.

The winter holidays bring special challenges because most of us eat more — and perhaps richer — food than we usually do. It’s important to stay active while spending quality time with family and friends. Take group walks before eating dinner and after dessert. Plan group outings, such as hiking, ice skating or sledding.

The fruit option for breakfast on a recent Qantas Airways flight from Sydney, Australia, to San Francisco. (Sheryl Jean)

Here are some of my tips to help you stay healthy while traveling any time of the year:

Stay hydrated: Drink as much liquid — preferably water — as possible to stay hydrated o a plane and on the ground. It’s good for your skin and aids in digestion. Avoid caffeine.

Make smart in-flight food choices: Bring or buy healthier food, such as fruit, salad or hummus, on U.S. flights. On international flights, choose fruit instead of the egg-sausage breakfast and skip dessert. Avoid salt and salty snacks, which will help your body retain water.

A healthy restaurant dinner of spinach tartlets with a falafel salad. (Sheryl Jean)

Planercize: That’s my made-up word for exercising on a plane. It’s a good idea to stand up or walk around every so often, if allowed, especially on long flights. While seated, clench and unclench your glute .muscles, stretch your legs under the seat in front of you, pull your knees into your chest, stretch your arms above your head and slowly roll your wrists and ankles both ways.

Find fruit and vegetables: Bring vitamins, especially if you’re traveling in places with limited food variety. Eat a hearty breakfast to fuel your daily itinerary. Vegetables can be hard to come by, so when offered a choice of sides between fries, veggies or salad, choose the veggies or salad. Avoid fried foods and rich desserts, especially at night. Carry snacks, such as energy bars and fruit.

This is a typical kitchenette at a New Zealand cabin. This one is at Knobs Flat near Milford Sound. (Sheryl Jean)

Say yes to kitchenettes: I’m a big fan of lodgings with a kitchenette because it gives you a lot more control over what you eat.

Say no to taxis: The easiest way to exercise while traveling is to walk everywhere when possible. Incorporate walking, hiking, biking, paddling or other activities into your itinerary. Avail yourself of your hotel gym or do simple stretches in your hotel room each morning. Consider planning an “active” vacation where you I ncorporate walking, hiking, biking, paddling or other activities into the trip. As a runner, I often choose a lodging based on its proximity to parks or trails.

Sleep well: Travel can be hectic and stressful, so it’s important to get enough sleep. Some people use eyeshades, ear plugs or sound-blocking headphones on a plane and on the ground. I downloaded a free moblie app to play rain or wave sounds if I have trouble sleeping. (I use it at home, too.) Remember what you eat and do can affect your sleep patterns.

Just in case: Pack a small first-aid kit for whatever might befall you. I always travel with ibuprofen, adhesive bandages, chewable antacid pills, allergy pills, small nail clippers and sunscreen.

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