How to travel like a health coach

Many of us are going home for the holidays. Some of us can’t wait to see the family while others wouldn’t mind a few more days to prepare for the trek. Regardless of where you are on that spectrum, if you’re traveling for the holidays, you’re probably spending some time thinking about your waistline.  I am too. I travel 15 of the 31 days in December. Between rest stations, airports, and all the family gatherings, I have to be prepared if I want to come back the same size I left. So, to help you and me do just that, I called in my good friend and fellow Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Brigitte Ayoub to share her healthy living travel tips.  

Girl. Help us. How can we make the healthy choice the easy choice when on the road?

The first step is choosing that your health is important enough for you to make it a priority especially during the holidays.  When we consciously decide to maintain something a part of our lifestyle, it makes commitment that much easier! The saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” is pretty true here. The great part about staying healthy while on the road is YOU have the ability to decide what you want to make of it. Don’t get overwhelmed though- the holidays do enough of that; simply commit to something attainable. For example, make your goal to pack snacks for the long road trips instead of relying on a rest stop for “something, anything” in those hangry moments. Packing portable, easy on-the-go snacks makes travel a breeze.  

So ... what are easy, healthy snacks we can pack for road? And where can we get them?

Look for snacks that are packed with healthy proteins and fats. Some examples include: protein bars (be cognizant of sugar content here, the goal is less ingredients: Lar Bars and Rx Bars do just that), packets of nuts, nut butters (come in individual packs), string cheese, oatmeal packets, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, and veggies pre-packed and chopped!

The goal is to find snacks that will keep you full longer, slowly releasing energy, maintaining your sugar levels, and are satiating.  Some of the snacks above would require storage in a small lunch bag cooler (string cheese, eggs, fruit, and veggies) but a little extra prep goes a long way for a long car ride! If you’re a big fan of oatmeal, bringing along packets and asking for hot water at a rest stop is an easy way to make a warm, satisfying snack that will keep your belly happy for a longer period of travel time. All of these items can be found in your local grocer. If you are looking for a greater variety though, consider going to your local health food store (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s) where they typically provide variety.

How can we maximize snack space in our bags when flying? 

Great question! For starters, pack just enough (or a bit more of snacks) in your school bag or handbag (whatever is going to be going underneath your plane seat in front of you) for easy access. Next, I’ve often brought snacks for a long weekend and stashed the majority of it in my suit case or carry-on. Get creative! Those nooks and crannies between your clothes or side pockets are great place for bars and nuts. If you’re traveling with nut butters, I recommend putting them in a zip lock bag, you can never be too safe for leak spillage!

Given all the TSA stuff, anything we should keep in mind when packing food for planes? 

In the past when I’ve traveled with food that wasn’t in any type of packaging or very obvious in a clear plastic bag (carrots/ celery), I’ve labeled the zip lock bags. For example, if you plan to carry on protein powders, green smoothie, or fiber mixes, it’s best to label your food. The more apparent it is, the easier it is for TSA to give the thumbs up. TSA regulations also prohibit bringing in your own liquids but consider investing in a filtered water bottle prior to your trip! This helps keep you accountable on your water intake and is financially more-friendly than spending $5-$7 on a bottle of water at the airport.

You've been traveling quite a bit this past month. What have you been doing for meals on the road?

Well, I cook and prepare food in advance because I always want to be prepared for the car ride (traffic can cause someone’s sugar levels and mood to take a nose dive quick)! I usually make a big, colorful salad with grilled chicken with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sometimes a side of quinoa. I stash packets of cheese alongside an apple and some veggies. I store everything in a small cooler with ice (can be found on Amazon or Bed Bath and Beyond) for starters!

For me, it’s key that I feel good when I travel. Traveling takes a toll on me and if I don’t set myself up for success with what I eat and ensure I move my body daily and get adequate sleep (which always feels super hard)  I tend to feel sluggish and I get sick.

This is has been so helpful, Brigitte but one last question: What is one thing you wish more people did when traveling for the holidays?

I wish more people did what works best for them in their lifestyle. The key with traveling and keeping to a healthy lifestyle is making a commitment to stick to it. Choose manageable, small goals. Nothing is too small, it all adds up! Lastly, be okay that your family may not understand its significance but as long as it keeps you happy and healthy, it’s worthwhile and in return, you’re more present during the holiday season!


Who is Brigitte Ayoub?

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Brigitte Ayoub Gaspich is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach native to the Philadelphia area. As a healer of her own anxiety, her mission is to educate women on the significance of food as medicine and help them see spiritual and emotional growth as a vital part of their lifestyle alongside nutrition and exercise. You can find her at www.brihappybrihealthy.com or or follow her on Instagram at @briayoub