Selva's Healthy Traveling Tips

Another year another adventure! Dane and I just returned from a much needed three week Europe vacation and family gathering. First stop Amsterdam with lots of art museums, second stop Germany full of family and friends, and finally five days of learning how to ski in the Austrian Alps….Dane is super proud! If you haven’t been, to the Alps that is, it is absolutely AMAZING! One lift ticket and your skiing options are endless. Every mountain that you see you can ski, plus you can also rest on almost every mountaintop and enjoy some hearty Austrian food. The perfect conditions for a newbie skier like me.

It has been over three years since I last visited Germany. If you have been a dedicated reader you may recall a few posts during my last Germany get away. I touched on a few of the staples including sautéed beef liver, lavender German cheesecake, a fresh strawberry rhubarb tart, and vegan maultaschen (German version of ravioli). All of which are delicious southern German delicacies. My favorite are the baked goods! The breads are so fresh and hearty, and have the perfect crunch texture. Not surprisingly Germany has mastered gluten-free baking. A country that devoutly uses quality bread in their day to day had to find a way to make the best gluten-free alternative. And I am not talking about toast bread. I am talking about sourdough leavened breads rich in seeds and whole gluten-free grains. If only this devotion to proper bread making would find its way to the states.

However, today I thought I would share my tricks and tips for healthy international traveling. The flights are long, the food usually very poor, and the exercise very limited. But the tips below will help you look and feel your best when traveling long distances. Stay fit and feel great so you can start your trip on a positive note.

#1: Drink Pure Filtered Water.

Staying hydrated is key to long distance flights. More often than not, water is offered only three times during a flight. And usually the water comes in a small plastic cup, which may hold at most 6oz of liquid. Of course you can always ask for more, but sometimes that can be a pain. Therefore, always make sure to bring an empty water bottle to fill up after you pass security.  Many airports are now offering water stations for easy refills. This way you can have a full bottle at your convenience. Plus the more hydrated you are, the more you need to use the restroom, and the more you will move during the flight. For optimal ease, forgo the window seat and plan for an aisle seat so you can freely move when you so desire.

#2: Bring Your Own Food.

Airline meals are often high in sodium and rich in calories. Especially if you are following a gluten-free or low FODMAP diet you must plan ahead and bring your own food. But even if you are not, bringing food from home will ensure that you have the best quality available. Not only can this save you time, money, and stress, but it also helps nourish you body the right way. Below are some TSA approved tips and meal/snack ideas.
  • For ultimate ease stay away from liquids such as yogurt, hummus, and salad dressing. Although you can bring small amounts (~1/4 cup) in food containers, this may be more of a pain than it is worth. Some airlines offer yogurt for sale. For instance Iceland Air sells a local yogurt product for 2 euros. If you bring your own granola or muesli then you are set.
  • Bring cut veggies. Hardy veggies like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snap peas are the easiest. But sliced cucumber and red bell pepper can be just fine too! Just make sure to pack them on top of your carry on as not to squish them.
  • Bring whole fruits. Bananas, apples, and tangerines tend to be my favorite go to travel fruit. No mess and no stress.
  • Sandwiches and wraps are really easy travel food as long as they are wrapped or sealed in a container. Just make sure not to use aluminum foil because it may interfere with the x-ray machines.
  • Pack dry goods like instant oatmeal or instant soups. Once on the plane all you have to do is ask for hot water which airlines are happy to offer. My favorite is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oatmeal with flax and chia seeds as well as a hearty bean soup for added protein. I just make sure to choose a lower sodium option to reduce fluid retention on long air flights.
  • For healthy snacks try dried fruit, nuts and seeds, single package nut butters, or even kale chips. A whole avocado and crackers is also tasty snack. Sometimes I even pack a little cheese for a simple fruit and cheese plate to go with a glass of red wine J
Leaving the states with fresh food is not a problem. However, when returning to the states, for ultimate ease, eat up all your fresh foods in the airplane. If you have not finished your sandwich or your fresh fruit, leave these behind in order to avoid the cute dog that sniffs your backpack at baggage claim.

#3: Plan Ahead.

Some airlines offer a wide variety of meal options. If packing food is not for you, then visit your airline 24 hours prior to your flight. Here you can often choose a special meal based upon your needs. More often than not they offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan meals as well as a wide variety of different ethnic flavors including Indian and Asian. But if possible still pack a little snack or two to help carry you over until you arrive your destination. When hunger strikes we often turn to the easiest and fastest meal option although it may not be the best choice. Also, some airlines such as Iceland Air only offer food for purchase. The options are limited, generally expensive, and usually not the best quality. Be prepared.

I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to stay healthy while traveling! Let me know in the comments below ;)

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