With all the travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of us just can’t wait to travel near and far once again. For those who take travelling as a hobby, it must have felt like being locked up in a cage. However, travelling goes beyond a hobby to having other important benefits which are not just a one-time thing. From cutting down on stress, to lowering your chances of developing a heart disease, the health benefits of travelling are a lot. Travelling more is likely to have a beneficial impact on your mental well-being, especially if you are usually never out of your comfort zone. Moving around makes your body feel better (physically and psychologically) and sometimes, even helps people get over anxiety and depression. Whatever your reason for travelling, you should bear in mind that your health matters a whole lot; especially in these times when we all have to stay safe because of the pandemic. Additionally, when travelling you may not be able to access the fresh, nutrient-rich, and healthy foods that you can easily get at home. Many people have fears of falling sick or putting on more weight due to consumption of junk food or foods that have high calorie content. Fortunately, there are ways around these challenges; you can make your travel safer by learning some useful health tips that are critical to achieving your performance and health goals.
How can I stay safe from infection when travelling after the pandemic?
There’s no doubt that travelling (especially for a vacation) can have a positive impact on your health and well being; however with the pandemic, travel becomes much more challenging. Hopeful that the cases are gradually declining, you still have to observe relevant and healthy practices that will help keep you safe from infection. Travelling these days may increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19; especially at airports, bus stations or train stations. It s therefore advisable that you follow the following healthy tips:
Clean your hands often: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after touching surfaces frequently touched by others, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before touching your face or eating. If soap and water are not available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.Additionally, you should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice social distancing: when travelling, you are most likely to find yourself in a crowd. Most means of transportation may require spending time in security lines and terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. If possible, keep 6 feet of physical distance from others; wear a mask in public and pick up food at drive-through, curbside restaurant service, or stores.
Follow state and local travel restrictions: you can get up-to-date information and travel guidance by checking the state or local health department where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination. While you are travelling, it is possible a state or local government may put into place travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures. Ensure that you keep checking for updates as you travel.
Eating tips while on a journey
Having in mind that you have to stay safe, it is also important that you consider the foods you are likely to eat and healthy eating habits that will keep you in shape. Making good food choices will go a long way to keep you eating healthy. Yes food is a very big part of any vacation as tasting and sampling local cuisine is one of the many joys of travelling. However in every cuisine all around the world you do find healthy options.
Don’t skip breakfast: Breakfast is often called ‘the most important meal of the day’, and for good reason. As the name suggests, breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period. It replenishes your supply of glucose to boost your energy levels and alertness, while also providing other essential nutrients required for good health. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus. You should always try to have breakfast before you start a day on the road, whether you’re traveling by plane, train, boat, or automobile. Having breakfast makes you crave less for whatever breakfast foods the airport or train station is selling. With a nutritious breakfast, you will be more energized and sated, which will ensure you’re ready to take on the journey.
Take along a reusable water bottle: drinking enough water, or staying hydrated, is the first rule of health and nutrition. Our bodies can supposedly last weeks without food and yet just a few days without water. This makes sense when you think that our bodies are made up of about 60% water and that being dehydrated can begin to affect us both physically and mentally. Taking a water bottle along is a great way to guarantee you’re staying hydrated, without having to constantly buy plastic water bottles. Helping our planet along the way.
Try eating veggies with every meal: vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C. As part of an overall healthy diet, eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. It is advisable that no matter where you’re eating while you travel, at least half of what you eat should be vegetables. It is healthy for you. Also, research restaurants ahead of time whilst planning your trip. This way you can establish beforehand if the restaurant offers healthy options.
How to maintain a Healthy Weight
This period during the COVID–19 pandemic is filled with major uncertainties and how you are going to maintain your health and weight might not be at the forefront of your mind but it is very important. Overeating, stress-eating and untimely meals can be a reason for gaining unhealthy weight during this time which is why it is essential to keep up your healthy habits and routine. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself on course and not gain any extra weight.
Make a plan and stick to it
Many people admit that they give up on their diets before seeing the results they wanted. However, you can be among the percentage of people who stick to their diet and are actually successful at losing weight. Whether on vacation or not, you can naturally learn to stick to a healthy diet comes naturally if you start it properly in the first place and stay attuned to the possible challenges that may ruin your efforts—and know exactly how to overcome them. Furthermore, make sure to have a balanced diet which includes all essential nutrients. Good protein, fats and carbs are crucial to keeping one healthy.
Maintain an eating schedule
Health practitioners recommend that taking your meals and snacks on a regular schedule can help keep your digestive system in perfect shape. Eating at inconsistent times each day can cause your stomach to overwork resulting in bloating and indigestion, but eating on a schedule will allow proper digestion of your food. The key is to eat every 3 to 4 hours in order to allow your stomach to properly digest its contents. Try to have most meals like dinner before 7-8 pm; since eating food at a proper time and hours before you go to bed makes it easier to digest. By setting specific times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and sitting down to eat them at the same time each day, your body knows exactly when it’s time to eat, which will help prevent overeating and improve digestive health. Proper digestion and good gut health are important for healthy weight management.
Drink enough water
Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. You should drink water every day; about 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day may seem reasonable. However, we need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day. Water can be really helpful for weight loss. It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals. The benefits are even greater when you replace sugary beverages with water. It is a very easy way to cut back on sugar and calories.
Reduce intake of refined carbs and added sugars
Refined carbs barely contain any fiber, vitamins and minerals. For this reason, they can be considered as “empty” calories. Since they are also digested quickly, they are said to have a high glycemic index. This means that they lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. Consequently, consumption of foods high on the glycemic index has been linked to overeating and increased risk of many diseases. If you are focusing on losing weight, it is important to be able to distinguish between good carbs and bad carbs. Foods like white bread, cereals, pasta and sugar goods like doughnuts and cakes are not the kind of carbohydrates you need to lose weight. More of whole wheat products and foods with complex carbs are what you should include in your diet.
Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats
Fats are an important part of a healthy diet. However, not all fats have the same effect on our health. Swapping saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help to lower our LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce our risk of heart disease. We can do this by reducing our intake of foods such as fatty meats, high fat dairy products and tropical oils like coconut oil and adding foods such as nuts, oily fish and plant oils such as olive and rapeseed oil.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, healthy fats, fibres, vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds regulate body weight as their fats are not fully absorbed, they regulate food intake, and help burn energy. Nuts and healthy seeds are very essential and should be included in your diet. They contain a lot of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, etc. are extremely beneficial for weight loss.
Eat healthy snacks
When the only option is to eat snacks, go for snacks that do not disrupt your weight loss regime. If you choose healthy, whole-food options with a lot of protein and nutrients, snacks can be integral to weight loss. Some can even help keep you full throughout the day and limit your cravings for unhealthy foods. Snack on dry fruits and healthy seeds and other foods that are not junk. Make something that is delicious but healthy and not just mindless junk food. Eating a meal that is less than satisfying can lead to you snacking on unhealthy items and feeling hungry right after breakfast. To avoid that, your diet should include foods rich in protein and healthy fats.
Try the fasting diet
The Fasting Diet is a low-calorie plan that aims to help followers lose weight – especially fat and reduce their risk of a host of chronic diseases by severely limiting calories two days a week. Men consume just 600 calories on their two weekly fast days, while women are limited to 500 calories. Those calories should be spent wisely on high-protein foods, such as skinless chicken, nuts and legumes, as well as fruits and veggies with low glycemic foods like strawberries and carrots. The basic concept behind is to eat normally for 5 days per week and eat very restricted calories on the other 2 days. During your fast days, you can eat, but not very much. Women get 500 calories per day; men get 600. That’s far less than what’s usually recommended. Depending on age, gender, and how active you are, you could need three or four times as many calories. The fasting diet encourages you to eat lean protein, vegetables, and fruit on fasting days, usually as two small meals plus a few snacks.
Practice Portion Control
Portion control is important when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off. A portion is the amount of food you put on your plate, while a serving is an exact amount of food. As important as what to eat is how much to eat. Try to satisfy your craving with a small portion of what you want. The following quick tips will help you:
- Use Smaller Dinnerware
- Use Your Plate as a Portion Guide
- Use Your Hands as a Serving Guide
- Ask for a Half Portion When Eating Out
- Start All Meals With a Glass of Water
- Take It Slowly
- Don’t Eat Straight From the Container
- Be Aware of Suitable Serving Size
In Conclusion: eating right and being safe.
As discussed earlier, it is important that you eat mostly fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables as much as you can. Seasonal fruits have antioxidants and are also enriched in fibre that aids weight loss. Processed food is not good for you if you want to lose weight; they are mostly filled with fats that are not good for your health. Finally, making good food choices will go a long way to keep you eating healthy. If you are truly hungry and have a craving for something specific, make good choices rather than consuming something processed and unhealthy. Food safety practices are important to minimise the risk of food-borne illnesses, especially in times like this, when safety is the watchword.
When handing or preparing food, make sure to:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap before and after preparing or eating food
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze and remember to wash your hands after
- Wash fruits and vegetables with water before eating them
- Disinfect surfaces and objects before and after use
- Keep raw and cooked foods separate to avoid harmful microbes from raw foods spreading to ready-to-eat foods
- Make sure to cook and reheat foods to adequate temperatures
Hence whether or not you decide to stay home or take a leap of faith and go on that much awaited adventure you can still make healthy food choices. We suggest that you always have your passport ready …. You never know what might come up !