Nutritionist advise on how to maintain healthy habits and wellness while traveling

It is important to stick to certain rules while traveling in order to stay productive, motivated and not forget your healthy habits. Sports nutritionist James Collins author of the book “The Energy Plan” talks about this.

The three main risks that await us while traveling are jet lag, sleep impairment, and dietary changes.


Jetlag occurs as a result of the crossing of several time zones in a short time. When we do not have time to adapt this contributes to some unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, bad mood and bowel problems.

It is believed that when traveling to the east, our body needs a day for each time zone, and when traveling to the west, half a day.

One of the most effective methods of dealing with jet lag is flying at the right time. If you are flying west, it is best to arrive at your destination in the middle of the afternoon to catch the daylight. This will make you feel sleepy earlier. Conversely, if you are traveling east, meaning it will be more difficult for you to fall asleep, the ideal arrival time is at nightfall.

Sleep disturbances and feeling tired

Research shows that the quality and quantity of sleep decreases with long flights. In addition, we often experience stress from long journeys, uncomfortable chairs and delays. All this, in combination with jet lag, has an extremely negative effect on the body.

Change in nutrition

When traveling, we most often deviate from our healthy habits such as skipping meals and eating more than usual. We can also neglect healthy food as when travelling its convenient to grab unhealthy fast food.

How to properly prepare for your trip

1. Make sure the food you need is available

You may be vegan or need a gluten-free diet. Then take a small stock of essentials with you or check in advance which stores will stock these foods at your destination. If you are going to stay in a hotel notify them about your dietary restrictions.

2. Food hygiene healthy habits

More than 10 million people experience traveler’s diarrhea every year. To avoid this, follow these simple rules! Take precaution with uncooked meats and seafood and avoid raw unpeeled fruits and vegetables, tap water, ice, and unpasteurized milk.

Also during the trip, use probiotics, which help to strengthen the body’s natural defenses.

3. Essentials that are necessary

  • protein bags & shaker for making a protein shake
  • water
  • alcohol wet wipes
  • sleep mask, loose clothing, earplugs, travel neck pillow
  • supplements to maintain immunity (vitamin C, probiotics)

4. Plan your route

Make a note of where and what you will eat as this will help you avoid spontaneous eating and large gaps in between meals.

On the day of the trip

1. Do a short workout

Before you spend a long time sitting in an airplane’s chair, it is good to stretch and even a quick workout may also help you release excess stress.

2. Advance Planning

Allow sufficient time to travel to the airport as you may come across traffic.

During the flight

1. Local Time

Immediately set your watch to the time zone in which you will arrive at your destination. Try to adjust your sleep times. If it is a night at your destination try to catch a few hours sleep on the plane. If arriving in the day visa versa.

2. Eat airplane food with caution

The general recommendation of James Collins is as follows. On the day of your flight, plan a “day with reduced refueling” (you can read more in the book), and take a protein-rich snack with you on board.

3. Drink plenty of water

The pressure in the cabin and the dry air onboard will cause dehydration, so make sure you have enough water with you.

4. Move and stretch more

Be active before your flight, instead of sitting in a chair while waiting for boarding, walk around the airport. You can take compression socks on the plane to avoid swelling.

At your destination

1. Adjust the light exposure

Light is the main source of “information” for our biological clock. If you are flying east, you should limit your exposure to light. And try to use smartphones and tablets to a minimum a couple of hours before bed.

2. Settle in gradually

It is believed that within 72 hours of a long flight your performance may deteriorate.

3. Drink coffee

Morning coffee in the first five days after arrival has been shown to improve both cognitive and physical performance. Keep this in mind if you dont mind a cup of coffee.

For even more secrets about conserving energy and developing productive habits, read the book by leading sports nutritionist James Collins!

Eat Smart, Feel Strong, Perform at Your Peak

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa

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