A Top Chef’s Tips for Keeping It Healthy While Traveling

People often think of chefs as tied to their kitchens. Thanks to the elevated status of chefs these days, many of us spend more time traveling for TV show and cookbook appearances than we spend in the kitchen. Anyone who has traveled for work or pleasure knows how difficult it can be to stick to a healthy routine when you’re constantly on the go. But when your cookbook is called Sweet & Skinny, shirking your exercise routine and grabbing a slice of pizza whenever hunger strikes, is not an option! Luckily, I’ve developed some simple traveling tricks to keep my healthy routine running, even when I’m traveling the globe. These simple solutions will help you stick to your workout, and make healthy choices, no matter where you are.

1. Plan ahead

Whether you’re heading out for work or pleasure, utilize the internet to research dining and fitness options close to your hotel. Check to see if the hotel has a gym on the premises or nearby. Search for healthy food options near your hotel. Getting this information ahead of time will help familiarize you with the area. So when your boss calls for a lunch break, or your 5 year old announces “I’m hungry,” you won’t lose valuable time trying to come up with a last minute solution that doesn’t involve fast-food.

2. Pack healthy snacks

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Making sure you get in three meals a day can be difficult when you’re traveling. But eating well will help to keep your energy levels, and your immune system, up and running. Plus, skipping meals is also one of the easiest ways to start making poor food choices, like grabbing that $8 slice of airport pizza. To help make sure you don’t come up empty-handed when hunger strikes, always carry a few simple snacks. My favorite grab-and-go snacks include kale chips (trust me, they taste better than they sound), sesame flavored seaweed snacks, gourmet jerky, and granola bars. These simple snacks easily fit into a purse or carry-on bag, and are perfect for traveling. Get our Baked Kale Chips recipe.

 

3. Drink green tea

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Green tea causes the body to secrete more interferon, a key element in your body's infection protection arsenal. This is vital when you’re traveling on planes, or when you’re simply feeling run down. Try to drink 20 ounces of green tea per day, when traveling. This is also a perfect way to help ensure that you stay hydrated. To avoid running around the airport last minute, searching for tea, simply bring a few tea bags with you, and ask for hot water on the plane.

4. Don’t skip your workout

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Traveling is not an excuse to skip your workout. Only 20 minutes of cardiovascular activity can burn off as many as 200 calories. It will work wonders for your heart and your mind. If you can't get to the gym, or the hotel doesn’t have one, no problem. Hit the pavement! Whether you want to do squats and lunges, or go for a jog, there are plenty of outdoor exercises that can be enjoyed anywhere. My exercise of choice is swimming, but when I'm traveling and pressed for time, a jog (or even a brisk walk) around the city can be a great way to get in a workout and take in the sites.

5. Channel your inner clean freak

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Traveling can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it can also expose you to all sorts of germs. Sometimes you can do everything right to keep yourself healthy, but unless you also take care of your environment, your travel plans could be ruined if you get sick. Just think of how many times the touch screen video monitor in planes is handled by numerous passengers.  It’s a virtual petri dish. Try wiping down in-flight entertainment screens with antibacterial wipes before using them. Bring your own neck pillow. Airline pillows are often not changed between flights. You don’t want to end up sharing a pillow with the coughing, aching, and sneezing passenger that was on the flight before yours. Lastly, like we learned in school, always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water to help ward off germs.

Header image: Traveling Woman from Return of Kings

Marisa Churchill is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, as well as a certified nutritionist. She has worked in many notable San Francisco restaurants. She is the host of My Sweet & Skinny Life, and author of the Sweet & Skinny cookbooks. She was a competitor on season 2 of Top Chef. Her work has also been featured on the Food Network, The Talk on CBS, Oprah.com, Food & Wine, and more!

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