A lifestyle on the road might force some of us to take on less-than-sustainable practices for the sake of convenience, or just based on availability. Many times road trips, business events or family vacations come along with take-out containers, convenient processed foods and mini-sized essentials that are easy to throw away at the end of the trip, rather than return with you in your suitcase. As a competitive athlete, a working professional and a travel junkie, thinking of hacks ahead of time allows me to maintain a healthy and relatively sustainable lifestyle whether I'm home-bound or on the road for weeks at a time. Here are some ways I keep myself accountable, and some tips you can take on the road yourself (or pass on to your favorite travel buddy.) 1.) Meal prepping can prevent a total derail of your nutrition! Many people cook and prepare their meals in advance because they don’t have the time to cook every night during the week. Others prep their meals to portion out each food group if they’re on a special diet or meal plan. Meal prepping is essential to make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet in the busiest moments of your day. It can also help you to control the sources of your food when you’re in an airport, train station, hotel room, or anywhere else where the only meal options may be from a drive-thru or concession stand. Take an hour out of your weekend or least-busy day to cook a giant pan of veggies and protein, or even throw something in the crock pot on a work day. Check out the Prep Hack E-Book series for some great healthy recipe ideas that you can make in advance! Portion out your meals into individual glass containers or mason jars and presto- your meals for the week are prepared, flavorful, and way healthier than take-out. For snacks, make your own granola or trail mix, portion out beef jerky or bring along shelve stable fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples or bananas. The key to a stress-free, sustainable week that won’t impact your waistline is planning in advance. 2.) Stay hydrated, responsibly. Step awayyyy from the plastic water bottles! It’s important to drink water
throughout your day, especially when you’re active and running from place to place. However buying 2, 3 or more bottles of water throughout the day can be taking a toll on your environmental footprint. Investing in a reusable water bottle with a water filter built in is well worth it! The filters only need to be changed every few months and it will pay for itself in the time it would take for you to buy a few of those one-time plastic bottles on the go. You can refill your bottle in any restroom or from any water fountain and the filter makes sure the water is clean, pure and great-tasting. Take it through airport security empty, then fill it up from the nearest water fountain once you’re through. Save money and landfill space with one simple change. 3.) Use your destination as a seasonal opportunity! Look up what is grown seasonally in the region you’re travelling to and use meal time as an opportunity to try some new dishes (while still being sustainability-conscious). Heading to a coast? Take this opportunity to indulge in some new sustainably-sourced seafood! Peaches, leafy greens, citrus fruit, root vegetables and great steak are all raised in different parts of the country. Depending on where you are, use what your destination has to offer to not only introduce you to the history and culture of a new place, but to buy and eat local-grown in the process.
4.) Don’t let yourself go hungry. Let’s face it, busy lives often mean skipping meals, munching on empty carbohydrates and being completely famished by the time meal times come around. By that point, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we tend to overeat or crave sweet or salty snacks that are fried, bagged, or dyed colors not found in nature. How can you fix this? Don’t just meal prep your meals, but also do so for snacks so you’re not tempted by vending machines or last minute cash register grabs. A handful of nuts or dried fruit are a great way to get healthy fats and fiber into your body to make you feel full. Eat breakfast, even if it is a quick Greek yogurt and some whole grain toast, or a protein shake with oatmeal blended in. Make sure each meal contains enough protein to keep you feeling satiated. If you still crave between meals, have gum on hand to keep your mouth busy and stay hydrated! (Many times we think we’re hungry, our body is really signalling us to eat so we can obtain water from foods). 5.) Bring what you can with you. If you have brands of shampoo, toothpaste, or body products that you like and that are made with less chemicals and preservatives, bring them with you in reusable containers. Just because hotels may offer you hygiene products, doesn’t mean you have to use them. Take an extra step to be a little more sustainable with your product usage. Stuff a reusable shopping bag in your carry-on or suitcase pocket. No need to waste shopping bags if they’re just going to get shoved into your suitcase anyway! Plus, in other countries and increasing U.S. locations, retailers actually charge you to put your purchases in a plastic bag. Why not save a little money too? Being away from home doesn’t have to mean a temporary lapse in your goals to live sustainably. Have some other suggestions? Leave them in the comments below! Don’t use business trips, vacations, or your day job as setbacks; use them as opportunities. Learn how to live greener, and experience the world at the same time.