Guest post by Stephanie Carter, MS, RDN
Spring is upon us with it comes an increase in traveling for work and for pleasure – Coachella anyone? Ever wonder why you feel bloating while traveling? Well, long distance travel can throw off your body’s normal routines and leave room for the dreaded bloating we’ve all experienced at some point. With a little extra planning, you can maintain healthy eating practices while traveling to stay on top of your health and wellness and banish the bloat!
Three Bloated Reasons to Maintain Healthy Eating While Traveling
Here are three potential reasons why you may be experiencing gastrointestinal distress with solution on how to banish the bloat.
#1 - Airplane Bloat
The dry environment combined with low air pressure experienced during air travel can easily lead to pressure in your stomach or digestive system. Digestive bloat is caused by increases in gasses in the digestive tract, while bloat caused by water retention is a consequence of the body’s inability to properly circulate the blood and eliminate water. Both types of bloating a triggered by air travel.
Banish the Bloat Tips:
- Stay bloat-free during air travel. Up your pre-flight game by taking probiotics and digestive enzymes to aid digestion while avoiding foods that typically cause you GI discomfort (i.e. dairy or gluten).
- Pack healthy snacks for the flight. Non-perishable items such as Mylk Labs oatmeal, granola, nuts, dried fruits and popcorn along with fresh counter stable fruits and vegetables, such as apples, oranges, tomatoes, and avocados are great for in-flight snacking and don’t take up too much room in your suitcase.
- During the flight, try to limit or avoid entirely fizzy, alcoholic, or caffeinated drinks which can exacerbate bloating in-flight.
- Think about your drink, and skip the alcohol in-flight. When traveling we tend to operate dehydrated as we forget to hydrate throughout the day. Additionally, dehydration can cause sensations that mimic hunger, which can lead to overeating when in reality what might be needed in more water. To stay on track, drink 25-30 ml of fluid per kg of body weight (divide weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kg).
#2 - Eating Oversized Portions
While you are in a new setting and enjoying all of the local cuisines, you can actually overdo it on alcohol and foods rich in carbohydrates, fat and refined sugar - foods your GI system is might not be accustomed to digesting. In fact, you may stumble across food allergies and intolerances which can trigger bloating - and who wants that on your much-needed getaway!
Banish the Bloat Tip:
- When dining out, don’t feel the need to complete the meal in totality. Most restaurant meals have double, sometimes triple the number of servings you need. Eat as you typically would at home.
- Begin by ordering based on building a healthy plate. Choose clean protein, complex carbohydrate, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats to build your meal. Don’t be afraid to ask your server for modifications. To avoid restaurants that don’t cater to modifications, call ahead or view restaurant menus online before arriving.
- While eating, listen to your hunger and fullness cues – stop when you are full! It’s okay to have leftovers. Ask your server to pack up whatever you didn’t finish and take the rest back to the hotel to store in your mini-fridge.
#3 - Lack of Physical Activity
Being on vacation from healthy eating is often paired with taking a break from physical activity. Sitting for extended periods of time during long flights paired with skipping workouts while on location may exacerbate GI distress. Overconsumption of calorically dense foods and drinks combined with lack of exercise might cause a substantial mid-section expansion.
Banish the Bloat Tip:
- Bringing workout clothes with you on the trip will increase the chances that you will take the time out to work out. See if your hotel has a laundry service. If it does, you can get your workout gear laundered after each workout so you essentially will only have to pack one or two sets of work out attire.
- As you are planning ahead for your meals, you can also plan ahead for your workouts. Ask the concierge at your hotel for a list of local gyms and boutique fitness studios. Call ahead and find out if they offer drop-in rates or day passes. Sometimes you can even work out a free pass since you are an out of towner.
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