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Survival kit for healthy traveling

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Lifestyle-friendly travel tips

Taking vacations is a great way to make memories with the ones you love, whether it's a romantic getaway or a family romp. But vacation doesn't need to mean the end of your healthy lifestyle. We got tips on healthy traveling from fitness trainer and model Keri Lynn Ford.
Woman exercising outside hotel

A lot of people think that a vacation from our everyday life means an automatic vacation from our diet and fitness routines, whether we like it or not. But it doesn't have to be that way. Check out these healthy eating and fitness tips in this "survival kit" from Keri Lynn Ford, fitness model and trainer to the stars.

Travel coolerTravel cooler

Ford suggests investing in a medium-sized soft-shell cooler. One with multiple compartments makes it easy to organize, especially if you have special dietary needs. Ford recommends one from 6 Pack Fitness. Just check the airline requirements for carry-ons to make sure your cooler fits the bill.

Water weightsWater weights

Water weights, like these from AquaBells, weigh very little and can be used for weight-lifting or resistance training, depending on what kind you get. Just fill them up with water to work out and empty them before you leave.

Healthy snacks

When you're traveling, you'll be in a lot of places where healthy snacks can be hard to find. When it comes to healthy snacks, Ford says "there are three things you want to keep in mind: easy, whole and solid." Bring individual packets of nut butter (larger jars won't get through airport security) to eat with pre-cut veggies, sliced fruits or whole-wheat bread.Funky Monkey Snacks

This is especially important when traveling with kids. One of Ford's favorites for herself and for kiddos is almond butter with sliced apples, celery stalks or brown rice cakes because the extra fat keeps you full longer. She also loves Funky Monkey snacks, a freeze-dried fruit. Not only are they delicious, but you can use them to make homemade trail mix or mix them into a cup of plain oatmeal (you can get hot water almost anywhere!).

Other suggestions from Ford include baby carrots and hummus, whole-wheat crackers with natural, low-sugar beef jerky, and low-fat string cheese or a serving of Greek yogurt (one that doesn't contain any genetically modified cornstarch). She stresses that you should look for food combinations that provide some sort of carb (like fruit or rice cakes) and a plant- or animal-based protein (nuts, yogurt, etc.) to help stabilize blood sugar.

The extras

Ford recommends using zip-close baggies so you don't have to throw away expensive plastic containers. Anything you plan to eat much later can be frozen and the bags will help keep unfrozen foods cool.

You'll also want to layer paper towels along the bottom and between the items to prevent leaks and ensure that condensation from frozen foods doesn't leak onto something else. If you can't find individual packets of things like nut butter or hummus, you can purchase small plastic ramekins with lids.

Bonus tips for healthy traveling

In addition to our healthy traveling kit, Ford gave us the following advice for healthy traveling:

  • Call the hotel in advance to make sure there is a refrigerator you can use in the room or in a common area. If none of those options are available, consider a hotel that has one.
  • Look for local activities that allow you to get some exercise or hotels that have gyms or pools.
  • If your hotel doesn't have workout options available, call a nearby gym facility. Many have free or low-cost trial weeks, and most will allow you to simply pay for the few days you need.
  • When it comes to restaurants, look for healthy options. Grilled (not fried), wheat (not white) — everything you do at home.
  • Ford says that part of the fun of traveling is experiencing local flavor (and besides, you can't control every situation). "Let go of the guilt. Breaking the diet-and-deprivation mentality is about achieving balance through moderation and by realizing that this is a lifestyle choice," she says. Fried pickles today doesn't mean you failed. It just means a healthy salad with lean protein tomorrow.

 Keri Lynn FordAbout Keri Lynn Ford

Keri Lynn Ford is an ACE certified trainer, Mad Dogg certified spin instructor, certified lifestyle and weight management coach, and the creator of Ignite Girls Fitness, an online training and nutrition program. Ford was a University of Delaware cheerleader and has trained celebrities such as Alison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser, Jamie Kennedy and Jennifer Love Hewitt. She has also graced the cover of FitnessX Magazine, and the pages of Physique and Fit & Firm. To read more about Ford, visit kerilynnford.com.

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