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Intuitive Eating While Traveling


Associate RD at Nutrition Instincts San Diego Nutrition Therapy

Whether it’s for fun or business, traveling throws us out of our routine. If you’re in the beginning of your intuitive eating journey, handling the curve balls of travel can seem daunting and uncertain. Remember that there are no mistakes in eating, ever. Bearing that in mind, below are a few tips for stressing less about the food and making the most of your travels.

Understand how to navigate appetite changes due to jet lag

 Jet lag doesn’t start and stop at affecting only sleep. Changes in time zones can throw off all sorts of internal body cues – hunger and appetite, fullness and satiety, cravings, bowel movements, energy levels. Some people may feel the effects of even an hour or two time change. It simply takes time for the body to adjust, but a good way of helping it out is to incorporate the basics with a little structure. Aim for three meals and some snacks per day, or a routine similar to that of the one you follow at home. If you can, try to include the major food groups (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) but don’t stress if that’s out of reach or not serving you in the moment.

Hydratate and eat fiber containing foods to support your digestion

Fiber and water! Long car rides, time zone changes, and altitude can wreak havoc on the digestive system. If fruits, veggies and other sources of fiber (like whole grains) are limited or you’re especially sensitive to travel constipation, consider bringing supplements with you to start your day. Probiotics, magnesium sulfate, and soluble fiber all help to regulate the digestive tract. Find something that works for you, test it beforehand, and always consult your primary care provider before trying something new. Ensure you’re getting enough water by packing a bottle (fill it after passing through security if you’re flying). There are some great insulated ones that’ll keep your water ice cold making it more enjoyable to drink.

Enjoy exploring new places and cultures through food!

Eat what you want, and enjoy it! If you’re surrounded by new and exciting food opportunities, and you don’t want to miss out, then don’t. It’s very normal to override some of those internal cues (i.e. fullness) when you’re given the chance to try something that won’t be there tomorrow. And if those opportunities become numerous and overwhelming, simply ask yourself what you really want. There is no wrong answer here. You don’t have to try it all just because it’s there. If you’re feeling pressured by others, remember that your body deserves your respect first and foremost and that there are always polite ways to decline an offering. And lastly, slow down and savor it. It’s not just the food that you’re experiencing, but the environment, culture, and people who surround you as well. Intuitive Eating is not simply “eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.” Satisfaction is the hub of intuitive eating – by honoring your hunger, feeling your fullness, allowing yourself permission to eat all foods, respecting your body, and incorporating the other principles into your eating you create an experience that leaves you nourished physically and emotionally. This doesn’t have to be different when you’re traveling.

A special note on traveling with food allergies and intolerances

It’s certainly normal to have some anxiety surrounding what may be available to you if you have allergies or intolerances. Work with your dietitian to create a plan that allows you to still be present and enjoy your travels. If the fear of eating experiences are holding you back from travel or living a peaceful life, consider scheduling a discovery call with us here.

We’d love to hear where you’ve traveled lately and what it was like to experience it as an intuitive eater! Comment below to share!

Photo of Maddie White, RD, dietitian at Nutrition Instincts San Diego Nutrition Therapy
Maddie White, RD, dietitian at Nutrition Instincts San Diego Nutrition Therapy

Photo of Maddie White, RD, dietitian at Nutrition Instincts San Diego Nutrition TherapyMaddie White, an eating disorder and diabetes care provider at Nutrition Instincts is passionate about helping others restore their relationships with food, body, and mind. Maddie also works as a clinical dietitian in a local San Diego Acute Care Hospital and previously managed youth programing at the American Diabetes Association for San Diegans living with type 1 diabetes. Maddie believes intuitive eating holds a space for everyone and every body. By taking an individual approach with each client, Maddie walks alongside her clients as they learn the best way to navigate your journey to food and body freedom.   Interested in working with Maddie? Schedule a clarity call today!

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