4 Tips for Healthier Choices When You're Moving
Moving isn't easy. Sticking to a healthy, well-balanced diet while moving is even harder. Trust me! As a registered dietitian and veteran of several international moves, I know what I'm talking about. My recent move from Japan to England reminded me how easy it can be to fall into unhealthy habits during the moving process. Here are four tips to help you move into a new home without abandoning your healthy habits.
Plan in Advance
Your days are unpredictable while moving. While you can't always plan for schedule changes in advance, you can plan for access to healthful food choices. If you have a longer stay in a hotel, look for one with a kitchenette or, at the very least, a refrigerator and microwave. You may not be able to prepare proper meals this way, but you will have healthier options than fast food, delivery pizza or a hotel restaurant for all of your meals.
Are you staying in a hotel? Look online to find nearby grocery stores. Once you have checked in, head there to pick up essentials: whole-grain bread, low-sodium deli meats, whole-grain breakfast cereals, fruit, prepackaged salad greens, low-fat yogurt, string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nuts and nut butters. I've found these are some quick and easy options that work well in a hotel room or temporary living facility. Frozen foods and some convenience foods may be a good option, too, but be sure to read food labels and check for sodium and saturated fat, both of which can add up fast in prepackaged meals. Remember, it may not be easy to make the healthiest choices when moving, but it can still be possible to make good choices.
On the Move
For long-distance travel by car or plane, come prepared with snacks and meals. Bring items that don't need refrigeration, such as single-serve packages of nuts, dried fruit and nut butters to pair with whole-grain crackers and hummus. If you're moving internationally, make sure the fruit you pack is allowed through border control. For those moving by road, many rest stops have begun meeting consumer demand for healthy options, but not every stop is sure to offer them. Bring a cooler with ice packs in the car and stock it full of your favorite healthy choices. When mealtimes roll around, pull over for a picnic. It'll beat picking the nearest drive-thru when everyone in the car realizes they are hungry.
It's always important, but especially so during a stressful period. It's easy to forget to drink fluids when you are trying to coordinate so much at once, so planning to refill a water bottle often is important. If you are traveling by car, pack a few large water bottles and refill them whenever you stop. For air travel, take an empty reusable water bottle with you through security and fill it once as you walk to your gate. Then, while your plane is in flight, drink water regularly.
During a move, when your kitchen gear and workout clothes are packed away in boxes, diet and exercise habits are bound to change. But you don't have to give up on a healthy lifestyle altogether. With a little planning you can get around unhealthy pitfalls and concentrate on your life's newest chapter.
Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD, is a registered dietitian and military spouse living in England. She is co-author of Train Your Brain to Get Thin, and blogs at NutrFoodTrvl.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter.