Tips from a Travel Agent & Holistic Nutritionist Mom

In Part 1 of our series on travelling with kids, I shared tips from my experience as a Travel Agent. Here, I discuss ways to help keep kids healthy and happy from the perspective of a Holistic Nutritionist.

Tips from a Holistic Nutritionist Mom

As a holistic nutritionist, we’re taught that balance is key when it comes to good health for adults and children.  Travelling is not an act of balance. At all. The disruption of sleep, the diet changes, too much time in the sun, too much activity, not enough rest.  This is something to be expected on a vacation – after all, it’s a vacation! But if you just keep a few things in mind during your holidays, the whole idea of travelling with your kids won’t make you cringe.

Feed & Hydrate

Water is essential when travelling.   Airplane rides dehydrate you, and when you get dehydrated, bad things can happen like irritability and fatigue, and this applies to children as well.  The last thing you want is a crabby child on the plane with you! It just makes the journey more arduous than it needs to be. Juice and other sugary drinks is a bad way to start a journey across the “friendly” skies.  Water has actually been shown to improve mood, and is a great start for the whole family.

Anything that you pack in terms of food will likely be confiscated at airport security – buy your meal and snacks after you get through security, and make sure to buy some nut-free packs for the plane ride because if your kids are anything like my kids, any time is snack time!

Schedule

Sure, you’re on vacation, but when there are young kids involved, you still need to keep a schedule.  Try to keep to their nap times and bedtimes as you would at home. This will keep the kids at a good temperament and will be comforting as it’s something that is familiar in an unfamiliar place.

You need to be a parent, not a friend, while on holidays.  You have to be the bad guy so that the kids can have a good time.  Pull them out of the pool, or the sun, when they need to eat or rest.  In all of the excitement, kids don’t become aware of their hunger or fatigue until they crash.  To avoid the big bad crash, you need to be the big bad wolf.

Manage Stress

The first day is pretty much a write off when it comes to nutrition – with the flights (or rail travel) to your destination, and transfers, checking in to accommodation and unpacking, food is the last thing you think about, until you suddenly realize you’re starving.  Managing your stress during this time is essential. Leave things for later, such as unpacking your entire suitcase, until you’ve had a good meal to balance your blood sugar and even nap!

Try Something New

Have fun exploring one new food from that country you’re visiting – there’s nothing that bothers me more as a nutritionist and travel agent than seeing people piling on burgers and eggs in Jamaica, when there’s jerk, saltfish, and festivals!  You eat burgers at home, try something new on your trip.

Don’t Forget the Basics

I highly recommend soups!  If your buffet or restaurant offers clear-broth type soups, everyone should take a small bowl before dinner!  You have your water, vegetables, a good stock, some meat. You can’t go wrong with that. Some good snacks you can include on your trip: raw nuts (just don’t eat on the plane!), yogurt, fruit, cheese and crackers.

Manage Expectations

I hope some of these tips help you with planning your trip and alleviating any fears you have about travelling with your children.  Always remember that no trip ever goes exactly the way you want it to and that kids are very resilient. Once you let go of your expectations – once you see it as an adventure – you may find that you’ll enjoy your vacations much more.

Finally, please, please be kind to your local travel agent! You will not believe some of the stuff that we have to deal with. (Hmmm….maybe I’ll write about that next time!)

Bon Voyage!


References:

Dalia Etzion (2003) Annual vacation: Duration of relief from job stressors and burnout, Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 16:2, 213-226, DOI: 10.1080/10615806.2003.10382974  – Accessed January 7, 2019

de Bloom, J., Geurts, S.A.E. & Kompier, M.A.J. J Happiness Stud (2013) 14: 613. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9345-3 – Accessed January 7, 2019

Benton, David. “Dehydration influences mood and cognition: a plausible hypothesis?” Nutrients vol. 3,5 (2011): 555-73.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257694/  – Accessed January 7, 2019

Sandi Mann & Rebekah Cadman (2014) Does Being Bored Make Us More Creative?, Creativity Research Journal, 26:2, 165-173, DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2014.901073  – Accessed January 7, 2019

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/nurturing-resilience/201206/let-kids-be-bored-occasionally  – Accessed January 7, 2019


Rebecca Ramdeholl is a great wife, a weird Mom to two interesting girls, and a mediocre domestic goddess.  She loves steampunk, science fiction and fantasy, learning how to do things off-grid, and communing with nature.  She’s a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and loves to teach others through writing about how to polish and shine their innards and add extra years and quality to their lives.  She directs most of her focus on guiding women 35+ in properly managing their stress, depression, and anxiety, and kicking life in the balls by getting a little bit stronger.  She works full-time on her blog and is the author of The Little Book of Ass-Kickers: 5 Ways to Get Your Health Back on Track Naturally, which you can download for free by subscribing to her website, Earthy Fix.