May. 10. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

 I partnered with Align to bring you this post. All of my opinions are my own and I only share brands and products that I genuinely use or feel good recommending to you and clients.

This spring has flown by and summer is literally around the corner! I know so many of you take summer vacations, travel, and chill out, which is amazing. I’m actually taking a trip to Hawaii this June and I’ve never been so I’m thrilled to explore the food scene, soak up much-needed sunshine and vitamin D, and swim swim swim! When I was thinking about summer trips and having a conversation with one of my clients about healthy travels, I thought about sharing more tips on how to stay on track from digestion, to foods, to self-care as a whole. So here are some digestion tips you need to know while traveling so your system doesn’t get out of whack and make you feel crummy before you even reach your destination!



This may sound self-explanatory, but planning ahead is crucial for healthy travels. Locate the nearest restaurants, farmers markets, food shops, farms, etc. before you even leave home for your travels. I promise it’ll help you stay on track just knowing you have resources for whole foods to keep in your room, hotel, or cooler if you’re on the road. Stock up on simple things like greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds all loaded with fiber, healthy fats, and protein. I’ll always take some protein powder packs, nuts, seeds, nut butters in those little packets, coconut oil, and energy balls with me on the road because they don’t require the refrigerator. If planning ahead is difficult due to spontaneous traveling (i.e. traveling to another location while traveling), then simply make the best out of each situation and location by asking the locals where they shop for fresh produce and food. Don’t be shy with asking the locals where the nearest farmers markets are or where you can grab some healthy foods at a restaurant. The name of the game is asking yourself “what’s my best option right now?”, so do that!


Before I even travel, I really try to set up my body and mind for success. For me that looks like packing in as many nutrient dense foods as possible from green smoothies, protein shakes, nut butters, green powders, fermented foods, and probiotics to make sure my system is top notch. I’m prone to having sensitive digestion so I know traveling can throw my routine off in the slightest bit if I don’t take extra care with these tips I’m sharing today. Also, when traveling, changes in your normal diet or routine can disrupt the natural balance of good bacteria in your gut which is why some folks get “travelers diarrhea or constipation”. It’s a real thing! Remember, probiotics are the good guys in your inner ecosystem of bacteria and are essential for many vital body functions, including a healthy digestive tract (1). I’ll always take extra digestive love with me when I’m traveling in the form of magnesium, flax seeds, and probiotics. My fave probiotics for travel are the ones from Align because they don’t require refrigeration and contain B. infantis 35624 – which is a unique patented strain of beneficial bacteria that helps promote and support a healthy digestive system (2).* Be ahead of the game and prepare your body for the physical stress of travel, changes in sleep or routine, and different water or foods. By the way, you can find coupons to try out Align here


For most of us on while we’re on vacation or traveling, we’re either walking around exploring a new city or learning the city through biking, swimming, etc. But on travel days, in particular, we need to move! Moving our body, exercising, and getting our circulation moving is key for keeping our digestion healthy, stimulated, and moving along. If I have a long flight, or even just a couple hour flight, the first thing I do when I get off a plane and outside is jumping jacks or walking lunges. I honestly don’t care if I look like a fool haha, I want to get my circulation moving, digestion awake, and energy up! Or you can take these easy full body workouts with you and do them when you get to your hotel or wherever you’re staying.


There are a couple secret weapons I bring with me while traveling besides probiotics and whole foods and those are optimizers! Peppermint tea, ginger, fennel seed, and my Digestive Seed Mix are helpful spices that can really help soothe any tummy troubles you’re having and help your digestion move along. Beyond that, before you travel stock up on whole foods like nuts/seeds, trail mix, granola, plant based protein powders, coconut water, nut butters, beans, quinoa/grains, fruit at various ripening stages. My favorite travel snacks are trail mix, avocados, fruit, coconut water, nuts/seeds, dark chocolate, dried fruit, brown rice cakes, dry rolled oats, granola, and almond butters. I also find it helpful to ask these questions before leaving the house:

  • What types of foods are located in the area that you’re traveling to?
  • Is this a unique culture from your own? Will they have foods you will be able to consume if you’re following a special diet?
  • What appliances are available to me while staying in my quarters/hotel/room/hostel/tent/etc.?
  • What are my transportation options to have access to food?


After you’ve put in all the work to prepare and set up your “kitchen” on the go with access to whole foods, your optimizers, etc., now you need to just sit back and relax! Stress, overwhelm, and anxiety are all culprits that throw off our digestion as well. Be sure to take a couple minutes while traveling to take several rounds of deep breaths, because I know it can be stressful. This not only will keep you relaxed, but also our guts directly respond to our minds. A sound mind = sound digestion. Also, deep breathing before meals will help your body trigger the part of your nervous system responsible for “rest and digest” which means better digestion, better absorption of nutrients, and feeling better so you can really enjoy and soak up the time you’re traveling.

What about you?

What are your favorite tips for keeping digestion on track while traveling? Do you have any secret items you bring with you to help combat the stress of travel? I’d love to hear em’!

Safe travels!

xx McKel




I’m a sponsored Align Influencer, but all opinions are my own. Align partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Align believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Align’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Photos by Kelsey Cherry