I’ll be the first to admit… Traveling while trying to stick to a nutrition plan is difficult, daunting and downright scary for some. We have good intentions of staying on track “as best we can”, but it never fails – our lack of preparation, knowledge and sometimes even commitment leave us returning home and saying, “I could’ve done better than that.”
Raise your hand if you enjoy packing a large cooler full of food, eating out of tupperware while your friends are ordering burgers and dousing your lap with protein powder as you attempt to dump a scoop into a Dasani water bottle? Yeah, me either.
But sometimes, it calls for it. Perhaps you’re preparing for a show, contest or other athletic endeavor. Maybe you have dietary restrictions or food allergies that require you to be in a little more control of what you eat. Or maybe you just want to get it right this time… Go out on the road, stick to 85% compliance and enjoy a pizza or a sundae with your friends one night.
Whatever the case may be, here are some tips to get you through.
#1. TRAVEL-FRIENDLY FOODS
While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to run out of options or get bored. Which then causes us to give up on staying on track. Most of these could have no problem getting the airport security as well.
Single serving, pre-packaged protein powders
Single serving nut butters (like Justin’s Almond Butter)
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc, (Single serving bought in the store, or pre-packaged into your own snack bags)
Single serving oatmeal cups
Veggies (baby carrots, peppers, celery)
Protein bars (find a quality one that isn’t loaded with sugar, sugar alcohols or other junk)
Crystal Light, Mio water flavoring, etc.
There are many other options as well, but these are my favorite go-to things. For myself and most of my clients, I don’t do protein bars on a regular basis, but they can be extremely helpful when traveling.
#2. FOOD SAVER
My food saver collected some dust there for awhile until this past weekend when I traveled a few hours to a wedding. I decided to cook my chicken, pre-package it into the serving sizes I need and freeze it. Then just as I was leaving the house, I tossed all my frozen (and fresh) foods into the cooler and hit the road. In the past, I packed a HUGE tub of chicken and brought my food scale with. I must say, I like the food saver option better. Everything is set and ready to go and small enough to bring with wherever I need.
#3. PEA POD
Pea Pod is a delivery service that will deliver your groceries directly to your door. While it might not be the most economical option, it does allow you to have full control over your food and dietary restrictions. This might also be a great option if you are staying somewhere for a week or longer, or if you don’t have a car or transportation to get to a grocery store.
#4. 85% COMPLIANCE
If you’re gone for 3 days, and you eat 5 times a day, that’s a total of 15 meals. 85% compliance is 13 meals. That leaves you 2 meals to be flexible with. Breakfast is usually pretty easy to be on target with. Lunch is a little easier too. Most people get stuck with dinner and dessert. So keep that in mind that there is some flexibility built in. Here’s an example of what one might eat on the road or at the airport:
Meal 1: A couple eggs or omelet (bonus points for veggies), berries and a cup of coffee.
Meal 2: Protein shake and a package of Justin’s nut butter
Meal 3: Salad with chicken, or places where you can choose toppings and how much (Chipotle, Hot Heads, etc).
Meal 4: Almonds and a couple rice cakes (or a protein bar)
Meal 5: Flexible meal with friends (Burger and fry with small sundae)
Traveling and minimizing damage to your food plan can be done. It’s not always the easiest (or the funnest), but with a little pre-planning, you can return home feeling good… and not so bloated.
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