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Eating Well While On The Go
By: Coach Mitchell
When working with a lot of clients, athletes and members in the wellness world, a common “complaint” is the difficulty in staying on track with nutrition while traveling for work, vacation or whatever reason one has for traveling. Believe me, I totally get it and have been there too. It’s hard work trying to make healthy choices, stay on track, and feel good while on the go. But, the good news is, it’s totally attainable.
If you travel for work, here are my top 25 tips for keeping your nutrition a priority.
At home, before you go:
- Eat a healthy meal full of protein, healthy fats, lots of vegetables, and some carbs so you don’t find yourself reaching for junk food in a crisis.
- Pack snacks. Never leave home without them. I love RX and Perfect Food bars, mini packs of nut butter, fresh fruit or veggies in a container, and any high quality protein bars.
- Put some protein powder and a few scoops of powdered peanut butter in a shaker bottle; add water when you’re ready!
- Build a meal – most gas stations carry hard boiled eggs or jerky; add in a banana; a small bag of pistachios or sunflower seeds and a soda water. Bonus points if you can find carrot sticks or other cut veggies!
- Great items to look for: Greek yogurt, mini packs of hummus or guacamole, string cheese, pre-made salads (minus the dressing), protein bars with at least 12g protein and 6g fiber.
- Aim for “better” over “perfect”
- Look up the nutrition information online for the restaurants that are in your terminal. Many chains like Chipotle, Chick Fil A, etc. have the macro breakdowns of their menu items online. Use this to make educated choices!
- Bring food with you. As long as your containers don’t have soupy, gel-like, or other liquid-y type foods, you can get all of that thru security. There’s no shame in being “that” person!
- If you’re in a rush, the grab-n-go sections can still be macro-friendly. Look for turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread; most won’t have mayo or anything on them so you won’t totally derail your fats for the day.
- Order a la carte or snack boxes – these often contain nuts, meat, cheese, and a carb source you can pick through.
- Ask for a soda water with lime if you are craving a soda or want something other than water.
- Pass on the pretzels or cookies (because if you followed point #2, you should have a snack with you in the case of emergency)
- Book a room with a mini-fridge.
- Stock up at the grocery store. It’s easier than ever to find healthy, organic foods at grocery stores. Pick up some deli meat, fresh fruit, veggies like baby carrots, bell pepper slices, grape tomatoes and avocado. Since you asked for a room with a mini fridge, you can store all of this in there!
- If you’ll be in the same place for more than 2-3 days, getting a rotisserie chicken to throw in with your fruits and veggies is a great way to get good quality protein without needing an oven or stove.
- Oatmeal hack: Pour dry oats in the paper coffee cups that come in every room, run the hot water, let it sit for a few minutes and stir. Add in some protein powder, nut butter or fresh fruit for added nutrients.
- Scope the menu out ahead of time and come up with a game plan that works for you.
- Order something that is mostly a lean protein source and get a side salad or whatever vegetables they have.
- Ask for anything over greens. It goes something like, “hey, can you put that sandwich over a bed of spinach instead of on the bun?” They usually oblige.
- Ask for dressing, sauce and aioli on the side. Dressings are often loaded with canola oil and added sugar, so ask for a side of olive oil and vinegar instead. Feel free to have as much mustard, hot sauce, fresh lemon/lime juice as you want. Easy on the mayos and BBQ sauces.
- Once again, order a la carte. I do this at breakfasts all the time. Couple of eggs, side of veggies, side of fruit, side of avocado. That way you’re not tempted with the fried potatoes.
- Ask them for double protein! Meat sweats for everyone!
- Decide if you want to stay on track or if you want to be in “vacay” mode. Either way can work, just be ok with your decision.
- Its ok to be hungry for an hour or two. You aren’t going to starve! Sometimes it’s worth waiting just a little longer to make a better choice. If it’s an emergency, don’t freak out, just get back on track as soon as you can. The worst thing you can do is go off the tracks, stress out about it, stay off the tracks instead of getting back on it, and the rest of the day going downhill.
- You don’t have to be perfect! Make the choice that works best for you with what you’ve got. Choose the better option 80% of the time. That gives you some leeway to enjoy yourself or in case you find yourself in an emergency eating situation.
At a gas station:
At the airport:
On the airplane:
In the hotel:
At the restaurant:
In your head:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the workday is critical for our overall health. We spend too much time at work, doing work, or thinking about work to completely neglect our personal health. Nutrition while working takes some effort, diligence and planning, but you have the power to make it a priority if you choose to.