When you think about eating while traveling, there is a good chance you feel anxious … worried… confused… and maybe even a little defeated due to the fear of “ruining your diet.” Well, I’m not sure if this is good news or bad news… but it’s the truth, you’re not alone. Most people have experienced anxiety and stress when figuring out how to stick to their nutrition plan while traveling.
But don’t worry, just like in your normal life, you are in control of what you put into your body so the fact you are traveling does not mean you are automatically going to eat like crap. That only happens if you are unprepared, uneducated on good options, or choose to do so. My goal with this blog is to give you five tips to help you overcome the first two reasons.
What I mean by this is make sure you are stopping at places with good food options. If you just stop at a random hole in the wall gas stations/convenient stores, there is a good chance they won’t have the quality options you want. Try to find healthier restaurants, stores, or even grocery stores to pop into for a quick bite or snack refill.
A place where many people go wrong is that they don’t stick to a plan they are used to, and therefore their hunger cues can be thrown off. If you are someone who normally eats smaller meals during the day, do your best to maintain that. You are less likely to feel hungry, sluggish or hangry. Ultimately adding to the enjoyment of the trip for you (and those around you ).
Plus, this makes it easier to stick to your normal portions and not overeat when you get to where you are headed. I think we’ve all experienced what happens when we come home after a long day and we haven’t eaten much… our eyes get bigger than our stomach and we eat everything in sight. This leads to overeating.
This is where most people go wrong. Yes, it can be more challenging to find good complete protein sources while traveling, but that is where planning ahead comes into play. Making sure to eat adequate amounts of protein will help you feel full and satisfied while also helping to keep your body in the anabolic state. Which is where it is primarily burning fat and carbohydrates for fuel and preserving muscle. This is beneficial for both muscle growth and fat loss!
You can find carbs and fats anywhere … high-quality protein is a bit more difficult to get while traveling… or at least that is cost effective. Have you seen the price of beef jerky these days?! That’s why one of my traveling staples is taking a few scoops of Level-1 with me (or the whole container if I am gone a while) and Level-1 Bars. Both are quick and easy ways to get protein in, and since they are lower in calories can be paired with an apple, almonds, or another snack!
Really, I just wanted to write out Snack Attack haha But seriously, making sure to plan ahead and have healthy snacks with you will make it easier to make healthy choices. You might be thinking, “duh.” BUT, I think this point compliments the one above and that is because you don’t want to skip meals.
Skipping meals can lead to you overeating later, a slower metabolism, and if you are not used to going longer periods of time without eating … you might even get hangry! Which isn’t good for you or the people you are traveling with!
I get it… you are traveling and don’t want to stop every 22 minutes to use the restroom. I will say this though, when you are dehydrated your hunger and cravings will go up. So by staying moderately hydrated, you are helping to eliminate cravings and make it easier to stick to the plan. Plus you will avoid being as fatigued from travel and have higher energy levels when you reach your destination.
Those five tips have helped me get through trips all over the USA and Europe and still eat healthily. Remember, you are in control and with a little planning and the five tips above, you can easily travel and not “ruin your diet.” Now if you are worried about how to not overeat once you’re at your destination or strategies on how to enjoy the traditional holiday foods, I can help you with that too.
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
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