by Coach Rachel
Summertime brings lots of things: warm weather, fresh fruits and veggies, barbecues, swimming, longer days, more sunshine, and for many- travel. While travel is a lot of fun, if you’re anything like me, figuring out what to eat can be a little stressful. When you’re traveling, it can often be tough to stick to your normal eating routine. But just because you’re traveling does not mean that your diet has to suffer. If you’re trying to stick to a somewhat healthy eating habits while traveling here’s a few of my tips and tricks.
The first step to travel is the actual act of getting there. Whether you are flying, driving, or taking the train, it’s always good to plan ahead to figure out what options you’ll have while traveling. A good idea is to bring a refillable water bottle with you; if you’re flying you can fill it after you pass security. Most rest stops or travel stops/shops will have some kind of protein bar option and many places in airports and major train stations will have options like fruits, veggies, salads, and other fresh options. When you can, it’s best to choose things that are processed as little as possible. Protein bars are easy to bring with you and can be a quick snack while traveling. My personal favorite is a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar. Fruits like grapes and watermelon are also some of my favorite travel snacks because they not only taste good, but they have plenty of water as well to keep me hydrated.
With travel often comes eating out, and if you’re anything like me and my family, ice cream. My biggest tip for this is to plan ahead. On days when I know I’ll be eating out, I’ll look up the menu ahead of time and try to decide what I’m going to get. Then I’ll estimate the nutrition facts for the item (or look it up if I can), and plan the rest of my meals and day from there. Most often when you eat out, food is going to be higher in fats because of the oils and butters it’s cooked in. Carbohydrates also tend to be higher because of added sugars. Knowing this, I plan to keep my fats and carbs lower before I eat out, and try to get more protein in.
Many restaurants also have the option to sub things out for healthier options. Sure french fries might taste good, but if you’re looking to stay somewhat on track during your travel, switch the fries for a side salad without dressing (or do olive oil and vinegar) and save the calories for later.
One thing to be aware of when eating out is portions. Did you know that most US restaurants will serve you at least 2-3 times the recommended serving size? When you get your food, ask for a box before you start eating and divide your food up into portions. This way, you avoid overeating and also have another meal.
Having a treat while you travel and allowing yourself to enjoy your time is not a bad thing. It’s all about planning and moderation. Some tips that have helped me still be able to enjoy treats but not overindulge are to allow myself to have treats when I want them, but not obsess about them or have them too frequently. For myself, I find that when I want something like ice cream, but I don’t eat it because I feel like its “bad for me” – which is another discussion for another date (: -, even if I can fit it in my calories for the day, I’ll end up overindulging and obsessing over it because I won’t allow myself to have it. When I allow myself to have a treat in a moderate amount, I find that I don’t obsess over it and it doesn’t negatively affect my goals. When I have a treat (usually a dessert because I’m a sweets person), I will either share with someone else, get a smaller size, or take some to go.
My go to tip to keep in mind when traveling is the 80/20 rule. This rule can be applied to a lot of things, but when applied to nutrition it means that a diet is healthy/ nutrient rich foods 80% of your meals and 20% of your meals maybe aren’t so nutrient dense. Applying this rule while traveling and in life in general, allows for more flexibility around meal choices and nutrition so that eating and meals don’t control your life.
These are a few of my tips and tricks to nutrition and eating while traveling. What are some strategies that you have found to help you stick to your game plan while traveling?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Coach Rachel is a CF-L3 Coach who believes that no matter what your circumstances in life may be, CrossFit can have a profound impact on your overall outlook on life. For more about her, check out her bio.