Let’s be honest – travel is awesome!
Between September and October, I will have gotten to see Laguna Beach, Vegas, Laguna again, Tahoe, Chicago, San Diego, and Vegas again.
Not too shabby, huh?
But let’s keep it real – eating while on the road can be difficult – especially when you have specific goals that revolve around body composition.
While I am not currently “dieting” for anything, I do like to look and feel my best at all times – so making the most of my food choices is ESSENTIAL.
So do I precook and pack all of my food in a cooler?
Do I bring a chef with me everywhere?
Do I only eat packaged, processed, foods where I can count the macros on the labels?
Do I bring my food scale to restaurants?
Do I just say “fuck it,” I’m on vacation and eat whatever I want?
No, No, No, No and NO!
These questions, and the confusion that surrounds eating while traveling is exactly what is wrong with the dietary world as we know it today.
The fact that you would need to “stress” when traveling is ridiculous….heck, traveling in and of itself is enough of a stressor on the body….it’s exhausting! Why should we pile on to that?!?!
My goal with this article is to simplify things, and give you three specific, stress free strategies that you can move yourself forward with while still achieving any physical goal you may have!
1. FOOD TIMING/PAIRINGS
Take a step back and look at your daily food intake from a 30,000 foot view….
There are a few things you will be able to identify:
– you likely eat around the same times every day
– you probably eat a lot of the same things every day
– you eat similar FOOD PAIRINGS at each meal, each day
While these may seem very simple, they can provide a very solid foundation of how you can eat while traveling.
First – why alter when you eat while traveling? Within about 30-60 minutes, you will likely be able to eat at the same times each day.
And if it’s working at home, it will likely work on the road….right? OF COURSE!
Second – you likely pair similar foods at home daily.
Example – eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, beef and rice for lunch, chicken and potato and avocado for dinner – this equates to protein + carb, protein + carb, and protein + carb + fat.
Well, when you are forced to eat out with no food scale and no control of what’s on the menu – why not find similar pairings?
You can order eggs almost anywhere in the morning, and you could have 2 slices of toast or ½ a bagel – that would be protein + carb.
Repeat the same for lunch and dinner.
Now will this be EXACTLY on your macros/calories for the day? Of course not. But will it be close enough to not really make a difference? Absolutely! Remember that when you are traveling, the real goal is to minimize the margin of error….not create perfection!
2. NUTRIENT TIMING
Timing your specific nutrient intake can be another very simple and powerful strategy that can yield success when traveling.
If you have followed my blogs for any time now, you know that I highly recommend the majority of your carb intake be placed pre and post workout – especially if the goal is fat loss. These are the times that you are most insulin sensitive – or the times that you will use these carbs best.
If you will be training while traveling, keeping your carb intake to pre and post workout can really help minimize the damage caused by a potential caloric surplus.
But what happens if you don’t train?
Well – nutrient timing can help there too!
There is a significant amount of compelling research that shows consuming the majority of your daily carb intake in the evening can actually help promote fat loss.
So if you are traveling, and have no access to any sort of counting method – why not simply backload your carbs?
Chances are you will have some dinners to go to – either dates or company functions…and you don’t want to be “that guy/gal” ordering steak/veggies.
But if you have consumed only proteins and fats and/or proteins and veggies throughout the day, you should have more than enough room in your calories/macros for the day to allow for virtually anything that is served (even BUTTER CAKE!)
NOTE – this is my favorite strategy, as it also typically serves as a nice insulin sensitivity reset for a lot of people.
3. REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE
Let me be very clear – no one has ever gotten fat in a week.
Yes, you can gain some body fat in a week, but you will not “get fat.”
With that said, this is not a reason to completely blow off your diet and training, nor is it a reason to obsess about everything that you are consuming.
If you follow the strategies outlined in numbers 1 and 2, you should be just fine – but mentally you need to prepare yourself for some fluctuation.
You will not feel 100% when traveling, jet lag is real, and a change in the types of foods you are consuming may not always make you feel great.
It’s 100% ok to enjoy a cheat meal (or two or three) when you are on vacation – remember that life is about balance, and no one should feel overly restricted
You will not always hit your macros/calories 100% when you travel – AND YOU SHOULDN’T BE TRYING TO.
Life is far more than simply how you look – keep that in mind while you enjoy a drink or two on the beach 🙂
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The stress of travel is real. Physically it is demanding, and mentally it can be exhausting. But adding to that stress with the thought of what you are eating is not something you need to be adding to your life.
Don’t deviate too much from “normal.”
Time your food.
Accept that you won’t be perfect.
And ENJOY YOURSELF!
OK, back to packing for me – see you guys soon!