How do you maintain a healthy diet when you are constantly traveling?
This is a question I've been asked many times before. I was asked this question again this morning by a friend who is a truck driver and is needing help to lose weight. I also thought it would be a good time to talk about this considering I will be traveling much more this next year.
Let’s start off by talking about the pitfalls of diet and traveling. One of the major pitfalls is convenience foods whether traveling for vacation or work by car or by plane. The second pitfall is having our internal clocks thrown off because of either having to get up early or go to bed late or simply by the disruption of our normal daily routine.
So how do we combat these two major issues?
Our bodies need food. Food is fuel for our bodies, so starving ourselves is not an option. Better yet, let’s learn how to make better choices. When the only option is to eat fast or convenience foods, look over what's available and choose wisely. There are healthy (or healthier) choices, even at a fast food restaurant. For example McDonald’s now has a number of healthy selections on their menu from salads to grilled chicken wraps. At Subway you can decide what goes on your sandwich, just avoid the extra mayo! What if your only option is to stop at a gas station? The first thing to look for is a bottle of water and then see if they have a pre-made salad or a protein bar. When looking at protein bars, we prefer that the bar has…
If you are looking for a snack, look for a bar with 200 calories or less. If you are looking to replace a meal, look for a bar that has 200 calories or more. If you are a competitive athlete who wants a post-workout recovery protein bar, look for a bar with at least 20 grams of protein.
Here is a list of some of our favorite bars.
Most of the time on the road you will have restaurants you may choose from. Restaurants have even healthier choices than fast food places. But it’s up to you to make those better choices. Want variety? Try a buffet. Now I know what you are thinking...”A buffet. Are you kidding? I'm trying to lose weight!” Once again it’s all about making healthier choices. Make yourself a nice BIG salad with mixed greens, take it easy on the dressings and add toppings like cucumbers, tomatoes eggs and grilled chicken. When you fill up on a big salad, you reduce the changes that you’ll go crazy on the rest of the buffet. Take in some other good proteins like chicken, fish (baked) and steak. Avoid the fried food as well as the starchy veggies like potatoes, corn and peas. And if you have a healthy meal, go ahead treat yourself to a small serving of fruit or soft serve, but remember to watch your portions. This is a treat. And last but certainly not least, remember to drink plenty of water!
This week I had to attend an expo, but I did not want to eat junk for 10 hours since I didn't have a lot of control of what types of food would be available. So what do we do in a situation like this? What I did was take control of what I was going to eat and drink. I made a trip to Walmart and bought items I could easily take with me and keep in my room. Here's what I purchased.
These items were easy to take with me and have as a healthy snack during the day. This list of food cost me less than $12 and made 8 small meals! Think about what it costs for 3 convenience type meals at a fast food place. It doesn't cost a fortune to eat healthy!
Exercise is no different than when you are at home. If you want to do it, you will find the time!
After being up for 12 hours and traveling, I finally got to my hotel in Savannah, GA. There were a number of things I could have done right away like lay down and take a nap before going to a training session. Instead, I went to the gym and had a good workout, which helped me wake up so I could finish stronger and feel better the rest of the night. And when I finally went to bed I slept hard.
Another thing I recommend to keep you on track while traveling, is a fitbit or something similar. These devices help you keep track of your daily activities like how many steps you take, calories burned, heart rate and sleep pattern. Start taking control of what you are doing. Start taking steps to keep yourself accountable and track what you are doing every day.
Even if you find yourself in an airport or in a car for a long time, there are still ways to get your heart rate up and burn some calories. When you are driving, eventually you will need to stop. When you do stop, lock the car and take a walk! Make it a brisk walk and pump your arms as your go. In addition to burning calories, taking a walk will provide you with many benefits like increased energy and the release of endorphins. It will also help your circulation--preventing blood clots and the buildup of lactic acid from sitting so long. You can do the same thing while waiting for your flight in the airport. I took a walk in the airport each time that I was waiting for my flight.
These are just a few tips I have for you to help you stay on track while traveling. We would love to hear what you do to stay on track while you are away from home. Comment below or on our Facebook page!
Have a great evening! Stay focused, stay strong and never give up!