With spring break coming up, I know many of you will be traveling, and even if not, I’m sure there will eventually be a trip when this post might come in handy. Whether or not you’re a traveler, hopefully these tips will be helpful to you regardless!
Many of us use traveling as an excuse to neglect our healthy lifestyle and go hog wild, and while I’m not at all saying you shouldn’t indulge and enjoy yourself on vacation, there are ways to be mindful in between those hog wild moments so that you don’t feel an ounce of guilt when you do get the chance to eat and drink whatever the heck your heart desires!
When I’m on vacation, I’m typically not tracking macros because a) I track macros every single day, a couple weeks of untracked eating is not going to kill me, and b) vacation usually means eating out an awful lot, which makes tracking pretty difficult, and c) a vacation is called vacation for a reason, it should be treated as one! However, I do try to be somewhat mindful just so I can keep myself somewhat in check in between the “vacation meals” each day. There are a couple of ways I do this:
- Pack snacks! When I’m traveling, I obviously can’t bring egg whites, ground turkey, and roasted brussel sprouts with me, and even if I could, I’m not a crazy person who would do that. However, there are some staple items I always have on hand to help me get by in between meals. A few things I like to pack for snacks:
- Nuts are full of healthy fats to help hold you over from one meal to the next. When I’m traveling, I take full advantage of the pre portioned bags of almonds so that I don’t have to rely on my own, sometimes non existent, portion control.
- Protein bars
- I always always always have protein bars on hand when I’m traveling. They’re the perfect option when you’re needing something sweet in between meals. Because they’re full of protein, they’re going to keep you full longer than most snacks will. A couple of my favorites: Perfect Bar, RX Bar, Redd Bar, Breakout Bar, and Quest Bar.
- Protein powder
- I bring protein powder with me for a couple of reasons. If you’re able to squeeze in a workout wherever you are, it’s important to refuel your recovering muscles with protein, so as long as you have protein and water, you can make it happen. I’ve also learned that protein is the one thing that’s hard to make sure you’re getting enough of on vacation, so if I have protein powder on hand, I can add it to hotel oatmeal, or make a quick shake wherever I am if I know I’m not getting very much protein. I buy protein in bulk tubs, so I just individually portion out my scoops into snack size ziplock bags. But if you’re looking for something more convenient, click these links – Quest Protein, Vital Proteins, Pescience Protein.
- String cheese
- String cheese is one of my favorite snacks whether traveling or not. I eat one for part of my morning snack every single day. I buy Sargento Light String Cheese and these are great because they’re small, yet packed with protein (6 grams) and little to no fat if you buy the light version! These don’t travel well unless you have a fridge, so keep that in mind!
- Overnight Oats
- Making sure you start you’re day off on a decently healthy note is something I find extremely challenging when traveling. One way to help keep me on track with this are Oats Overnight. I’ve posted about them before and I love eating them at home, but these are so perfect for traveling. The packets are small and compact, and all you need in addition to the packet is milk! They contain 34 grams of protein, so this is a great way to go!
- Turkey Jerky
- This is another staple food of mine that I eat whether I’m traveling, or at home. I love salty snacks and this snack is a tasty and super macro friendly option! I buy Jack Links Turkey Jerky, but it comes in a few other brands depending on grocery stores near you. You can also buy it in bulk at Sams club!
- Keep yourself hydrated all day long!
- The daily recommended intake for water is 64 ounces, however when I’m traveling, I try to shoot for a cup (8oz) an hour. I will admit that I am horrible at taking my own advice when it comes to this tip, but when I do, I have so much more energy, and I just feel better all around.
- Drinking water is important regardless of where you’re traveling or what you’re doing, but it’s even more important if you’re going somewhere warm, or if you’re consuming a lot of alcohol.
- If you’re drinking, my rule of thumb is to have a cup of water for every alcoholic drink. My mom taught me this years ago, and not only does it help keep you hydrated in the right way (!) but it helps with the hangover too.
- Our need for hydration is often disguised as hunger. When you’re keeping up with your water intake, you’ll realize you’re not as hungry as often as you would be when you’re not drinking enough water.
- If you have a hard time drinking plain water, like me, pack a bottle of Mio Drops (I especially like the ones with vitamins, or electrolytes), or a couple of Crystal Light Pure Packets (no artificial sweeteners!) to spice up your water and help get those ounces in!
- Sometimes all it takes to motivate me to drink water is to have a cute water bottle, which is why this bottle never leaves my side!
- Eat fruits and veggies whenever possible!
- If you have access to fruits and vegetables, eat them whenever you can, seriously. When you’re at home, you have unlimited access to fruits and veggies, however when you’re traveling, that won’t always be the case! Whether it’s grabbing an apple at the continental breakfast buffet, buying a banana at the gas station (yes, I’m that weirdo who buys bananas at Quik Trip), or ordering a side of vegetables when you’re out at dinner, take advantage! I say this because fruits and veggies are sometimes the last thing on my mind when I’m traveling, then when I eventually start thinking about the fact that I should be eating more of them, it never fails that I can’t find them anywhere, so eat them if you see them!
- DO NOT skip breakfast!
- This is so easy to do in the craziness of traveling, trust me, I get it! You want to sleep in, you have an early attraction or event planned, or you just “aren’t hungry yet”, I’ve experienced all three. However as cheesy as it sounds, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is going to give you instant energy and it will keep you from feeling the need to snack all morning or binge at lunch.
- If you’re somewhere that has breakfast, pick a good mix of healthy carbs, fats and protein. For example – two slices of whole wheat toast, two sausage links, and 2 eggs. If you’re going somewhere that wont have breakfast, pack some Oats Overnight, bring some protein powder for a quick shake, or grab a protein bar from the gas station if you need to. Just do the best you can!
- Don’t worry or stress!
- Being overly worried about what you’re going to be eating while you’re on vacation is the quickest way to ruin your time away. While it’s helpful to pack snacks, and important to be somewhat mindful of what you’re eating, it’s also important to relax and let yourself have some time off from your normal routine. Taking some time to indulge and eat things you wouldn’t normally eat is not going to halt your progress completely, and for someone who is mindful about what they’re eating most of the time, not counting macros and being strict about a diet for a few days is not only good for you, but it’s necessary. It gives your metabolism a chance to recharge, and it also keeps you from going insane. Without a couple days of fun eating here and there, it’s extremely hard to stay on the healthy eating path for months on end.
- Make some healthy choices here and there, and don’t feel bad when you can’t!
- Know that it’s okay to be lax about what you’re eating, it’s called vacation for a reason! Have fun, enjoy it, and use the fun food you’re eating while you’re away as fuel to kick butt when you get back to the gym when you’re home!