Planning meals, weighing portions, and counting macros are fundamental parts of our nutrition coaching program. If you travel a lot for work, or even for fun, you have experienced some of the challenges that come with staying on track. From not knowing what to eat to not having as much discipline, you are bound to have temptations and run into roadblocks.
One of the most common requests we get in our private Facebook community is travel advice. So, we have compiled some of our favorite tricks of the trade to help you maintain progress and not need to go to confession when you return home!
Do Some Reconnaissance – Scout out the Area
Research what restaurants are in the area near where you are staying or working and scope out their menus for healthy options. One way to do this is by using Google Maps. Or here’s another tip: Use the location icon next to the barcode scanner in MyFitnessPal and see if any restaurants come up. They may have entries in MFP already and that should make things a lot easier on you.
Snacks – Lots of Snacks
Whether you normally snack during the day or not, they can be super helpful while traveling because of all the unknowns. Protein is the hardest macro number to hit because most restaurant options are high in fat and carbs. Here are a few ideas for easy snacks to travel with:
- Protein bars
- Dried fruit
- Protein powder
And these are much better options than hitting up the vending machine during a commercial break of Law and Order!
Get a Room with a Mini-fridge and Microwave and Visit the Grocery Store
You may not have access to an entire kitchen filled with state of the art Kitchenaide appliances, but you can still prepare food. All you need is a room with a fridge and microwave. Then, find the local grocery store and stock the fridge with healthy food options. Buy things that can be easily heated up, like pre-cooked, packaged meals. This will give you a lot more control over what you can eat and keep you from having to eat out all the time.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
If your hotel doesn’t have a good breakfast option, you may be tempted to skip it rather than being taunted by the pancakes and bagels. But you also know how much harder it is to hit your macros if you only eat lunch and dinner. So, if the hotel food won’t work and you don’t have time to go to a restaurant, here are a few things you can eat for breakfast that will fit in your suitcase:
- Cans/packs of tuna or chicken
- Sardines (seriously!)
- Hard-boiled eggs (pack them in a hard, sealed container)
- Fruit or other fresh, raw foods you can pack in a sealed container
Stick to Familiar Meals
Try to recreate the meals you would be eating at home as closely as possible. The main reason for this is because you have a good idea of the macros they contain. You can plug them in MFP and get pretty close to estimating the quantities.
Do you eat chicken and broccoli for lunch at home? Try to order that at whatever restaurant you visit. And if you don’t see it on the menu, ask! Most restaurants are actually happy to accommodate simple, special requests.
Eat the Same Things – Over and Over (and Over)
A routine can be helpful for getting you through the trip. If you bring along some healthy snacks and protein sources, that will take care of cravings. And if you find a restaurant or two with healthy meal options, keep going back. I know it sounds boring to eat the same thing every day, but when you find something that works, stick with it. The trip will be over before you know it!
Hit the Gym
Most hotel gyms are limited on the equipment they have to offer, but even a 30-minute jog on a treadmill is better than taking a whole week off. If you can, do it first thing in the morning to set the tone for your day and encourage you to continue good choices all day long. Do some push-ups, sit-ups, air squats, or whatever you want. Just get moving and burn off a few calories!
Drink Lots of Water
Take your water bottle and stay hydrated! One of the easiest things to let slip when we travel is drinking enough water. We typically increase our coffee intake and decrease our water intake (or is that just me??). And hey, the more water you drink, the more pee breaks you can take during Karen’s boring PowerPoint on budget projections 😉
On work trips especially, the temptation is always there to go out drinking with your clients or coworkers. And you may not be able to avoid that all the time, but when you can, choose to go back to the hotel and hibernate!
For one thing, you have all the food and snacks you could need 🙂 But also, that means you can get lots of sleep. And if you don’t already know, sleep is super important for weight loss and recovery.
Oh, and if you DO choose to have a drink with coworkers, plan accordingly! Our post on tracking alcohol will help.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
One other important contributor to difficulty in weight loss is stress. If you go into the week blind and don’t plan ahead, you will be stressed out by Tuesday about what you have put in your body and what your coach is going to say. From there, it’s a downward spiral. It’s easy to just write off the rest of the trip and go crazy. Then it will take you another week or two to recover the progress you had made, and that will cause more stress! And, well, you see where this goes…
Just know that your coach is there to help. We know about the challenges that come with travel because we have all been there, so always talk to your coach if you need to. We also hope this article is helpful and gives you some ideas on how to travel and stay on track with your nutrition at the same time.
If you have any other tips for traveling and hitting your macros, let us know in the comments!