It’s Monday afternoon and your boss has just informed you, that despite your best efforts to excuse yourself from business travel plans, you’re going anyway. Before you know it, you’re booked on the 6am flight across the country. Panic sets in. My workouts! How am I going to get those key workouts in? Frantically, you call your coach and somehow, you manage to work out the details. Ok, run a while I’m there, before meetings, after meetings, try to work in a swim, find the local YMCA, got it. We’re covered.
Crisis… averted? What about nutrition? Oh yeah, got that covered too – grab a snack in the airport, mini bar in the hotel room, the conference must have lunch, and if all else fails – room service. You work hard to devise a “plan B” training configuration, but no preemptive planning goes into nutrition. Why should nutrition take the back seat?
Traveling for work or play can throw a major wrench into ones healthy eating plan. Not only are you jet lagged from waking at odd hours and adjusting to different time zones, but are simultaneously being exposed to airplanes germs. A nutrition “plan B” can assist to keep you healthy, while meeting the demands of training, and managing your weight goals. Here are a few tips to help keep you on track when travel plans get in the way:
- Pack non-perishable snacks in your carry on. Apples, Builder Bars, Lara Bars, single serve peanut butter packs, nut mix, and turkey jerky to name a few. Quick and easy go-to’s while sitting at the airport or mid flight.
- Consider bringing an insulated bag for toting items requiring refrigeration such as hard-boiled eggs or Greek yogurt.
- Tuna/salmon pouches are convenient additions to airport salads and conference bagels. Stash a couple in your carry on as well as checked baggage for an extra dose of protein. Best part of the pouch? No can-opener needed!
- Instant oatmeal saves time and money. For an easy post-workout breakfast, use the hotel-room coffee pot to boil water.
- Search the area for local restaurants or grocery stores, either within walking distance or accessible by public transportation. Bonus if you’ve got yourself a rental car!
- Request a hotel room with a refrigerator for staple food items (Greek yogurt, baby carrots, salad greens, etc.) and leftovers. Many hotels also have microwaves – just ask!
- Look at restaurant menus ahead of time to find items that fit into your plan.
- Bring sport fuels and recovery items along for the ride. Don’t leave it up to chance to find the local bike shop. Gels, drink mixes, and recovery powders can be easily stored in sandwich bags and sealed containers.
- If you’re going to be out of town for a few days, consider an extended-stay hotel with an in-room kitchen.
- Increase intake of antioxidant rich fruits and veggies while away – ward off the airplane germs and prevent illness when you’re immune systems takes a “travel hit”. Grab an extra orange or two at the breakfast buffet. Partake in the local cuisine, along with a side salad or vegetable of the day. You can also pack a few antioxidant packets, such as Reboot, if you think you may lacking here while traveling.
Remember it is of equal importance to maintain a healthy immune system and stay on top of training/weight goals while traveling. With the tips above, you should be well on your way to making better nutrition decisions when away from home.