With travel fresh on my mind after a two week trip to the Adriatic coast, I though it would be helpful to recap how I stayed on track with my nutrition while traveling.
There are a couple different schools of thought when it comes to how to eat when traveling. Some people believe that you should just enjoy yourself and not worry about what you are eating, while others believe that you should stick to the plan and continue to log your food while traveling. This largely depends on what your personal goals are. If you are a physique competitor preparing for a competition, sticking as closely to the plan as possible would probably be a good idea, whereas if you are an active individual just trying to maintain a healthy body weight, being more flexible with your eating would not be a big deal.
To use my personal situation as an example, before traveling I had just finished a fat loss phase where I got relatively lean and recently started a new strength based program to peak for a powerlifting meet in November. I knew I would be able to enjoy myself within reason and if I gained a pound or two, it would not be detrimental to my goals. Fast forward, I ended up coming back at the same weight as when I left. Below I will detail the methods I used to stay on track with nutrition, while thoroughly enjoying myself (drinks included).
Concentrate on protein
Whether your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle or anything in between, protein is important for maintaining lean body mass. I knew that in order to maintain muscle I would have to ensure I got in a good amount of protein each day. When ordering out at restaurants I would focus on protein containing foods first, and carbs and fats last. Carbs and fats are easy to come by, but this is not always the case with protein.
Even though a large part of traveling is to experience different foods, you don't have to stuff your face at every meal. You can still experience all of the culinary pleasures of wherever you are, while eating fairly healthfully. Pay attention to portion sizes at meals. Order a salad as an appetizer before your entrée. When you feel yourself getting full, put down the fork, there will always be another meal.
For those who drink, this can be a tough one because who doesn't like a nice frozen drink while sitting on the beach. While having a few drinks can add to an already great time, the calories can add up quick. For my recent trip I knew I would be having some drinks on certain days. I planned to limit drinks to 1-2 per day except for two days out of the 14 I was traveling. This seemed to work out well. Try to determine in advance, which days you know you will be drinking and limit drinks on the other days.
Your amount of activity can vary greatly depending on the type of trip you are on. Generally I find I walk a ton when I am on vacation and so was the case with this past trip. The amount of walking we did was crazy! A little bit of activity can go a long way. Staying active serves as a significant calorie burn that keeps your metabolism going and may allow you to eat more than you usually would without gaining significant weight.
This is a big one when it comes to diet success while traveling. Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where there are no "healthy" (not my favorite term) foods available. For this past trip I brought a case of quest bars with me figuring that I could supplement my meals with some protein and fiber that I knew would be lacking. I also brought some almonds, protein powder and oatmeal. In a pinch, I would just microwave some oatmeal with water/milk, throw some protein powder in there and have a handful of almonds and that would hold me to the next meal.
These are the methods that helped keep me on track while traveling, what methods do you guys use to stay on track with nutrition while traveling? Let me know in the comment section below!
Stay tuned to beelitenutrition.com for some tasty fall recipes coming soon!