When I first started travelling for work a few years ago, I would get so excited at the idea of eating in restaurants for all of my meals. It always seemed like such a treat to be able to order anything I wanted; kind of like being on vacation from my regular routine! But as my travel schedule became more frequent, I found myself dreading these restaurant meals and struggled to find healthy options. Each time I would come home from a work trip, I was bloated, felt sluggish and had completely thrown my body off of it's normal balance. I knew that if travelling was going to be a regular part of my schedule (which it still is), that I would have to create some easy meal options that I could take with me when I go. Now, with only a little bit of planning and preparation, I am able to mostly maintain my routine on trips, and actually enjoy the occasional restaurant meal from time to time!
In recent months. I have worked with increasingly more clients that also travel frequently or are
constantly on the go and experience the same struggles that I did. So with that in mind, I have decided to share my best travel nutrition tips and some easy make-ahead meal and snack ideas to bring with you!
1. Plan Ahead
Each time I book a trip, one of the first things I do is research my options. I look at where I'll be working from and the hotel I will be staying at, and plan my food options accordingly. Specifically, I'm looking for whether there are grocery stores nearby, or restaurants that offer healthy options. If these things are available to me, then I know that I only need to pack a few snacks. If not, then I know I need to plan for more.
In addition to food options, I also map out my schedule for the trip including how I am travelling (flight, train, driving), and what my schedule looks like for my time there. If I know that my schedule is booked up and that I won't be able to get out to a grocery store, then I'll make sure to have enough food with me before I go. I also consider my schedule for meals that I won't need to pack (i.e client dinners, social meals with co-workers, etc.)
2. Think Outside The Box
This one took me a little while to figure out on my own. When I first started packing all of my meals, I was stuck on the idea of bringing full meals that were already put together which I found really limited my options. Finally, I discovered that I don't have to pack traditional "meals", as long as I have the components. For example, rather than packing a pre-made salad that would surely be soggy by the time I was ready to eat it, I pack a container of chopped raw vegetables, some chopped up chicken, and a dipping sauce like hummus or tzatziki. That way, I'm still getting all of the goodness out of the vegetables and protein, without the hassle. Deconstructing your favorite dishes also makes them easier to bring along!
It can also be helpful to not get stuck on traditional meals (eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, etc.). If it makes more sense for you to have soup for breakfast, or egg muffins for lunch, why not?
3. Pack Lots of Snacks
Sometimes, depending on my schedule on trips, I don't have "meals" at all. Rather, I eat small frequent snacks throughout the day as I get time. This is helpful for two reasons; first, by eating smaller, frequent meals, it helps to maintain my energy and boosts my metabolism throughout the day. Second, it saves me from having to worry about finding a meal in the middle of a busy day. Make sure that all of your snacks contain both a protein and a healthy fat to help keep you feeling full longer!
4. Drink Extra Water & Take Your Supplements
This one probably goes without saying, but increasing your water intake while travelling is so important! Staying hydrated helps in many ways, including reducing hunger, reducing bloat, supporting your immune system and keeping your energy up.
Along with extra water, be sure to keep taking your daily supplements while you travel as well to keep your body on track. Probiotics are a key daily supplement for maintaining gut health and supporting the immune system.
5. Do The Best You Can
Even if you plan ahead and pack all of your meals, there is bound to be something that throws you off your game while travelling. Whether it's unplanned drinks with co-workers or late nights at the office, you can't beat yourself up if you get off track. All you can do is start fresh the next day and do the best you can while still enjoying yourself.
Here are some of my favorite foods to bring with me while travelling:
Homemade Trail Mix
Chopped Vegetables & Hummus
Soup (packed with vegetables!)
Protein Powder (just mix with water)
Homemade Protein Bars
Vegetable Rice Wraps
Dehydrated Fruits (or homemade fruit roll-ups)
If you'd like some extra help putting a healthy meal plan together, let's chat!