THE 5 RULES OF EATING ON THE ROAD
Working out is not the only thing to keep in mind while traveling. Even more important than your traveling workouts is the meal plan you follow on the road.
Who wants to think about eating healthy food when you’re on vacation? Not me, I’m there to indulge. But every trip away from home is not a vacation. And if you treat those business trips, family visits or other get-away-from-home-to-escape-the-kids trips like they are all vacations full of splurging, then you’re going to see some serious fallbacks on your fitness goals.
Instead of packing on the pounds while you’re away from home, follow these 5 rules to eating on the road.
RULE 1: BE PREPARED
Whether you’re driving, flying or cruisin’ out at sea, you’re usually surrounded by TONS of unhealthy snack and meal options. Burgers and fries to your left, pizza and pretzels to your right. From airports to highways, we have endless choices of junk. And sugary, high carb deliciousness that we usually don’t let ourselves enjoy at home.
But instead of stopping at the drive through or eating the cardboard served on the plane, make a stop that has a few healthier options. Like the grocery store.
It seems strange to hit up the grocery store on vacation, but this is your best bet for some healthy food options. Stock up on chopped raw veggies, Luna bars, mixed nuts, dried meats – whatever your favorite healthy snacks are.
No one said you have to eat your lunches from a restaurant. Or that you have to spend $18 on a sandwich at the airport. Bring snacks with you and restock when you get to your destination. These healthy snacks keep your from getting overly hungry and overeating at your next meal.
But the grocery store can be for more than just snacks. If you’re travelling somewhere for a while, look for a hotel with a kitchenette and stock with your purchases. You can whip up quick meals from the comfort of your room in between your sightseeing or exploring.
But if your room is lacking the cooking amenities (or hell, if you’re on vacation to get away from having to cook altogether) then just stock up on ready prepared snacks that you can throw in your bag.
But having snacks can save you tons of calories, fat and carbs. It’s easier to avoid the temptation for huge afternoon desserts or expensive airport snacks when you’ve got some with you already.
RULE 2: EAT LIKE A LOCAL EATS
When you’re at home, you (hopefully) don’t overeat for every meal. And you likely don’t eat out for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and evening drinks and dessert.
So don’t do it on vacation either.
Eat like you’re a local: make most of your meals nutritious and proportional and only splurge occasionally. I know this is hard to do when your hotel has a giant breakfast buffet and every corner of the city holds a restaurant you’ve been dying to try. But if you overeat at every meal, then you’re bound to come home with an extra 20 pounds as your souvenir.
For a good rule of thumb, pick one meal per day that you are most excited about and splurge on that one. Then the rest of the times you eat, stick close to a healthy meal plan and keep the quantity of food close to your normal (if not a little less to account for your splurge meal).
Skip the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and order steak and eggs for your AM room service. For lunch, find a little café or hit up the street vendors for something fresh and appropriately sized. That dinner restaurant you’ve been waiting to try out for a year, go ahead and order what you want. But share your plate with your company – you will eat less food and you get to try more dishes.
Not every meal has to be an all-out-buffet. It’s okay to splurge, but just don’t do it for every meal!
RULE 3: EAT WHAT THE LOCALS EAT
When you’re eating like a local and only splurging occasionally, it’s also good to eat the same foods that a local eats. Foods grown closest to that area or foods that area is known for are likely to be better for you waistline. They will be fresh and flavorful which means less sauce has to be added to flavor it up.
Local ingredients are likely to be less processed and more packed with the good for ya vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t sure where to find them, hit up a farmer’s market or ask your waiter for some local recommendations. Since it’s more flavorful, you might not be able to stop yourself and devour the entire plate. And maybe you eat a lot, but at least it gives you some healthy perks.
RULE 4: HYDRATE
It’s true. Thirst is most often disguised as hunger. So before you dive into a meal, chug some water to see if your brain was really asking for water instead of those crispy chicken wings. If you’re still hungry after 15 minutes of drinking the agua, then go ahead and eat something.
Traveling is usually the time when people forget to drink water. We don’t have our normal routines, we don’t have our usual water breaks at work and depending where you’re headed, you might not even have access to clean water that doesn’t come in a $5 bottle. But when you’re thirsty, you overeat at your meals.
It’s even more important to drink, drink, drink (water I mean), while you’re on the road. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere to keep yourself hydrated.
The only downside, you might be making frequent pit stops to empty that walnut sized bladder. But hey, it keeps you hydrated and prevents you from overeating. I’d say it’s worth it.
RULE 5: FORGET ALL THE RULES
BUT here’s an alternative that I fully believe in.
If you are traveling on a once in a lifetime trip, ditch your diet. If you are taking the trip you have always dreamed about or you’re splurging on one big vacation this year, skip your diet and enjoy every bite of food that goes into your mouth.
Don’t let food consume your happiness and your presence. If you’re traveling somewhere known for remarkable food, don’t let yourself feel guilty for enjoying it in all its glory.
Just be aware when you come home that you’re going to have some serious cravings to battle and probably a little extra bulge to fight. But I would say that pizza in Italy or tacos al pastor in Mexico or some schnitzel in Austria is probably worth the few extra pounds. For me, a once in a lifetime meal is worth a few more strength sessions in the gym.
Missed out on How to Stay Fit While Traveling Part 1?
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