When I first took my job at PowerBar, do you know what one of my first thoughts was? Along with “I’m so excited, what an awesome job, and I’m going to miss Brett and Rogue while I travel,” it was “Oh no, how am I not going to gain weight while traveling so much.” For someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, this was a big worry. And surprisingly, it didn’t turn out to be as big of a problem as I thought it might. I often travel 4 days a week sometimes spending 2-3 nights in a hotel, and sometimes I get to be home each night. For those days on the road, it just takes a few steps to ensure you are eating healthy on the road.
Eating healthy on the road just takes a bit of planning.
- Bring water and snacks with you that will help you stay on a healthy track. Think veggies like carrots, peppers, cucumbers, fruit like apples, oranges, pears or a banana. Also, remember a bit of fat and protein, try nuts or a 2% mozzarella string cheese. Bring a cooler if you need to, to keep things cold and fresh.
- If you’ve been to where you are traveling before you’ll know which restaurants or eatery’s you’ll be close to. If you’re traveling to a location you haven’t been to before, do a bit of homework and see if there is something you could eat. If not, bring a cooler and throw in lots of healthy choices.
- If staying at a hotel, chose one that has healthy breakfast choices, plus a good workout area. Skipping breakfast isn’t a good idea, plus it will get you off on the right foot. My hotel choices are generally Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn and both have oatmeal (with no sugar added unless you do), eggs (scrambled and hard boiled), fresh fruit and yogurt. All good choices.
- Know your weaknesses. Occasionally I stay at the Hilton Double Tree, and they want to give you these delicious warm chocolate chip cookies every time you walk in. Those cookies are in the 300 calorie range and that can add up quickly. If I’m craving chocolate and I don’t have any dark chocolate with me (poor planning) then a lot of hotels have sugar free hot chocolate packets. Those work to curb the craving for delicious cookies.
Where to Eat:
There are so many choices for eating while on the road. You have high class restaurants, chain restaurants, fast food restaurants and grocery stores. Don’t laugh, grocery stores are the BEST!
- My absolute favorite place to eat while on the road is a good grocery store. To me these include Wegmans, Whole Foods, Farm Fresh, Harris Teeter and even Giant. Places that have fresh vegetables and healthy prepared foods are awesome because there are so many different vegetables, hot and cold salads, etc. Yes, you can definitely go astray eating at a salad bar, but if you bypass the bad stuff, you’ll have a fantastic meal.
- If you’re headed to a remote area (I’ve been there for a few races), there usually tends to be a Subway around. If your choices are McDonalds, convenience store food or Subway, go to Subway. At Subway you can make a salad or chose a whole wheat veggie/lean meat sandwich. And pile on the veggies. Their salads are actually pretty good.
- When you’re with a group and they chose a restaurant that isn’t exactly what you were thinking, it’s ok. Go, and have fun, you’ll be able to find something. Most restaurants have a good variety of salads (just watch the dressing and anything fried) vegetable broth based soups and grilled vegetables, meat or fish. Just ask for no butter, and ask for grilled veggies or a salad for a side. Some restaurants even have calories listed by each entrée, this is very helpful.
- If you’re on a long drive and you need a snack, or need to get gas, there are some good choices at the 7 Eleven. You can usually find trail mix, mixed nuts and even fruit.
Don’t be nervous that you’ll fall off your training nutrition bandwagon when you travel, just plan ahead and look for healthy choices and you’ll be fine.