This has one of the top obstacles I come across when helping clients improve their body composition. While having a hectic week at home is challenging in it’s own right, traveling amplifies the problem 10 fold when trying to adhere to your diet. Sometimes you’re traveling to a new city and you have trouble locating the nearest Whole Foods ® or Trader Joes ® and you’re stuck with your typical fast food restaurants. Other times you’re travling to a familiar city but the options are still poor. So, what do you do? Give up and restart when you get back home? Nay nay! Here’s what you should do….
STEP 1: PROTEIN
The easiest thing to do is bring protein bars with you. Granted, they’re not as great as chicken, beef, fish, etc. but it’s still worth having available ask a quick snack to hold you over or prevent you from over eating the other options available. If you were so inclined I would recommend bringing protein powder with you (this you’ll have to check). Better than protein bars but more of a hassle when it comes to consumption (bring a protein shaker and be sure to rinse it after each use and keep the lid open).
As for the food options available most fast food chains and restaurants have chicken breast meat available. Always go for that (unless turkey is available) because it’ll be your leanest source. Most beef is not 90% lean and fish has higher fat content than chicken breast, which means the calorie amount for the same serving, will be higher. Remember, you’re traveling. You don’t have much time to exercise and you’re sitting most of the time. Spare the calories where you can.
If you’re lucky enough to be near any major food mart like Kroger, Food Lion, Whole Foods, etc. then go to the unfrozen section where they have cooked pieces of chicken breast. This will be the best thing you can get at this point….if you’re lucky.
STEP 2: CAFFEINE
Plain coffee. Green tea. Black tea. Doesn’t matter. Caffeine acts diuretic and satiates hunger. Granted, this does you no good if you’re having a caramel infused, Frappuccino mocha latte (aka coffee in the form of a milkshake). Aside from keeping you alert and focused on the task at hand it acts as a deterrent from excessive eating due to boredom. Yes, many people eat when they’re bored. But, many people also drink coffee when they’re bored. So, you might as well hit two birds with one stone. Drink some plain coffee (a little creamer or sugar sweetener isn’t going to kill you) or tea to help satiate yourself and occupy the hours of boredom you’re going to have waiting on your planes, trains, and cars.
STEP 3: INTERMITTENT FASTING
I don’t intermittent fast (any more). However, when traveling it’s easy to scarf down food for reasons mentioned above. Plus, you might be boozing and schmoozing with clients, business partners, or friends (more on that in a minute). Limiting the time frame for consuming food is not a guarantee you’ll eat less but it’s an option. It’s an option that I found myself using when I traveled Europe for a month. I would drink water and coffee throughout the morning and not eat until noon (this also saved me a lot of money).
However, if you know you’re the kind of person who will gorge later in the day then I strongly recommend NOT doing intermittent fasting while traveling. You’re an adult. Be honest with yourself. If you have trouble controlling food cravings in general then eat your 3 basic meals a day separated by 4-6 hours.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!