When traveling, the biggest dietary hurdle is regulating our caloric intake every day. Traveling usually means eating out a lot, and restaurant food almost always comes with way more calories than we realize, thanks to butter, oils, sugar, and other sources of hidden calories. The large daily surplus of calories plus reduced exercise is a particularly bad combination for our physiques. It can also be a challenge to keep tabs on where our calories are coming from in terms of protein, carbs, and fats. If you’re following a weightlifting program and accidentally drop your protein intake to, let’s say, 10% of your daily calories and stop working out for a couple of weeks, you’re very likely to lose muscle. Fortunately, you can do several things to avoid these problems—and you can do them while still maintaining a flexible daily schedule.
ENSURE YOU GET ENOUGH PROTEIN EVERY DAY
Protein is your staple nutrient for maintaining your muscle—you have to make sure you’re getting enough every day. The easiest way to keep track of your intake is a diet app like MyFitnessPal, which will allow you to research and track the nutrition data of the food you’re eating or thinking about eating throughout the day. This takes the guesswork out and helps you make better choices about what you’re eating.
PLAN YOUR MEALS ACCORDING TO YOUR GOALS
Before you give any thought to meal planning while traveling, you have to ask yourself what you want to see happen with your body while you’re gone.
Are you cutting and want to continue to lose weight?
Would you like to just maintain your weight while you’re away?
Are you okay with gaining some weight but want to keep it minimal?
Your choices will dictate your meal planning.
If you’re cutting and want to continue losing weight, the easiest way to do this is to keep your meal plans simple Eating out too much, even if it’s at restaurants like Chipotle that give you a rough idea of how many calories are in each meal, is the easiest way to halt weight loss.
Instead, what I like to do is create a simple meal plan out of foods that I can pick up at a local grocery store or health food store like Whole Foods and that don’t require cooking or preparation.
Here are some of my favorite choices:
• Greek yogurt
• Protein powder
• Rotisserie chicken
• Low-sodium lean deli meat
• Low-fat cottage cheese
• Almonds and almond butter
• Salad (buy salad dressing and packaged greens)
When you book your hotel, make sure you ask about the mini-fridge. The bigger the better.
Then, when you land, you simply head to the grocery store, pick up your food, throw it in the fridge, and you’re good to go. Not exciting, but it gets the job done