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Eating Healthy On The Road

I wanted to write a follow up to my earlier post talking about Staying Fit on the Road. That post talked all about how to stay active and get your workout in while traveling. I now wanted to tackle nutrition. Eating healthy is probably the toughest part for most people while they start a fitness program, P90X or otherwise, when they are trying to make a lifestyle change. So taking you out of your comfort zone while traveling can be an extra challenge. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Before I get into how to eat healthy on the road, I want to lay a couple of ground rules. First, there is a difference between a vacation and a business trip. We vacation so we can relax, and enjoy life. We go on a business trip to work. So you are going to have different mindsets depending on the reason for the trip. What that means to me is that if your on a business trip then there is no cheating. You need to try to eat as well as possible, without sacrificing your diet. If your a vacationer, trying to enjoy some time off with the family then you are allowed to have a few cheat meals here and there. That doesn’t mean you can go and eat whatever you want because that might completely derail you but depending on how active you are (see my last post) you can have cheat meals here and there. In my opinion, I eat a super healthy and clean diet 95%, and I workout 6 days per week. This allows me to go on a vacation and enjoy life a bit. I can enjoy the activities and splurge a little on my diet without having to worry.

If your going on a business trip you are not allowed to cheat. You need to try to eat as healthy as possible while your away. If your going on a vacation, you are allowed to have 1 cheat meal meal per day as long as your active, but you need to keep it to one in order to stay healthy on the road.

Eating on the Road Tips:

Eating healthy while traveling doesn’t have to be tough if you use these tips.  There are some common sense things you can do to stay as healthy as possible while away from your home.

1.  Plan ahead. One of the easiest ways to make sure your staying with your good nutrition is to do a little planning.  One of the things you can do is buy some protein bars, bring some Shakeology packets or protein powder with you.  I always try to bring these with me so if I am ever in dire need to eat something decent, or keep to my 5-6 meals/day then I have a quick, easy snack to eat that I know is healthy.  Another thing you can do is look up restaurants around the area your going to beforehand.  I am kinda a “foodie” so I enjoy looking for local restaurants that I can make reservations at while on my vacations.  I also look for healthy restaurants that I know I can go to get healthy choices.  You can even call the hotel, or go to tripadvisor.com and ask online.  You can then look up the restaurants menu online and make sure they are offering good choices.  Chain restaurants all show their calories now so take advantage. Taking a few mins to plan can make a huge difference!

2.  Stick to the basics.  When it comes to eating healthy it is easy to make the right choice anywhere are you if you stick to the basics.  Lean Protein, Complex Carbs, Heathly Fats, and as many veggies as you want.  You know what these are, and if you don’t then look on my P90X nutrition post to see what I’m talking about.  Chicken, Fish, Turkey are all great lean proteins.  Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, black beans, yams are all good examples of complex carbs.  Olive oil, canola oil, avocoda, nuts, seeds, are all good healthy fats.  Stick to the basics.  Just because your out of town doesn’t mean you can’t find all the same foods you can find at home.  Stay away from the bread that comes to your table.  Stay away from white rice, mashed potatoes or heavy pasta dishes.  The next step is to make sure they are cooked in a healthy manner.

3.  Watch out for Fried Foods and Heavy Sauces. This is common sense.  Stick with grilled proteins.  You can even ask for it if it isn’t.  Watch out for things that fried.  Don’t eat thing that come with butter sauces or “white” creamy sauces.  The easiest way to make a meal unhealthy is to have it dipped in hot oil or covered in butter.  Again stay away from those empty calories that come in the form of white bread as well.

4.  No Soda.  Don’t waist your calories on soda.  It’s a complete waist.  Your drinking nothing but sugar water, it’s not worth it.

5.  Limit the Alcohol. I know that if your on vacation your going to drink some, but try to limit the amount.  It’s all about portion control.  And if your going to drink a lot then guess what?…that’s your cheat meal!  There are a ton of calories packed in those drinks and you will quickly turn a good eating day into a very poor one with too much alcohol.

6.  Enjoy your cheat meals. For you vacationers only (if your on a business trip  you don’t get cheat meals) you need to enjoy your vacation.  So make sure really enjoy your cheat meals.  One thing that contributes to our American cultures obesity problem is the fact we don’t take our time while we eat.  We get “fast food” and we eat very very quickly.  Enjoy your food, each bite.  Take your time.  Other countries take 2 hours in the middle of the day for lunch for peet sake…we can take an extra 20 mins to enjoy.  By taking your time you will also allow you stomach to fill up so you can get a much better idea when your full.

Staying healthy on the road doesn’t have to be a tough experience.  You can do it by planning and educating yourself a bit.  Follow these tips and make sure you stay active in order to stick with your P90X, Insanity or TurboFire programs.

Have any other tips?  Do you think this seems doable for you on your trip?  Give me some feedback!

  

2 comments
Joby Leahy
Joby Leahy

I'm on the road and in a hurry most of the time. If I want meals (not shakes/bars) what would be a sample order at a fast food restaurant, major chain restaurant? i.e. Would a grilled chicken sandwich with low far mayo and a side of fruit from Chik-fil-a work? Would a 12oz ribeye and a side of veggies from Texas Roadhouse work as my dinner?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Joby: There are always healthy choices. What I would do would be to plan ahead. Look up the nutritional facts at places that you either visit frequently or think your going to visit. You can easily look up the calories in the Chik-Fil-A sandwhich. Just by looking at that though I can tell that it would be a decent choice. Stick with Grilled lean proteins, complex carbs and lots of veggies when you can. The 12 oz ribeye steak might be an over kill. 12oz of ribeye is a lot of calories in it self and if they use a lot of butter you might be getting a lot of calories. Sirloins and Filets are usually less fatty and leaner. Again it just takes a little planning...maybe a little googling. Once you get a good idea of what you can eat making healthier choices on the road becomes easier.