With the long-awaited 2021 upon us, a lot of people are struggling with the after-effects of quarantine.
Some of us gained weight, some of us lost it, and some of us are just finding new motivation to start our fitness journey.
Whatever point you’re at with your fitness and health going into 2021, I can guarantee you one thing: everyone is headed into 2021 with the hope of things going back to normal.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m really holding out hopes for getting to travel again this year.
I also know that traveling is one of the quickest ways to impede your progress towards your fitness and health goals, especially when it comes to your nutrition.
When we travel, we don’t usually think about what kind of food we are going to eat, because vacations are a time for relaxation.
While I definitely think you should relax on your vacation, everyone can agree that traveling is stressful – so your nutrition when traveling becomes stressful, too.
You’re either not eating because you had a 15-minute layover to get across the entire airport, or you’re stopping every hour for a different snack on your 20-something-hour road trip.
I’ve been there too. I never planned and didn’t have the knowledge I do now about planning for your goals.
Your travel time is a great opportunity to stay on track towards your fitness and nutrition goals so that you can actually relax when you get to your destination.
It’s easier said than done, but all you need is a little knowledge and push in the right direction: and that’s where I come in.
Tip #1: Always Have Water With You
This first tip literally couldn’t be any easier-just always carry water or have it in some way. This is a great habit to pick up anyways, but it’s especially important for traveling.
If we are doing a full day, or multiple days, of traveling, we won’t be moving very much. Whether it’s sitting on an airplane or in the car, we’re going to be sitting.
Your body will thank you if you stick to water. Trust me on this one.
Since we aren’t being very active, we want to limit our added sugars that can come from soft drinks or even drinks like Gatorade.
With COVID, it has been difficult to carry a water bottle around because there’s nowhere to refill it. But, that doesn’t make this habit any less important or realistic to apply.
When you travel, you’re still going to have to eat. And restaurants are still serving drinks. So, just opt for a bottle of water or just ask for a cup of ice water.
Some places will even give you large ice water for free-or as little as $0.25 or so.
You’re not only saving your body, but you’re saving money.
Everyone has water- there’s almost no excuse not to implement this tip when you travel. You can get it at any restaurant or any gas station you come across.
If you’re flying, don’t forget you’ll have to empty/throw away your water before going through security. Once you’re on the other side, you can either go buy a bottle from the convenience stores or use my next water hack.
Chances are, you’ll probably be tired from traveling. Or, you may not be tired at all. Either way, you could probably use a coffee.
Coffee is dehydrating on its own, but when you purchase it from a place like Starbucks, they take this into account. They’ll usually give you ice water on the side if you ask for it- for free.
Seriously, it can’t get any easier. And if your fitness and nutrition goals are important to you, you’ll find a way to get some water in your system.
Tip #2: Buy in Bulk Before You Go
And no, I don’t mean buy the giant mixed pack of potato chips that they sell at the grocery store.
I’m talking about those healthy, filling snacks that are secretly delicious.
Everyone can tell you that gas stations upcharge their snacks- they rely on you not preparing for your trip.
The same goes for the convenience stores inside of airports.
So, how can you combat this?
Just prep before you leave.
Places like Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, and Kroger all have the same snack options for way cheaper.
Plus, they come in individualized packages that are perfect to help you keep track of exactly what and how much you ate.
Prepping for your trip this way allows you to stay on track towards your goals because you are controlling your options. This helps you build the “we have food at home” discipline.
Some of my favorite options for snacks on the go are almonds, beef jerky, protein bars, granola, fruit, lentil crisps, and protein shakes.
When you’re preparing and looking for snacks, find what you like to eat- don’t make yourself miserable. Just look for things that are filling, high in protein, and give you energy.
I absolutely love Premier Protein Shakes. They taste great and have 30 grams of protein per shake, which will definitely keep you satisfied.
They come premade, premixed, and ready to drink. And they really do taste amazing.
Bulking up on healthy snacks before you go is easy to do, but often forgotten about. If you want to stay on track with your nutrition on the road, then make it a priority to plan ahead!
Tip #3: Choose Healthier Restaurants and Options
When it comes to this tip, for staying on track, you have to put your health first.
That might mean spending a little bit more money to get better food in your system.
Don’t always go for the cheapest option! Chances are, it’s not the best option.
Places like Chipotle are great options because you can control exactly what you eat and how much you eat. This puts you in the driver’s seat.
You probably want to avoid the typical fast food places if you can. Their options are things higher in fat and complex carbs.
This is important because we are traveling- we aren’t moving that much. When we aren’t moving, we want to stick to higher protein meals and simple carbs like fruits and vegetables.
But, don’t feel discouraged if these places are your only options- like late at night or super early in the morning.
Just choose the healthier option!
Instead of a cheeseburger and fries, get a cheeseburger with fruit or with no side. Instead of a cheeseburger if you want fries, try a grilled chicken sandwich with sauce on the side instead.
And don’t forget to get water to drink 🙂
Keep this in mind, too: salads aren’t always the best choice for a “healthy” option.
That’s right. While the greens are super good for you, the 2 packets of dressing are not.
When you add it up, some fast food salads are even more calories than the cheeseburger that you really wanted.
Limiting condiments like sauces and dressings can help limit so much unnecessary fat. I’m not saying go cold turkey, but at least get it on the side so you can control how much goes on your food.
Fast food can be okay sometimes, just remember to choose the healthiest option you have available to you so that you can stay focused on your goals.
Tip #4: Order Your Food Ahead of Time
When you’re on the road, you will have to stop somewhere and eat a full meal.
And your time is valuable, especially when you’re headed towards a vacation that you can’t wait to get to.
Thankfully, we have new technology that helps us avoid those dreaded drive-thru lines that waste so much time- we have mobile apps.
Most restaurants have a mobile app that you can download to use when you order from them.
This is helpful in so many ways for your fitness and nutrition goals, but first, I’ll talk about the ways it can also save you money.
These restaurants want you to use their app, so they usually offer rewards points as an incentive when you do.
Every time you order, you get a certain amount of points that can be used for free food.
Who doesn’t want free food??
Plus, back to fitness and nutrition, you can order before you actually get to the restaurant, then just go pick it up inside.
Just wait until you see the dirty looks from people when you instantly park and get your food while they haven’t moved forward an inch in the drive-thru.
Like I said, your time is valuable- you do NOT have time to wait in line for your food when you can just take advantage of something that actually benefits you financially and nutritionally.
Plus, this hack makes you move a little bit more on your long day of travel, because you actually have to get out of the car and go inside to get your food. It’s a win for everyone.
This is more proof that fast food can be okay and still keep you on track for your nutrition goals, if you know how to work it.
These nutrition hacks allow you to travel freely, knowing you’re still hitting your nutrition goals before the long-awaited freedom of vacation.
Staying on track before you get to your destination during your travel time gives you even more peace of mind in knowing that one week off won’t hurt every now and then.
If it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen. Now, you have the knowledge and four amazing nutrition hacks to successfully tackle travel in 2021- while staying on track. You’ve got this!