In this article, we are going to explain how to stay on track with diet & workouts when on the road.
By Sue Bush
Between traveling for clients’ shows, our own shows, and seeing family or friends, we’ve definitely had to get really good at being on the road while making sure nutrition and training are A1. And now we’re spilling all of our knowledge and tips from personal experience for you so that you can learn how to keep your health & training as optimal as possible when you travel yourself!
So, let’s start with…
Why you SHOULD prep your meals for traveling
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Meh, I’m just going to skip food prep for this trip,” only to regret it once you’re there?
Yes, it can be extremely tedious – or at least time-consuming – to cook and pack all of your meals, snacks, and supplements and add the extra weight to your bags. The day before we go somewhere, I (Sue) literally count out how many days we’ll be gone, how many supplements we need to bring, put everything in bags and containers, and fit everything in our suitcases and carry-ons.
Alex has heard me complain about it a million and one times, but we do it because I know how much better it makes us feel once we’re at our destination. When we go to visit my parents, they will sometimes make jokes like, “Oh, you’re bringing your whole kitchen with you.” I’m sure you’ve heard similar from family or friends who comment about your fitness or health habits. But at the end of the day, we remind ourselves that we’re trying to optimize how we feel while we’re away without access to our usual cooking tools or going through our normal day-to-day.
When you travel, your routine is thrown off. Your schedule, your accessibility, your environment are all different from what you’re used to, and most of that is pretty out of your control. If you’re not really prioritizing the things you want to keep consistent, you might find yourself feeling crappy in terms of energy, digestion, and even motivation sometimes. I know for me, if my digestion is off, I’m no fun to be around, I don’t feel good, I break out more, and I know I’m not absorbing nutrients.
By having food sources I’m used to, I can also enjoy a meal out at a restaurant wherever we are and know that I’ll at least have some consistency around it. It has nothing to do with macros, only that eating out for every single meal on top of the stress that road trips or airplane rides, makes me feel flat-out BAD.
What Foods & Supplements You Can Bring When Flying
Another frequent question within the topic of traveling and nutrition is the FDA guidelines around foods you bring when flying. The biggest thing you want to be aware of is liquids – no more than 3 oz. is allowed in your carry-on bags. This includes condiments, oils, peanut butter, yogurt, or even your ice packs if you bring a meal prep bag – and trust us, you never want to run the risk of having them take your ice packs away and ruining your food!
Other than that, you can take any other kind of food with you! We use Fitmark bags and they’ve stayed in excellent condition over the years! If I’m going to a hotel or Airbnb, I’ll make ground turkey, ground beef, grilled chicken, and rice in bulk to take with me. But if I’m visiting family, I’ll take what I already have prepped because I know I can grocery shop once I’m there.
More Quick Tips for Travel & Meal Prep
- Put 3 oz. of peanut butter in a smaller container so you don’t have to bring the whole jar (and risk them tossing it, leaving you with NONE – a nightmare for peanut butter lovers!)
- Jif, RXBar, and Justin’s brands make to-go packets of various nut butters in small enough servings!
- Trader Joe’s has coconut oil mini-packs for an extra & convenient fat source.
- We have a smaller food scale that fits in the back of our Fitmark bags (take the batteries out so they don’t die in case the scale turns on and off sitting inside of your bag).
- Transfer your supplements from their bottles to reusable or plastic baggies and label them.
- For protein, greens, pre-workouts, or any other powders, we also put those in separate baggies, label them, and put all of them inside of a larger bag in case any end up breaking and exploding all over inside your suitcase (a literal nightmare to clean up).
- Don’t forget snacks! We always have an assortment of protein bars in my backpack for travel. Some of our favorite brands are NuGo, Clif Builder bars, Legion, and RXBar. I try to go for a variety of different protein and fiber points when choosing bars to bring along.
- Keep your caffeine and fiber consumption lower the day before and the day after you travel, while increasing your water intake. Your body experiences more inflammation while traveling as well as impacting digestion – more caffeine and fiber won’t help you feel much better.
You by no means HAVE to travel with your food prepared and available, but it makes it so much easier to stay on track for your fitness & physique goals and give your body mostly foods it’s used to so you can feel your best while on your trips.