The past week or so I have been chatting with friends, and frequently talk about how it can be difficult to eat healthy on the road and in other circumstances. I just wanted to write a short piece on some random pieces of advice that I have found useful for myself when trying to watch what I eat either when I am on the road, or doing intense dieting. So in no particular order here are a few things I have learned with time that have helped me.
Pack your breakfast
This for me is usually in the form of a protein shake with nuts or trail mix. This allows you easy control of what you are eating. You can take it through TSA (just don’t put water in your shaker beforehand), and enjoy it while in the car, airplane, or otherwise. You won’t be at the mercy of cereal and “egg product” while you are at hotels and it is relatively cheap to have and use. Protein powder is easy to pack (just use a Tupperware container and remember to pack the scoop), trail mix or mixed nuts are also easy to keep with you and you can even do the prep work of having the servings in individual baggies that you can pull from to make sure you always have a healthy and filling way to start your day.
Have your on the road “Go To” meals
If you are going any place that has civilization for your holiday break then there will likely be some of the big box chain fast food and other restaurants. You can if you are only traveling to one location, look up on google maps what will be around your hotel so that you can then look at the menu at those places and figure out what are the healthy and simple meals you can find there. If you are traveling all over the place, figure out what are the healthy options you can find at a few different stores you like. I gave my friend the example of Jimmy Johns, Qdoba, Chipotle, Subway, and so such are going to have the same menu (and hence very similar macros) no matter where you are. With this in mind you will know what you can hit at each place to get what you want. If you tend to get lunch with coworkers and know there are only a few places that people like to go to, then just look up those menus and figure out what are a few options that are going to fill in the macro levels you are looking to get.
Seriously, I don’t like throwing out brand stuff, but these things, for really just being a protein and fiber deliver mechanism, are not that bad tasting. Are they as good as a snickers bar? No, but they are decent and will hold you over when you are getting hungry and not at the expense of your actual goals. I would take and just pack these with you wherever you go. Now that other companies are coming out with their own version of the high protein, moderate fiber, and little of anything else bars they might be worth a try, but I know for a fact that these things are a god send when you are struggling on a diet and want something to get you through. Also, little side note here is that these things tend to taste the best when you are on a weight loss phase. If you are trying to gain weight, I would skip them since you can just eat real food that will hopefully taste better anyways.
This is for when you are really looking to lose some weight. When I am in a hard cutting phase (haven’t done something like this in over a year now) I don’t want to be thinking about how hungry I am all the time. This is a unavoidable part of dieting, but what I can do is distract myself. You want to do your best to distract yourself from the hunger that you will be eventually be feeling. So find something that you can do that keeps your mind off of your hunger. For me this is video games. I can sit down and play an RPG for so long that I’m like a little kid dancing around because I have to go to the bathroom so bad, but don’t want to stop the flow of the game. Whatever it is for you that has the same effect, do it. Find something that you get so wrapped up in that time around you moves differently and you easily forget about other things around you.
Go light before you go heavy
You know you are going to be around family and they are going to be pushing calories down your throat like you are in Hansel and Gretel. This is the simple reality of this time of year, so freaking enjoy it. One meal is not going to make or break your dietary goals but a full week of pounding down as many sweets as possibly can do some serious damage. Do yourself a favor and just plan accordingly. Make that Christmas meal your “cheat meal” eat a bit less before that meal throughout the day and go a little light the day after. Heck you can just show some restraint and not over eat (but where is the fun in that). I personally just hit each plate with 50% whatever I want and the other 50% with vegetables (the healthiest option I can aka not with cheese or butter on them) that tends to fill me up and let me enjoy the holiday.
So there was a few pieces of advice which I hope you find useful since a lot of us will be on the road for the holidays and at other points during the year. By having a few things planned out accordingly you can make life a lot easier both with the mental stress of dieting and with the body weight and composition goals that you hope to follow. Thanks as always for reading and have yourself a fun, safe, and happy holidays.