A healthy diet takes dedicated focus and intention. So what do you do when you set good and healthy intentions when on the road? Here are some tips for staying on track when travel plans arise.
Start with a healthy breakfast. Whatever goals you have be it weight loss, fat loss, or lean mass gains, breakfast sets the metabolic rate for the day and fuels the body for whatever is to come.
As part of a healthy diet, breakfast should include a lean protein, a whole fruit or whole grain carbohydrate option, and very little sugar.
Bagels are a quick, carb-heavy pick, but can be made into a balanced meal:
- Add a lean protein source – egg whites, grilled chicken, or tofu.
- Skip the cream cheese.
- Include vegetables.
Smoothies are an easy first step when creating healthy eating habits. They are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and are low-calorie. Here are some healthy options:
- Leafy greens make a great base and add lots of nutrition.
- Whole vegetables like carrots, celery, and zucchini add vitamins, fiber and flavor.
- Fresh, whole fruits add more nutrients and sweeten the mix. Think apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, pineapple and melon.
- Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats.
- Oats add fiber as do chia seeds and flaxseed, which also include healthy fats.
- Add protein powder to boost calories and protein intake.
When hitting the drive-thru is the only option, there are always healthier options:
- Instead of a biscuit, choose an English muffin or flatbread.
- Order a yogurt parfait.
- Choose whole grains like oatmeal or whole wheat bread.
- Skip the cheese (too much saturated fat) and ask for sauce on the side.
- A breakfast burrito with black beans, scrambled eggs and salsa is another tasty option.
When travel is in the plans, the best option to support healthy eating habits is always to pack a cooler or travel bag with healthy snacks, lean proteins, homemade trail mix, almonds or walnuts, or whole fruits and vegetables. But if that doesn’t happen, don’t despair. There are decent food choices available while traveling.
Road trips often include quick stops at gas stations to refuel. There are some things to watch for while strolling the aisles for healthy snacks.
First, look for the whole foods — fruits and vegetables in the deli section. If whole foods aren’t available, be sure to look at the nutrition label of packaged food and check the serving size. Many packages include more than one serving size so check the number of calories per serving.
Restaurants have plenty of healthy meals to choose from. Always look at the calories per serving and stick to meals that support goals, low-calorie meals for weight loss and high-calorie meals for gains. Here are some other suggestions:
- Order water instead of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Ask for a to-go box and before taking a bite, put half the plate away for later.
- Choose baked, broiled, or grilled protein instead of fried.
- Choose seasonal sides instead of fries.
It happens to the best of us … when life happens, sometimes the drive-thru is the only option. Though it may be tempting to say, “this only happens once in a while, I’ll just get whatever I want,” remember those goals and make better choices.
If you’re ready to take your nutrition knowledge to the next level, check the ISSA’s Fitness Nutrition course online.
Written by: Erin Mahoney, VP of Education at International Sports Sciences Association
Erin Mahoney is the VP Education for ISSA, the leading international fitness certifications provider. As an expert in the fitness and nutrition education space, she has authored and served as the chief editor for textbooks on personal training, sports performance, group fitness, and behavior and lifestyle change. She holds two masters degrees focusing on sport and exercise psychology along with over 20 years of experience educating fitness professionals and helping clients get to their goals and lead an improved quality of life.