Feel confident with your nutrition!
There’s no question, we all live incredibly busy lives, and trying to figure how to keep up with our nutrition can be a challenge. Especially, when nutrition and building nutritional habits are a part of your goals. We can often find ourselves facing various obstacles when trying to stay on track for example, not enough time, not sure what to select, and much more. Despite the unknowns, it is important to keep working towards your goals and habits, even when faced with these obstacles.
We are all too familiar with how adherence and consistency work in regard to our goals. So, don't hesitate when it comes to your goals and nutrition! We are here to help you develop a better plan of action and learn how to prepare yourself for any upcoming travels or busy schedule to stay on track and accountable!
Before you Leave the House!
First things first! Before you even leave the house be prepared, especially if you know you are going to be gone for a while, whether that is for a full day of work, a day trip, or maybe just busy running around with errands. Here are two easy ways to stay on track before leaving the house.
Eat before you leave the house: Make sure to have a well-balanced plate with healthy fats, veggies, smart complex carbs, and proteins before heading out the door. This will help to keep you feeling full, satisfied, and energized for the time you are out and about. Set time aside to make sure you have enough time to prepare and eat your meal before leaving the house. You can meal prep earlier in the week to save on time.
Pack your snacks and meals: This allows you to be in complete control over your food choices throughout the day. You will have control over your total calories for each meal and or day, allowing you to put more emphasis on nutrient-dense foods. You can also save money this way! By utilizing the foods you've already purchased to minimize food waste, and the need to find a place to eat while on the go, in turn saving money! Plus, having foods on hand also takes the stress out of having to think or worry about what and where to eat. No need for added stressors! To help, a mini cooler and or a lunch box can be helpful if you need to bring multiple snacks and meals, but also to keep them fresh. Look to pack pre-prepped meals or foods that are easy to grab like protein bars, fruits, yogurt cups, and veggies. Make sure your meals are stored in meal prep safe containers.
On the Road!
Eating on the road can certainly seem to pose a threat when trying to stay on top of your nutrition goals. How do you make the right choices at rest stops, gas stations, while in the car, on a plane, train, or any other form of transportation?
Pack your snacks and meals: Pack a cooler or a carry-on bag with your foods. If interested, there are companies that sell coolers specifically designed to be used for the purpose of traveling. These coolers come with compartments, travel containers, ice packs, and more. If you are flying, it's super important to check with your airline to see what is acceptable to bring through security. The last thing you want to do is to bring food and containers just for them to be wasted and thrown away. When packing snacks and other foods it's helpful to place them into individual containers or baggies, this helps with portion control. While on the road, air, or other means, mindless eating can become a problem, to promote mindful eating, portion items out ahead of time. We also recommend labeling them in some fashion. This can help ensure that each day you know exactly what to expect with your foods.
Aim for better: No matter your location, look for veggie and fruit options when possible, as well as yogurts and other protein sources. Nutrition isn't perfect though, so you'll have to make the best decision you can at the moment and that's okay! Other options could be trail mixes, string cheese, snack packs, granola. Always search for whole foods first, then move down to see what other options could be available. Generally, we know what’s "better" for us, so use those good judgment skills to make those conscious choices. Put your thinking cap on! Again, you have control over what you purchase!
Arriving at your Destination!
Once you’ve arrived at a destination, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, or conference hall there are still ways to stay on track.
Locate a local grocery store: This way you can still adhere to your plan of action when it comes to nutrition. You are back in control and can purchase the nutrient-dense foods you might not have had previously. You can stock up or simply purchase a one-time meal as needed.
Ask for a room with a mini-fridge, microwave, or kitchenette: This allows you to be able to prepare your own foods as needed. Again, be the in driver's seat to control your nutrition! You’ll also be able to store all the fresh whole foods you purchased or packed. Also, this way you know exactly what you are eating, as always… fuel your body to perform better!
Select items that would fit best: Whether you are at a buffet or restaurant select items that you think are the better options. This goes hand-in-hand with aiming for better, not perfect.
Switch up how the food is being prepared: See if you can get your protein source grilled instead of fried. You can even add more protein, this will help keep you feeling satisfied. Lastly, you can see if you can turn your sandwich or burger into a salad or lettuce wrap.
Ask for more veggies: Ask for two servings of the vegetables or substitute a complex/starchy carb for more veggies. Please keep in mind we are not telling you carbs are bad. We are simply just provided alternatives to those who want it.
Build your own plate: Look for places that allow you to put together your own plate. This way you can dictate what foods you eat and manage your portion sizes better.
Have meals shipped: This one is a bit more extreme, but is another way to make sure you have the foods you want on hand. When shipping foods, whether it's from a meal service company or yourself make sure to plan accordingly so food stays fresh and safe. There's nothing better than your food awaiting your arrival.
Look ahead: Check out local restaurants and their menus ahead of time so you know how to order your plate. You can even order appetizers instead of a full meal. Be prepared to ask your server about substitutes and adjustments to the items you want.
Prioritize protein: Look to fill your plate with lean proteins
Sauces on the side: Ask for oil and other sauces on the side. These extras can add up in total calories quickly. By adding them to the side you'll have more control over your plate.
The take-home message is that the more prepared you are for your travels or busy schedule, the better you will become at making smarter choices. Stay prepared for not only the planned but also the unplanned. Something that might work for you is having a day during the week where you can prepare a few meals and or snacks for the upcoming days. We like to call it the daily or a weekly ritual. That way when you need to leave the house you are prepared to grab and go as needed. Check your calendars, see when you would need meals and snacks prepared. That way you don’t have to worry the day of. Stay pro-active when it comes to your nutrition rather than reactive.
Plan for the future!
Another trick for when you are always on the go is purchasing pre-cut fruits and veggies. This can be a more expensive route but it does take away the time that you are spending in the kitchen peeling and chopping. This is helpful when you don't have much time to spend in the kitchen. You now have easily accessible snacks packed and ready to eat!
Ultimately, how you handle your nutrition is up to you, you have to make a decision as to whether or not you are going to try to follow your plan. You have a goal, right? Stay motivated and keep your vision clear! But remember it's okay if you decide to take a day or a few away from your exact plan.
Keep the mentality of aiming for BETTER, NOT PERFECT will help you mentally and allow you to feel okay about your decisions with no regrets or throwing in the towel.
You can also give yourself some guidelines, for example, “I’m going to eat at least one piece of fruit a day”. Now you have something to work towards and can hold yourself accountable when out and about. If you are not seeing food items that would fit into your plan, remember to go back to the basics and do the best you can. When you start feeling hungry and you don't have the foods you desire around, see if you can wait a little longer before eating. As always, remember to eat slowly, stop eating when you are about 80% full, and stay hydrated!
Eating healthy can be challenging when traveling and on the go, but it doesn't have to be. If we take a few simple steps to stay prepared it can take the stress away. That little bit of planning will go a long way and your body will thank you.
Aim for better, not perfect!