I think most people would agree that it’s easier to stay consistent with their nutrition plan when they are at home. But how do you stay on track nutritionally while traveling and staying in a hotel with only a mini fridge and microwave? Pre-COVID, I traveled frequently and have become a pro at this. And conveniently, I stayed in a hotel for five days last week for a disc golf tournament, so these tips are fresh in my mind.
1. Ensure your hotel room has a mini fridge and refrigerator
Before I book a stay at any hotel, I either check the listing or call the hotel to ensure my room will be equipped with a fridge and a microwave. For me, these are musts if I am staying for more than two days. You may be able to get away with a cooler and no heating apparatus, but don’t make things harder on yourself! Oftentimes if the rooms don’t have these items by default, you can request them.
2. Pack your food staples
Depending on your mode of transportation, you may not have much room for food. If you are traveling by car, I would suggest bringing a small cooler as well as a bag or two of dry goods. I use ice packs instead of loose ice in my cooler so my food doesn’t become water logged. If you are traveling by plane, only bring the absolute essentials. For me, this includes: PEScience protein powder, protein shaker bottle, a Ziplock bag of peanut butter powder, Built Bars and Kodiak cake mix. You will notice that each of these items revolves around protein because I know this is the hardest macro to hit while traveling. In this video, I show what I brought with me on my latest disc golf trip.
3. Hit the grocery store ASAP when you arrive at your destination
Stock your room with foods that fit into your nutrition plan. I find it is easier to stay on track when I have good food at arm’s reach and don’t eat every meal out. In this video, I show what I picked up at the grocery store the morning after I arrived at my disc golf tournament destination.
4. Choose restaurants with balanced options
If you are traveling to a highly populated area, you should be able to find restaurants with balanced options. Make sure to plan ahead by checking menus and nutritional info online. Here are some restaurant chain suggestions:
- Panera Bread (where I am currently sitting writing this blog post)
- Chipotle, Moe’s, Blue Coast Burrito, Qdoba or Salsarita’s
- Noodles & Company
Wherever you decide to eat, try choosing lean protein like chicken, fish and turkey over fattier meats like beef and pork. Also, ask for salad dressing on the side so you can control the portions, and limit dishes with creamy sauces.
5. Prioritize protein, whole foods and water
Ask anyone who tracks macros – reaching your protein target is always the most challenging. This is why it is important to prioritize protein at every meal. When at home, I don’t typically drink my protein powder mixed with water, but when traveling, I find I need it as a supplement. Filling up on lean protein and whole foods with fiber while keeping adequately hydrated will help you feel full longer and will help you avoid mindless snacking.