For me traveling is one of the most exciting and important things to do. I love seeing new places, learning about new cultures and eating delicious food. But traveling does put your nutrition goals at risk: most of the time you can’t control what you get served, how it is cooked or even if it has enough protein for you. Therefore I compiled some tips for you how to limit the damage and still enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
Summer has come and it is time for the big vacations. Who doesn’t like to discover new places and enjoy some free time with your loved ones? If you are like me, one of the most important components of a nice vacation is getting good food that I couldn’t get at home otherwise. And herein lies the danger: I want it all! In the past time, when I was traveling, I HAD to try everything that I normally wouldn’t eat at home. And most of the time this is okay, as long as you keep these tips in mind:
You probably already heard this, but this cannot be stressed enough:
“failing to plan is planning to fail”
I know a big part of the vacation experience is not worrying about stuff too much, letting loose and enjoying a break. But coming home several kilos heavier because you binge eat everything you could find, won’t make you happy either. A little planning will go a long way and ensure you won’t fall into the trap of the “all or nothing” mindset and comletely let go of everything.
Look At Menus Ahead Of Time
Nowadays most of the restaurants have a nice homepage where you can find the menu and take a look at it ahead of time. This allows you to choose what you are going to eat in advance, possibly allowing you to make a better decision now as when you get there exhausted and tired from a day of sightseeing. But even if you decide you really want that obscenely high calorie burger, you can at least plan your other meals around it, which brings us to the next point.
As already mentioned, you just decided to get that delicious looking burger tomorrow for dinner and I won’t stand between you and your prey. But with a little planning and self control, you can minimize the damage of that meal. You could decide to try intermittent fasting and omit breakfast (the breakfast you get in most hotels isn’t even worth it anyways). Perhaps you manage to get some nice lean protein like smoked chicken breast and some veggies for lunch, saving you a bunch of extra calories to spend at dinner.
Order What You Want
I know, nobody likes to make special requests when ordering, but this is totally fine! What is the worst that can happen? The waiter tells that it’s not possible and you switch to something else. But in 99% of the cases the staff will be happy to fulfill your wishes. If you are very serious, you can just ask for a grilled, lean source of protein and some steamed veggies without any added oil.
To be honest, I would do this only if the menu is really boring and there really isn’t anything worth the calories. Most of the times I ask for a substitute for some sides. For example I always have to have my fish and chips whenever I go to London. But I’m not a big fan of the chips, the fish is much more important for me. Therefore I ask for some type of veggies as a substitute (most of the time peas, as this is already a traditional side for fish and chips).
Buy Some Snacks
I’m not a huge fan of snacking, as I think it brings food too often into mind, but when traveling, having some snacks ready is often a good idea. Most of the time it is difficult to get enough protein when eating out or when traveling in general. You can easily circumvent this problem by making sure you have protein rich snacks handy: cured/smoked meat, canned meat, boiled eggs and most cheese don’t even need to be kept at a fridge and can survive quite a long time in your bag (but don’t forget them there!).
Most of the time I bring my cheesecake to the plane, as the “food” you get nowadays in planes is almost nonexistant or pretty bad. Security doesn’t allow more than 100ml fluids, but there isn’t a limitation on cheesecake! This is also a nice trick to smuggle more “water” on board: buy low calorie fruit like strawberries and vegetables like tomatoes and pack them in a container that protects them and check them in in you hand luggage. Security may give you some strange looks, but you can always tell them you are gluten/lactose/whatever intolerant and need to bring your own food.
Just being on vacation doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do anything for your body. Especially when on a longer vacation, it is important to keep at least a minimum of training stimulus on. This helps you in several ways: you burn some extra calories while training, keeping the damage at a minimum. Even if you overshoot on that day, at least your muscles can make good use of the energy surplus, ensuring some nice travel gains. And last but not least, you won’t be completely out of your training rhythm when you come back (trust me, this can be VERY frustrating).
If you plan ahead, you can find some nice gyms in almost every bigger city. Even if you can’t go to the gym, your hotel might have at least a somewhat decent hotel gym. When all else fails, you can get creative with bodyweight exercises and a few resistance bands and get a nice workout at your hotel room!
Don’t Let Loose Your Inner Bear
Your inner bear wants you to eat everything all the time and not care about the consequences. Your inner bear wants you to feel good while eating, not thinking about the future and hibernate until your worries disappear. Your inner bear doesn’t want to work out, this can wait until you come back.
Don’t listen to your inner bear! Give him a piece of salmon and tell him to back off! He wants you to fall into the trap of thinking: I’m in vacation, I’ve earned this and I don’t want to skimp on anything. This mindset is dangerous, as it completely gives away control and this can go horribly wrong. I’ve made this mistake often enough: most trips to London turned out to be entire days of binge eating from dusk till dawn until I didn’t even experience hunger anymore, but still kept eating more. That’s not necessary!
To sum it up
Eat (and behave) like an adult. It took me some time to learn this, but a little self restraint while on vacation doesn’t ruin your entire holydays, you can still have the best time of your life!
Feel free to send this article to your family and friends to ensure they stay on track while on vacation.
Do you need help with your nutrition and training when traveling? Apply here! If you have any questions, you can contact me or leave a comment below. Make sure you follow this blog by hitting the follow button on the side to never miss any new content.