Monday, January 10, 2011

Have fitness, will travel: being healthy on the road

For the past five days, I have been doing some hard-core hotel living. One of the easiest ways to derail your fitness is to disrupt the routine, and going out of town can easily do it. Unless!  Unless!  Unless you think ahead and make a plan for staying true to your goals despite being in a less-than-optimum locale!  Believe it or not, you can be healthy on the road.  Here's how: bring your food.

Hold on, hear me out.

One of the obvious things I do is to pack my food in an ice chest and bring it with me. And it's not as much of a hassle as you think! And really, which is the bigger pain - packing your cooler or having to decipher restaurant menus and do damage control later?  Automation is a key to success, and having your regular food on hand keeps your fitness automatic. PS- this is also called  consistency.

In this case, though, I was flying so couldn't bring my ice chest. So, I called the hotel and arranged for a fridge in my room.  It was free, and usually is because hotels have guests who need to store medications. And really, food is the ultimate medication, right? Then I packed what I could in my insulated lunch bag, hit up a grocery store when I got to town, and stocked my fridge.  My co-workers tease me when I do this, but by the end of the trip they feel run-down and sluggish after eating catered food for days, and I feel great. Plus, my expense account is a lot less than theirs!

This is living!
Here's what I packed:
5 ziplocks with 1/2 cup dry oatmeal, raisins, cinnamon, and whole cranberries
Lara bars and Clif bars
5 ziplocks with 100-calorie portions of raw almonds
a small bowl and a spoon

And here's what I bought:
Spinach, oranges, and 2 bags of chopped raw veggies
Toufayan low-carb wraps
Boar's Head Ovengold turkey breast
Sabra hummus (4 pack)
Paper towels and Lysol wipes (hotels are nasty, yo)

I cooked my oatmeal each morning by making hot water in the hotel room coffee pot and stirring it into my pre-packaged oatmeal packs.  I had fruit, almonds, and bars on hand for quick snacks, and I had spinach-turkey wrap fixings and veggie/hummus combos for lunch or dinner. I figured I would end up eating one meal out each day, and when I was there I followed my number one restaurant rule: Keep It Simple!  I ordered things with the shortest list of ingredients, which usually amounts to a nice big bowl of delicious fresh vegetables with some grilled fish or  chicken.  If I have dressing with it, I keep it on the side and dip my fork into it instead of pouring it on the food.

If you're on a short trip, a supply of lara bars, almonds, and fruit in your purse can be a lifesaver. But if you're gone more than two days, it really pays off to get the hassle part done early and plan out your food so you can enjoy your time away and not have to face the big reality check when you land back at home.  It's definitely worth it!

I'm back now, which means I have a reality check of my own...finally having time to focus on strength training!  I will not miss hotel living one single bit!

Good day!


Brett said...

These are great tips for healthy travel! Thanks for sharing. I've recently started a website that is dedicated to healthy travel, and I'd love for you to check it out... We talk about everything from eating on the road, fitness on the road to even stress management on the road.

Jen said...

Wow, way to go! We've done this on our vacations and it not only keeps you eating well, it saves a lot of money!

The (not so) Reluctant Athlete said...

Jen, I used to be so embarassed as a kid when my dad would pack our ice chest and bring food with us on the road, and now I do it!

Brett, your website is AWESOME! Really good info. Thanks for sharing it!