Food for thought: Protein to fuel your vacation « back

September 1st, 2014

Eating healthy is one of the hardest things to do when you travel as much as me.  Airport food is not always the best option nutrionally as it tends to be prepared more with your time in mind than your waist.  And if you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, well...let's just say your will power needs to be on point because the temptation to have some late night room service is always there!

For airports, it's hard to plan your meals with time changes, long flights, time spent in airports, delays, and so on.  The list can go on.  Some of the ways I try to stay in shape is by always making sure I carry healthier snack options with me in my carry on.

One of my favorite snack options are almonds.  Nuts are high in protein and very easy to carry in your bag.  Since they aren't a salty snack, they won't make you feel hungry again the moment you getEmerald Nuts on the plane and force you to buy an unhealthy on-board option.  My favorite option for nuts are the Emerald Nuts.  The harder container they come in with the screw on top makes it super convenient to carry and eat the duration of a trip.  They also have so many options.  I always get their dry roasted almonds but my new favorite love is the cocoa roasted almonds.

Trail mix can be another option and will give you some sweet and salty with a higher protein option.  However, be careful with the trail mix you choose as some may appear healthy but when you factor in the chocolate and salted nuts, it becomes less beneficial.  In the grand scheme of things though, its way better than a candy bar or a bag of chips so if sweet and salty is what you are craving, it's still a good option.

When you are in the airport around meal time, this is where you really have to go on a scavenger hunt for the healthy options.  They do exist!  Luckily, many airports now have at least one fast food store front where you can make a salad or purchase a salad.  In Newark, Terminal C, I always stop at the Greenleafs Grill (it's down near gates C70 in the food court).  You can make a salad with everything you want in it.  Many times if I know I will be hungry while in the air, I will get a salad prior and ask for the dressing on the side so the lettuce doesn't get soggy.  Many airports also have some sit down restaurants.  Look at their menu and see if you can get a veggie or turkey burger and instead of fries, see if they will give you a small salad or even coleslaw.  It's still better for you than the fries.  By ordering food from these restaurants, you are also able to really customize how they cook it.  For example: salad instead of fries, Grilled chicken instead of fried, Extra Veggies instead of a starch.  It enables you to order it how you want it and eat in a less rushed environment.  Many studies show that if you aren't rushed in ordering, you won't feel rushed in eating which will ultimately help you eat less.  Don't be afraid to always ask for a to-go container or for the full order to be wrapped so you can eat it while in the plane.  Please don't be that guy that brings steamed broccoli on a plane though.  That's one of my biggest pet peeves!

Once you are in destination, use the hotel gym.  It's a pain, I know.  But if you are really looking for a healthier getaway where you don't come back with those few extra pounds, the hotel gym is your gateway to eating whatever you want while on vacation.  Well, not really but that's the way I look at it.  I also tend to make healthier choices if I've worked out in the morning.  And by healthier I mean seeing if I can have egg whites next to my bacon and sausage rather than egg yolks.  Seriously though, one of the best investments I ever made was an hour with a personal trainer at my gym back home and asked him to create a simple workout for me that can be done in a hotel gym.  Asking him to pretend that I had access to nothing more than a few basic weights, an exercise ball, and a treadmill was well worth it.  He made a routine for me that has allowed me to get a decent workout in while I travel with even the smallest amount of equipment.  For a while, I also did P90X and Insanity DVD tapes.  I was able to play them on my laptop and workout in my hotel room with nothing more than a resistance bad I packed in my suitcase.

So there you have it, a healthier way of life when traveling.  I make no claims that you will lose weight by doing this and am far from a registered dietician.  Everybody is different and every diet is different.  I choose to do more of a higher protein diet and when I travel, it's easier for me to maintain.  Many of these tips are given with that mindset.

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