I’m currently in the midst of travelling and it got me thinking about how I’m going to find balance with all the good food I come across. So far, the last 10 days have become one big food tour and prior to travelling, I made sure not to put any restrictions on what I eat while I’m away. To give you an idea of some of the “challenges” I’ve come across, I’ve eaten at a Vegas buffet, had my first fried chicken meal from Jollibee’s, wined and dined in Napa Valley and stuffed my face with crab in Oakland. In today’s post, I wanted to share with you my most honest tips to find balance with food while traveling. Here are a couple of strategies to consider.
1. Keep breakfast as clean as possible. Whenever I’m away, I find the healthiest meal options come at breakfast. It’s easy to come across your staple breakfast foods, such as eggs, bacon, fruit while traveling (especially of you’re staying at a hotel. I choose breakfast to be my healthiest meal because it sets the tone for the day (insulin wise) and I’m not usually as hungry in the morning as I am later in the day. I try to get my protein in the morning and consume majority of my carbs and fat later on in the day. Trust me, if you’re eating at good restaurants, carbs and fats are very easy to come by (protein, not so much). In this case, I’m not necessarily concerned with meal timing or insulin sensitivity. Instead, I’m simply trying to distribute my calories and macros evenly. I always find that I’m invited to dinners where I have less control of what’s on the menu more so than breakfast. Pro tip: if you’re travelling within North America, the Whole Foods hot bar is your friend.
2. Count your macros. There’s a big debate whether or not counting calories is a sustainable way of going about your diet and blah blah blah. If you’ve followed me for some time now, you’ll know that I’m not against counting macros, as it’s one of many tools to have in your tool bag. I think it’s a great way of understanding how much food you’re actually eating (especially if you’ve never quantified the actual amount of food you eat in a day). The other way I think it can really help is when travelling. If you know you have a busy day of casual drinking and eating ahead, you can plan out your day and figure out where you’d like to spend majority of your calories. It’s sort of like currency. Spread your currency/calories throughout the day, plan ahead and you can enjoy a little bit of everything. Even if you don’t count calories or macros, you can still figure out what your light and dense meals are and strategize from there.
3. The “Visitors Pass” strategy. So you’ve been reading the last two strategies and your saying “I’m on vacation…can’t I just enjoy myself? Here’s the thing, if your travelling for more than a month then I would probably look into building a solid strategy that works for you. If you’re traveling for a week, then by all means enjoy yourself and eat freely. The only thing I would try to do is get in a workout when you can while away. For the trip I’m currently on, I’ve utilized guest passes at gyms, hotel gyms and Crossfit gyms. Personally, I love working out at other gyms and taking in the culture and seeing how different gym environments function, so visiting gyms actually excites me.
It’s important to remember that vacations should not be stressful. In fact, eating more calories than you normally do may benefit you (especially if you’ve been a restrictive dieter for quite some time) in the long run. You’d be surprised what an abundance of good food, rest and recovery can do for your body hormonally. The positive effects of eating good food and resting will allow you to come back stronger and more focused when you get home.