I get A LOT of questions from clients asking “How do I stick to my macros while traveling?”. Traveling certainly poses some challenges and might knock you out of your normal routine. But, hitting your macros while traveling is not impossible. In fact, if you follow some simple guidelines and plan ahead, you will find it is VERY doable and not as scary/ difficult as you might think.
For this post, I sought the advice of a “professional traveler” and flexible dieter/ macro tracker, (and my sister) Nicole Stevens. Nicole is a flight attendant. So, as you might imagine, she spends virtually an equal or greater amount of time on the road as she does at home. She emailed me back with some incredible advice that you can apply on your next trip! Enjoy the read…
Everyone knows traveling can be stressful, especially flying… and it’s even more stressful if you are trying to stay fit and count your macros! There are so many variables, and once you step in to that line at TSA. It’s like you’re stepping in to another world, a fishbowl of rules and regulations and you have very little control over anything!
I am a Flight Attendant, mom, macro counter, pseudo CrossFitter and a Type 1 (insulin dependent) Diabetic. I am put to the test regularly when it comes to traveling and staying fit! I don’t consider myself and expert but I have a few tips that have helped my macro counting while traveling I hope you find them helpful.
First and foremost is making a PLAN and Preparing for what you CAN Control! Obviously things happen such as weather, mechanical delays, and the list literally goes on and on and on but if you are prepared for your trip factoring in this possibility then things are a little easier! You lay-out your cute, bathing suits, outfits, toiletries and plan your fun adventures for your vacation beforehand and you can do the same for your Macros! You CAN take food through TSA this is a common misconception, you CAN’T take liquids that are larger than 3oz. and take up more than a quart size baggie. With this being said BRING SOME FOOD! Go old school and pack a small cooler (which FYI will count as one of your carry-on bags).
I will start with the Non perishable items first which are great for snacks and small meals, or Delays!
Some of my favorite Go-To macro friendly Non-Perishable items:
- Dried/freeze dried fruits
- Fresh fruits like grapes and apples (Don’t take these internationally)
- Protein/or Meal Replacement Powder (Don’t forget to bring your shaker)
- Oatmeal (for your hotel use the coffee maker. In the Airport you can ask for a cup of hot water at any fast food or coffee stand)
- To go peanut/nut butter packs
- Single serve tuna pouches
- Protein bars
Perishable items are a little trickier as I am sure you can imagine (if you are traveling internationally or to Hawaii please check with the customs website as to what can be taken) however it’s not impossible. The hardest part is staying under the liquid requirements and keeping the bag cool. I suggest using a well insulated small cooler bag. Then in the week or so prior to traveling freeze a few of your macro friendly leftovers from dinner in Ziploc bags or Food Saver bags. These can be used to keep your perishable foods cool and then can be eaten when you get to your final destination. Call ahead to the hotel and request a microwave oven and fridge, you can also ask if there are any grocery stores close so you can plan how to fill your mini fridge when you arrive!
Quick Coach Tips:
- Many grocery stores offer delivery service and will bring items directly to your room.
- Before you travel, search for “meal prep service companies” in the area. Or, even ones that deliver like Icon Meals or Trifecta Meals.
Back to more from Nicole…
Pre-make some items that can be eaten cold on your day of travel as well; sandwiches/wraps are my favorite and can be eaten with no utensils. You can bring mini condiments or even get them from the food court in the airport to put on later so your wrap/bread doesn’t get soggy!
Some of my favorite snack Go-To macro friendly Perishable Items (that can be eaten cold):
- Greek Yogurt (don’t forget a plastic spoon)
- Lunch Meat
- Hard-boiled Eggs
- Chicken/Egg Salad
Then let’s face it one of the best parts of traveling is the FOOD, and Airport food is no exception some of the best meals I’ve ever had have been in airports! If you’re counting macros the best advice again is to try and Plan ahead (are you noticing a trend with planning).
Most people are not aware that each Airport has a website which lists all the food options, as well as the location in relation to the gates or a map of the airport! Take a look at your trip; do you have a connecting flight with some ground time, can you make it to the airport early to grab a bite? If you are going to have some time, look up which terminal and gate you will be in (a Google search of your flight and paring information will give you this info or even your airlines website should have this info). Go to the Airports website and look at all of the food options close to your gate beforehand. This will give you an idea of what food vendors are near you! Then you can use the “MyFitnessPal” app or the Food Vendors web page to help you decide beforehand which options fit best in your macros! As we all know gates change, so does the ability to get food….that’s why it’s imperative to have a small cooler with you!
Once in your destination, check with the front desk or do a search on your phone for a close grocery store and do a small grocery run to fill your mini fridge with macro friendly items and don’t forget to put your food from home in there too!
Some Additional Things to pack in your cooler:
- Silicone Pop-Up Bowls (can be purchased for super cheap in the camping section at Walmart and will fit right in your cooler)
- Travel /Plastic Utensils (if you forget them you can get some from the food court in the AP but its best to have them)
- Ziplock bags in various sizes
- Foil (take a few squares and fold them up, they are great for wrapping leftovers or sandwiches/wraps)
Safe Travels! – Nicole Stevens