Just because you have a busy life, hold down two jobs, go to school full time, or you are a single mother of 3 kids, there is no excuse why you would need to fall completely off track with your nutrition. As adults, we should be equipped to have restraint and make optimal choices when it comes to eating and what we put in our bodies. Yes, life does happen and life should ALWAYS be enjoyed, but coming up with excuses won’t bring you any closer to your goals (or in my case simply maintaining my current state of affairs). Things also don’t need to be quite so black & white. This holds true while traveling also and the main reason why you will always see me food prep when I’m going out of town.
While some people like to think vacations or extended times away from a normal routine are a good excuse to let loose and YOLO all over the place, let’s not go crazy (in EITHER direction). There is a big difference between 1. being so strict with your food choices that you feel deprived and 2. completely disregarding every single thing you have been taught about nutrition. As I do every day (whether traveling or not) I choose to be a bit more ‘flexible’ with my eating. When traveling, I usually choose to prep some meals, I pack LOTS of healthy snacks, bring along some eating necessities and things I LOVE, and I also always bring along my supplements. However, I also have NO problem eating out, splurging on extra dessert, or sampling the local faire.
Our trip to Dallas last month was NO different…
It all starts 2-3 days before we are set to depart. I hit the store to grab a few travel friendly snacks, decide what foods/meals make sense for me to prepare, make and store food, and then pack everything up the day we leave. Everything goes right into my FitMark LG Shield bag:
OK then! So food prep, snacks, meds, clothes, toiletries, special things I needed for my back and other issues, husband, and daughter… I was ready to rock and roll! Here I am checking in at San Diego airport! Suitcase and my LG Shield in tow!
FitMark thought of everything on this meal management bag! I LOVE it so much! It has a built in strap just for traveling which slips right onto the luggage handle and fits perfectly on top of your suitcase.
One thing we were NOT prepared for on this departure was being stuck at the airport for an EXTRA 4 hours thanks to this madness…
Active shooter within miles of the airport. Literally, as soon as we checked in and got through TSA, they shut down ALL inbound AND outbound flights. Unbelievable.
I hadn’t planned on this, but after waiting around for 2 hours doing nothing (and in pain might I add) I decided I would go ahead and Periscope! After talking a bit about the anticipation of meeting my neurosurgeon the following day and about ‘life’ in general, I shared ALL of the food and things I had packed in my FitMark bag! And since I still had another couple of hours to kill, I went ahead and snapped pictures of everything to share here also. Did it right there on the floor of the airport because I’m classy like that.
First things first, main compartment:
I’m immediately greeted with some of my favorite cookies from The Cookie Department! ‘Awaken’, ‘Snap Back’, and a ‘Tough Cookie’! I wasn’t sure if and when I would have a chance to eat these, but having a healthy dessert option is always a good thing to have on hand! These are also big enough to share if need be, but I’m not normally in a sharing mood when it comes to food!
Under my cookies, were my prepped meals, individual Kodiak ‘Flapjack On The Go‘, some bread, and my FitMark bags powder dispenser filled with 3 days worth of PEScience Amino IV’s (a supplement I have every day for muscle maintenance, recovery, etc.). Can you believe ALL of that fits so perfectly?
Here is a closer look at what I prepped:
#1 Roasted chicken breast, butternut squash, and roasted cauliflower on romaine lettuce.
#2 My Cinnamon Apple Pancake Roll Ups. This is a staple in my food prep for traveling! It’s high in protein which is GREAT when traveling because thats the one macronutrient that will be most difficult to get on the go, it’s easy to prepare, can be eaten cold or reheated, and it’s freaking delicious!
#3 Scrambled eggs with asparagus, onion, mushrooms, turkey sausage, and topped with salsa.
#4 Veggies to nibble on.
These Kodiak ‘Flap Jacks on the go‘ are SO convenient for hotel breakfasts, eating on the go in the car, AND for kids… genius & delicious. You just add water, mix, and throw it in the microwave! If we don’t stay in a hotel with a full kitchen, I always make sure to call ahead and reserve a microwave AND a small fridge. Most hotels will accommodate those requests. These little guys came in handy on this trip especially because it was hassle free eating for my daughter the first morning in Dallas when we weren’t able to sit down and eat until a little later in the day! I brought two and only ended up using one of them though.
Cinnamon raisin bread for my daily PB&J’s… yes I have one every single day! I love and crave them. There was no way I would go 4 whole days without them! More on this a bit later… but I packed 6 slices of bread and put 2 in each ziplock bag.
Again, Amino IV’s because I don’t go a day without my BCAA’s! Now when I am unable to train, I feel like it’s even more important to have a steady stream of these in me. I’m not gaining muscle at the moment, but I certainly don’t want what I have to wither away too fast! One day’s worth in each compartment. I just needed to grab a gallon of water when we landed and refill at the hotel each day. I had already finished my gallon by the time we got to the airport on the first day!
Moving onto my Shield pockets! Front one had hard boiled eggs… nothing fancy about this, but again because protein will be the most difficult thing to get while on the go, these are a great thing to have prepped and packed. If I’m low on fat one day, I will eat the whole egg. If I’ve had my fair share of fat, then I will stick to eating just the whites!
And now for the really good stuff… my snack age action!
#1- I grabbed these EPIC bars for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect, but having them as an extra protein option would be good. I wasn’t a fan though… only had a bite of one and the texture was beyond weird. At some point I may get brave and try the other one!
#2- Kay’s Natural’s pretzel sticks came in my Pretty Fit ‘snack pack‘ just days before the trip. Excellent timing!
#5- Can’t have PB sandwiches without nut butter right? I LOVE these little squeeze packs. They are perfect for traveling, on the go eating, and no problems with TSA! So so handy! I chose to bring Sun Butter and Wild Friends peanut butter.
#6- Another goodie from my Pretty Fit ‘snack pack‘, ‘Black & White’ blondie from The Protein Bakery. HOLY CRAP! First time trying these out (the main reason why I LOVE the ‘snack pack‘ idea because I get to try new things I wouldn’t have thought to buy on their own). Wow wow and wow. New fan here for sure!
#7- One of my all time favorite ‘go to’ protein bars/snacks are SquareBars. All flavors are delicious, but these two are my favorite (cocoa crunch and cocoa almond). Flavor is very rich and decadent. I always feel so indulgent when eating these bars and they are 100% healthy. They are all organic, non GMO, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and vegan!
Can you believe ALL of that fit into JUST the top pouch of my bag? So much FOOD!!!
Moving onto the opposite pouch…
#8 I’m absolutely addicted to these SuperSeedz Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Clusters. I’ve been eating a serving every single night for months now. I usually have them with a bowl of proyo (protein yogurt which is just 0% Greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 scoop of PEScience Select protein powder and a little stevia). I find it to be the perfect dessert and last meal of the day! I knew they would come in handy at some point in the trip if I could get to a store and grab some yogurt!
# 9- I also don’t go anywhere without my Sweet Drops flavored stevia! These little guys are great for traveling and even keeping your purse when you eat out! Since I started using these, I haven’t used any real sugar or artificial sweeteners for any drinks whatsoever! They come in SO many flavors. I use them in water, iced tea, coffee, plain sparkling water (cola and grape are great for that), and then of course I use my big bottles for ALL of my baking needs.
# 10- This side pouch was topped off with my medications! Most of these I don’t take anymore, but brought them along because you just never know. I may get desperate if pain/symptoms got too bad and I rather be prepared!
And last, but not least… wait, can you believe there is STILL room left in this ONE bag?
Yeah, me neither! When I was taking stuff out to take pictures, I felt kind of like that clown car thing that you see at the circus? You see four clowns in a car and they all get out one by one, but then 20 end up coming out somehow? You think to yourself, how in the world can that many people fit in that trunk!!! This LG Shield is just like the clown car trunk haha! It feels never ending! That’s a good thing when you love to eat.
Anyways, the top pouch had a bunch of other things in it also.
#11- PEScience protein powders (2 snickerdoodle and 1 peanut butter cup)
#12- Roasted Dandelion Root Tea is my nightly drink of choice. Dandelion root is said to help with digestion, kidney and liver function, flushing out toxins in the body,and help with your immune system. I drink 1 cup each night with 4-5 drops of English Toffee Sweet Leaf.
#13- Starbuck’s Via Instant coffee packets because you never know when you may need a hit of caffeine!
#14- Raw walnuts
#15- Another FAVORITE snack are World Peas fava bean & green pea crisps. These are addictive and amazing. I could nibble a bag away in a matter of a few minutes!
#16 & #17- A couple of snacks for my daughter and husband if they get bored on the plane… Annie’s bunny grahams and raisins. They are much easier to please and don’t need anything too extravagant! These were on hand just in case someone was about to die of hunger and need a quick fix.
Small but mighty!!!
So that was everything IN my bag that I brought along with me. Let’s get to my actual meals and everything I ate!
I didn’t really think to take pictures of everything I ate on the first day of traveling, but meals 1 and 2 were eaten at home, protein packed, and still left me plenty of room for whatever the rest of the day had in store for me. At the airport, we ended up grabbing CPK (I had a salad and a couple of slices of pizza). Once we got on the plane, I nibbled on my snacks. I think I had a couple of hard boiled eggs, a cookie, some walnuts, veggies, and a Detour Bar. While waiting for baggage and the rental car, I snacked on some ‘Awaken‘ espresso cookie and my BBQ World Peas!
We actually got into Dallas REALLY late and didn’t make it to the hotel until around 1am. I had a peanut butter sandwich and tea before I fell fast asleep!
Dallas Day 1:
We were up bright and early for my appointment with Dr. Feigenbaum! No time (or stomach to eat) for me though. I was too anxious! I also knew I had a special lunch date planned with this pretty pretty…
So happy our paths crossed! Megan (AKA skinnymeg) is every bit as amazing as I expected her to be! She’s also not afraid to eat, my kind gal! Even though she’s an avid macro/calorie tracker, Megan’s approach to nutrition is very flexible as well! She had no problem eating at a place that didn’t have nutritional information listed (she actually suggested this amazing spot), didn’t bring along a pocket scale to weigh her food, and she even cleared her entire plate. Yup, she’s A-OK in my book!!!
The restaurant we ate at was DELICIOUS!!!!
We both ended up ordering the same thing and it was SO GOOD!!! I was torn between this and a speciality salad, but since I could really get a salad anywhere, I wanted to really enjoy myself, my company, and the whole ‘traveling’ experience. Very pleased I went this route instead of the salad! Sorry, no picture because I was busy enjoying my company 🙂 Here is an excerpt from the menu though! MMMMM.
After lunch, I met back up with my husband and daughter. We walked the mall a bit until it was time for me to have a break, then headed back to the hotel. Since we weren’t going to be eating dinner for another couple of hours, I grabbed one of my meals from the fridge and chowed down! It may not be the prettiest, but it’s nutrient dense, protein packed, and low in calories (which is needed when you hoard macros for eating out)! Thank you food prep!
Also, when I was down in the lobby grabbing a fork, I was pleasantly surprised to see the cafe sold my FAVORITE popcorn! LiveLovePop!!! Of course I had to grab a bag of my favorite ‘Lime Fresco’ for my daughter and I to nibble on!
For dinner, we went to Benihana’s and I had teriyaki chicken, brown rice, a butt load of vegetables, and a scoop of green tea ice cream! Portion sizes on everything were appropriate, made sure they held back on the majority of the butter (this place REALLY goes a little crazy with this), and ate just until I was satisfied.
Dallas Day 2:
My mind was on track to take pics of everything I ate so here we have it:
Corner Bakery for breakfast I had a veggie scramble, turkey sausages, one slice of toast with a little jelly, a couple of bits of my daughters pancakes, a side of fruit, and an iced coffee, one lemon cookie from Maggiano’s in the car en route to the arboretum, my prepped Cinnamon Apple Pancake Roll Ups in the car leaving the arboretum (thanks again food prep for not letting me go hungry), pulled pork sandwich and mac & cheese for dinner at The Pecan Lodge (also stole some brisket from my husband), and I ended my last night in Dallas with a sun butter sandwich and Roasted Dandelion Root Tea.
QUICK TIP re: cold packs!!!
I anticipated not being able to use my freezer packs on the trip back to San Diego the following morning, but wanted to make sure they were at least somewhat cold. When I went to put them in the mini fridge, I decided to place them on the little shelf/cooler area in hopes it would get as cold as possible. When I woke up the next morning to pack up, the packs were FROZEN solid!!! Awesome huh?
Dallas Day 3:
First of all… shout out to the Dallas airport for having a 7-11!!! Can I just say how freaking convenient this was??? I was able to grab a few snacks for my daughter, a liter of water for my BCAA’s, a Greek yogurt, AND even got to heat up my cold scrambled eggs!!!
And this is what my entire day of eating ended up looking like:
Denny’s for breakfast where I had an egg white scramble with spinach & tomatoes, 1/2 of my english muffin with jelly, turkey bacon, and a few bits of my husbands hash browns. At the airport while waiting to depart, I had my prepped scrambled eggs (clearly I don’t have a problem eating eggs LOL) and an iced coffee from Starbuck’s. We also grabbed some food/dinner we would eat on the plane before we departed. I had a spinach salad with walnuts, strawberries, cucumber, and a low calorie vinaigrette. I ate my last serving of bread & peanut butter with my salad. For my airplane dessert, I had my blondie from The Protein Bakery. And I ended my day of eating at the San Diego airport (while waiting for my husband to grab the checked luggage from baggage claim) with a Greek yogurt and 1/2 of my ‘Snap Back‘ cookie.
I think my nutrition was pretty damn good if you ask me! Even though I didn’t track anything, I have a relative idea of where my calories were at each day, made good choices, had balanced meals, wasn’t afraid to eat out, didn’t have to bring along EVERY meal for the trip, and most importantly I didn’t ever feel restricted in ANY way. I was able to experience the trip without worrying about my food and what I was going to eat every single second.
Personally, I think some people think they may be “flexible dieters”, but if you feel the need to weigh every gram of your food EVERY single day, have to plan EVERY single meal out, will only eat at restaurants that have nutritional information available, or have anxiety about always being perfect with your macros/calories, are afraid to eat certain foods… you do NOT have a balanced approach to nutrition OR a healthy relationship with food. It’s one thing if you are in prep for a show and are at crunch time, but for the average person just looking to stay and look healthy for the long term… it’s perfectly OK to LIVE (and by LIVE I mean not be so rigid with food).
As always, balance, moderation, flexibility… even when traveling!