Great food and meal prep ideas to help you stay on track with your fitness while traveling! Be flexible, practice moderation, and ENJOY your experience! Take your nutrition seriously, but not so seriously it prevents you from living your life!
Even after 8+ months of dealing with my ongoing health issues and not being able to exercise or lift at all, I take pride in the fact that my nutrition is still 100% under control. I spent 3+ years learning everything I could about macronutrients (calories), ratios & portions that were appropriate for me and my goals, foods that worked better for my body, and more importantly… NOT keeping myself in a caloric deficit (AKA dieting). As a result, it’s been a completely effortless transition for life long ‘maintenance’. I may no longer weigh portions, track my macros/calories, or even step on a scale myself, but I continue to practice “flexible eating” and moderation when it comes to food… even while traveling.
Most of the time when a fitness fanatic travels I see one of two things: A. extremely strict and rigid eating habits such as bringing a scale everywhere you go to weigh food, obsessing about restaurant nutritional information, prepping/packing the majority of their meals for the trip, and logging every single calorie eaten OR B. a ‘vacation’ becomes an excuse to throw any and all nutritional guidelines out the window.
Why why why choose either options???
Instead of taking one path or the other, why not find a balance somewhere in the middle? Remain aware of portions, make protein/fiber/veggies a priority when you can, prep/pack a few nutrient dense meals and snacks, practice moderation & flexibility, BUT also enjoy yourself and the experiences you are supposed to be having. I assure you 20 years down the line, you will not want to remember how on track you stayed with your nutrition… you will want to reminisce on the activities, relationships, and FOOD you are exposed to. Life is too short to constantly obsess about staying “on track”.
This years annual trip to Lake Tahoe was definitely much different than previous years for me, but in a good way. Looking back now, it was probably a little bit ridiculous to pack up & haul along 90% of the everyday foods I was eating at the time. That is definitely NOT practicing flexible dieting/eating. This year was so so different. I prepped and packed a couple of meals for the long drive, snacks, supplements, and only a few daily necessities. Traveling and staying “on track” is SO much easier (and enjoyable) when you’ve chosen a way of eating that is NOT restrictive and bans ABC and XYZ from your diet!
My rule of thumb when packing food for a trip is easy: focus on protein, fiber, and an assortment of more nutrient dense snacks. Carbs and fat are easy to come by so I usually reserve those macros for the fun food and dining on the journey! As always, when I’m planning on being away from home for more than 6-8 hours… I grab my FitMark Shield LG and stuff it FULL of everything I need!
I’m usually pretty amazed at how much I can pack in this bag…
For the Tahoe trek, in my FitMark containers went: 2 prepped low carb/high protein meals (sautéed slaw blend with shredded chicken, liquid aminos, chia and sesame seeds), fresh veggies (mini bell peppers, cucumbers, and snap peas), fresh fruit (grapes), and hard boiled eggs.
Next items were a few supplements and extras I knew I would eat during the week: cacao nibs (toppings for yogurt, smoothies, ice cream, etc.), PB2 (powdered peanut butter), PEScience protein powders (Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter Cup, and Gourmet Vanilla), and PEScience BCAA’S.
Protein & Snack Bars: Detour ‘Salted Caramel Cookie Dough‘, SquareBars ‘Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter‘, Power Crunch ‘Triple Chocolate‘ & ‘French Vanilla‘, Quest ‘Cookie Dough‘ and ‘Apple Pie‘, Mighty Bar ‘Bacon & Apple‘, and Hemp Heart ‘Apple Cinnamon‘.
Unlike previous years where I packed up entire jars of my precious nut butters, this year I opted to go with these cute little ‘on the go’ packs which are MUCH more travel friendly. I use my nut butters on sandwiches, in my proyo (protein yogurt), ice cream, or even taken by the spoonful (or packet full)! I also found these Hemp hearts at Sprouts which I sprinkle on my salads, oatmeal, stir fry’s, and/or smoothies.
And the last thing I packed in my FitMark bag were these Kodiak ‘Power Cakes Unleashed On The Go‘ flapjacks. These are genius. Seriously. These are perfect for road trips because all you have to do is add water and heat. Since nearly all of the larger gas stations have microwaves available, you can eat one of these while filling up your tank! Healthy whole grain carbs, some protein, and if you top it with some nut butter… you have all of your macros accounted for!
Let’s load everything in… prepare to be amazed folks!
Containers go in the main compartment along with the ice packs, bars & nut butter packs went in the top pocket, daily dandelion tea packs/most used stevia sweeteners (English toffee & Lemon)/and on the go Starbucks Via coffee packs in the front pocket, powders and supplements in one side pocket, and my Kodiak flapjacks in the opposite pocket. Can you believe ALL of this fits so nice & neat into 14.75″L x 8.5″W x 9.5″H area of space? SO happy I went with the LG Shield!
So with my bag packed and extra car snackage on deck, we were off to Lake Tahoe. This is what my view looked like most of the time:
In addition to the food I packed, there was also plenty of rest stop snackage along the way, a quick & easy dinner at Chipotle, and nibbles on the one bag of snacks I brought in the car.
As for accommodations, a few years ago we switched out regular hotel rooms for condos & townhouses. More room, laundry, and more importantly… a full kitchen! Having the luxury of a refrigerator to store food, the ability to make meals, and access to a stove & microwave are a huge bonus! This is what our kitchen in Lake Tahoe looks like every year:
After a good nights rest, the first thing we did was hit up the grocery store! Again, unlike previous years where I went totally overboard with the shopping & food, this time I went with the bare necessities. Focus on protein (eggs/egg whites, roasted chicken, Greek yogurt), breakfast items (hash browns, sausages, egg whites, cashew milk, whole milk), and fresh produce. I didn’t get a picture, but we also grabbed some cereal, chips, cookies, and other fun food!
Each breakfast and nearly all of our lunches were eaten at the townhouse and we ate out for dinner each night. Here is a glance at my “flexible eating” for the week…
Drink of choice at restaurants (Lemon Sweet Leaf Stevia, fresh squeezed lemons, water):
Huge salads for micronutrients… something I eat EVERY single day:
Favorite way to enjoy my PEScience protein (cold brewed coffee, milk chocolate protein, ice):
And here are a few things I ate on the drive back home (blueberries & prepped/scrambled eggs & sausage, Denny’s, prepped salad)
Does it get any more “flexible” than that? Some basic food/meal prep, mindful eating, appropriate portion sizes, zero deprivation, and most importantly… food NEVER dictates my life or experiences, it only adds to its awesome-ness!!!
CourtneyApril 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm
Loved this post! Whenever I go on vacation I have a hard time finding balance. This gives me more ideas for whenever I travel! Enjoy your blog a lot!