I just returned from being in Milwaukee for a week for our daughter's wedding. It occurred to me that not everyone is familiar with how to stay on their diet while traveling, so I figured I would provide some pointers.
I used to travel quite a bit before social media exploded. I did a lot of seminars or "workshops" or whatever the hell you want to call them. These were much more popular before IG, YouTube exploding, etc. I would also spend 5 to 7 days at a time training clients all over the country. I had to find a way to stay on my diet because I'm the type of person who gets fat very fast. To stay lean, I have to be very rigid with my diet plan. Eating Chick-fil-A and Chipotle may work for someone with a fast metabolism, but it damn sure won't work for me (and probably not for you, either).
I found basically two options: Bringing my own food with me or getting my food when I arrived wherever it was I was going.
Bringing prepared food with you can be a good idea if you only plan to be out of town for 2-3 days. However, it's a pain in the ass to keep your cooked protein from going bad without proper refrigeration until you get to your destination. It also makes for a pretty bulky carry-on. I don't recommend putting your cooked foods in checked baggage. My luck, I would arrive with my clothes covered in chicken-breast juice and quinoa.
You might trust restaurants but I do not. Restaurants need to add things to their food to make it taste good or you won't come back and eat there again. No one ever has made a plain chicken breast that tastes good, so something has to be added to the chicken to make it taste better. The things that are added to meat to make it taste better, do not help to keep you lean or get you lean. And restaurants don't give a shit about your diet or your obsessive food preferences. For these reasons, I don't bother with restaurant food unless I'm skiploading.
My answer to the problem is what I did while in Milwaukee for the week, and what I have done for almost every trip I have taken since 2008. I take enough meals to get me to my destination and when I arrive, I immediately find a Whole Foods. My go-to foods are simple but effective and healthy options. Plus, if you go to any Whole Foods you will find the same options with the same ingredients. For someone who is OCD like I am, I like consistency. Here is what I almost always buy for my food options:
- Garlic Rosemary Chicken Breasts
They are already cooked and only need to be reheated. They are in the prepared-food section of Whole Foods that has a glass case and you tell the person behind the counter what you want. This is not deli meat; it is real, cooked chicken breasts without much of anything added to it other than olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
2. Roasted Potatoes or Quinoa
For complex carbs, these are my two options, though I will sometimes also get McCann's steel-cut oats, too.
Again, the potatoes and quinoa are already cooked and just need to be reheated.
3. Fresh-ground Peanut or Almond Butter
Every single one of you know what this is. The machine grinds the nuts and the nut-butter (ew) comes out of the little fountain thingy. You know, the thing that you have tried to put your mouth under like it was a soft-serve machine but instead of ice cream, peanut butter comes out.
4. Dill Pickles
Anyone dieting knows that dill pickles are awesomeness.
If my diet is higher in fat at the time, I will make sure to also pick up cheese.
No, the diet does not have a lot of variety, but it's only for 5-7 days, and nothing has to be cooked. You just have to keep everything refrigerated. Of course, I always pack protein powder, as well. These 5 items at Whole Foods, along with protein powder, keep me 100% on my diet while I'm away for the week, and I don't have to worry about the quality of the food and what is in my food.
If you want to be extra anal, bring a set of measuring cups and/or your food scale with you when you travel. Otherwise, most of us can accurately eyeball portion sizes for the foods we eat the most.
If you complain about how you can't stay on your diet while you are out of town, you are being lazy and you aren't motivated to stay on your diet. Even if you don't go to Whole Foods, most regular grocery stores have prepared foods like full chickens for 5 or 6 bucks, some kind of potato, rice, or quinoa, and every store has nuts, cheese, and peanut butter. Hell, cans of tuna will suffice if you prefer to not pay the higher price for the prepared chicken breast at Whole Foods.
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