PART II- EATING HEALTHY ON THE ROAD
In part I of this blog, I talked about how I keep up with my fitness and training on the road. In this blog, I'll talk a little more about the extremes that Matt and I go to, to eat healthy. Again, as I've said before, a little planning and effort will go a long way. When we're on the road we attempt to stick to a diet that resembles our diet at home as closely as possible. This includes trips to the grocery store and food prep, with minimal meals out. Not only does this help us stick to a budget, but it helps us stay on track with our health and fitness goals. As I said in my last blog, I welcome the challenge of getting creative with fitness and food and get great satisfaction out of some of the amazing meals Matt and I have created from a hotel room.
Now, obviously, this can all be done much easier if your hotel room has a kitchen or you opt to do a home rental through VRBO or Airbnb. If you haven't checked out those sites I suggest you do. They've come in very handy for me in the past and on many occasions are cheaper than hotels while offering all the amenities you would find at home. If you're planning a trip with a large group, this almost always ends up being WAY cheaper than individual hotel rooms and it has afforded us the chance to stay in some amazing homes. For longer stays and when we have control over our rental (which is not always the case on work trips) I would definitely recommend looking into a hotel with a kitchen or a house rental. In the cases where we do not have a kitchen we've come up with a few creative ideas that hopefully you'll find useful.
Let's start with BREAKFAST:
Matt and I just recently discovered the aeropress coffee maker. For you coffee snobs out there that don't like crummy coffee, but don't want to spend money on coffee out everyday (or an expensive espresso maker for your home), this is the way to go. You can buy one of these babies for around 30 bucks on Amazon. That's less than most people spend in a week on their daily Starschmucks. The aeropress makes awesome coffee that tastes like freshly drawn espresso shots. Plus, it's super simple and easy to use. So how do you boil the water for the coffee? Two options. Since most hotel rooms do have a drip coffee maker in the room, you could heat water by passing it through the coffee maker (without the coffee of course) and use this in your aeropress. OR, you could get the next handy dandy thing that we love to travel with... an electric tea kettle. This not only heats water in a matter of seconds for you, BUT it can also be used for possibly one of my favorite hotel-room breakfast hacks... EGGS!!!
Just drop those eggs into your tea kettle, bring to a boil and VOILA!!! You can have soft- or hard-boiled eggs in a matter of minutes.
The next item we love to travel with is our Nutribullet. The Nutribullet allows us to make healthy shakes AND most importantly it allows us to whip up our grass-fed buttered coffees in the morning. Yes, I do mean adding butter to coffee. I would imagine most of you have heard of this by now, but for those of you that have not, google it :) I've mentioned before that I follow a pretty high-fat diet and try to keep carbs to a minimum. I will save the reasons for this for another blog, but if you haven't figured out yet that a high-carb, high-sugar diet is bad for you, then you've got yourself some reading to do.
For shakes we often use coconut milk or cream. If traveling to a small town with minimal grocery options and you're concerned you might not be able to find coconut milk you can buy cans of it (ideally cans that are BPA free) and throw them in your suitcase. Add a few berries to that coconut milk, blend, and you've got yourself a delicious shake. This is great also as a breakfast option, or a post-workout meal. (P.S. Don't forget the can opener!)
Some other essentials for making meals from your hotel room:
1.) A knife for cutting veggies (even a small pocket knife often will do the trick)
2.) A cutting board (optional)
3.) Tupperware or plates, utensils, and ziploc bags (Kitchen camping gear is great for this)
4.) Can opener
LUNCH & DINNER:
Most of our meals comprise of some protein, a lot of fat and a healthy side of veggies. If we're traveling without a kitchen the bulk of our meals consist of a large raw salad.
When we are flying in somewhere and the hotel only has a small fridge we will do our best to keep just a few key items cold like greens, veggies, berries and eggs. Another tip is to use the ice bucket in your room to keep something like a yogurt cold or even a half dozen eggs (out of the carton) on ice. In the morning you can pick a few out of the ice and prepare in your tea kettle.
When we are traveling by car, we prep and make as much food ahead of time as we can. We carry it in a cooler that we take to the hotel room with us. (The bellmen are always excited to see us roll up in our giant van with 20 bags, bikes and coolers :) Actually, they help us get to our room and in return make a great tip, leaving everyone happy :) ) In the photo below you can see how we use the bathroom in the hotel room to basically set up our kitchen. I know, I know, stop thinking about the fact that you are sh*tting where your food is. Get over it. This works! (Besides, for those of you trying to restore and replenish that gut bacteria, this is probably a good thing for you, right? Kidding!) We put the cooler in the bathtub so that when the ice melts we can drain it directly into the tub and we use the ice machine in the hotel to add more ice daily to keep our food fresh and cold. Yes, I know, some of you are thinking about how much work this seems to be... Quit your whining!! With work, comes good things and good things don't come for free :)
When traveling by plane here are just a few food items we will pack into checked and carry-on luggage:
- Canned tuna or canned wild-caught salmon
- Canned coconut milk
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Small packs of nut and seed butters
- Healthy nut and seed bars (homemade or store-bought)
- A frozen block of grass-fed butter
- Beef jerky
- Sometimes I throw an avocado in my carry-on to tie me over until I can find some good, quality food
- I'm sure I'm missing a few things... Any ideas you'd like to share with me?
Hope this helps. I know for some of you this is definitely going to an extreme, but for those of you that are looking to maintain your health and not throw it all down the drain every time you travel, hopefully I've given you some tips to make that a little easier next time.