Okay, maybe this meal is not free. However, it is not overpriced, salty, and tasteless airplane food. Here’s one of my go-to meals when traveling. Yes, it does require some food prep, but your stomach will thank me later!
- cooked quinoa
- kalamata olives
- feta cheese
- sliced cucumber
- grape tomatoes
- shredded kale and/or spinach
- fresh herb (your choice! I like basil or oregano)
- sliced red bell pepper
- lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- baked eggplant slices
- whole wheat lavash bread, tortilla, or pita
Make a little eggplant and salad sandwich on your whole grain!
- bonus dressing for sandwhich – mix minced garlic and fresh basil with canola mayo
Essentials to Make This a Success
- Frozen ice pack
I like to freeze water inside of a food storage bag and use it as an ice pack. You can empty melted ice water as it melts during your travels. Plus, you can reuse the bag on your return trip. A frozen bag of water does NOT count as a liquid according to TSA. Tip: double bag it to eliminate excess condensation as your homemade ice pack melts.
- Insulated food bag
This is an easy way to store your food and keep it chilled (and sanitary) while traveling. Note: Organic (raw) foods tend to trigger TSA systems. You might get pulled to the side and asked what’s in your bag.
- Plastic fork and spoon
- Hand sanitizer
- Food storage bag or recyclable plastic container to store foods.
And you’re welcome.
One of our newsletter subscribers travels a lot for work and asked us for advice about eating healthy and maintaining some sort of fitness regimen when on the road.
Here are a few tips I shared with her.
- Stay away from fast and fried foods as much as possible!
- ALWAYS order a salad with dressing on the side.
- ALWAYS request a microwave and fridge in your hotel room and USE THEM for quick, healthy meals and snacks (e.g., oatmeal, Greek yogurt, bottled water, fruit, egg whites, hardboiled eggs – boil them in coffee machine)
- Find a local grocery store and purchase a few things to keep in room and purse
- Identify healthy “go-to” meals at healthier restaurants such as Panera,
- ALWAYS schedule time to use the hotel gym AND use it!
- Pack workout gear
- Walk to destinations when you can
- BEWARE of high sodium foods when eating out. Most meals when dining out are BIG sodium traps!
- Eat frequently and in smaller amounts.
- Pack healthy snacks.
- ALWAYS bring a reusable water bottle and keep it filled! (TIP: refill it for free at the hotel’s fitness center)
What do I mean by this?
Today’s blog was inspired by one of my personal training clients. Over the weekend I asked her to brainstorm some ways she can maintain both her fitness and nutrition regimen while out of town at a professional conference. When our Monday evening training session commenced, I asked her if she had given any thought to her anticipated travel schedule later this month.
Her responses blew me away!
Needless to say, her ideas fill almost all of the content of today’s blog post. Let’s call her ideas CFWTs…that’s short for Conference Fitness & Wellness Tips.
CFWT #1: Think about what you NEED to support your fitness and wellness goals.
Extra soft pillows?
An extra large refrigerator to store all of the fresh foods you purchase at a nearby market?
No coffee maker with cream and sugar packets in the room? (eliminate the temptation) No wet bar with alcoholic beverages? (once again, eliminate temptation)
Maybe a tea kettle and caffeine free tea packets instead of coffee?
A room far from or close to the elevator and/or ice machine?
A pool? Free weights? Resistance bands?
Maybe you need to buy a small, travel sized foam roller or resistance band to bring with you…
*Student Affairs administrator, Tara Rabinowitz, recently suggested bringing your favorite protein or superfood shake and shaker cup.
Think about your environment at home and what makes it affirming of your fitness and wellness goals and daily practices. How can you recreate some of those elements while traveling. Make a list and have it handy for CFWT #2…
CFWT #2: Call the conference hotel at least one week BEFORE your conference. Find out if they have a fitness center, a microwave and/or refrigerator in your guest room, what restaurants are onsite or nearby, and see if there are any local hiking, biking, walking, running trails and parks.
Ask for what you need. If you don’t ask for it, the hotel will not provide it. You may be surprised about the accommodations they can make for you IN ADVANCE.
CFWT #3: Proactively identify ways you can eat unprocessed, whole-grain, fresh, organic and non-GMO (if possible) and nutrient rich foods during your trip.
My client told me her partner will mail her a care package full of healthy foods. This way she does not have to shop for it when she arrives at her conference hotel. She’ll be all set from Day 1!
Can you pack a travel size cooler that you can bring filled up with your favorite healthy goodies to your conference sessions?
Do you know some of the places you may “have” to eat at for networking and social events? Can you access the menu PRIOR to your trip? Figure out what the healthy meals and possibilities can be before you arrive at the restaurant.
Have a back up plan!
Bring a refillable water bottle or buy a few big 2L bottles and store them in your room so you can drink at least 1 per day.
CFWT #4: Get your hands on the conference agenda IN ADVANCE.
First, identify everything you MUST attend.
Second, identify everything you WANT to attend (maybe mark this in a different color).
Third, identify time in the days you will dedicate to implementing your fitness workout, showering, AND eating. Be willing to compromise your WANTS for your fitness and wellness goals for the week.
If you do all of this in advance, you should be able to find someone who can grab extra handouts and any other resources shared at some of the “WANT” sessions you will not attend.
Lastly, tell somebody at the conference about your fitness and wellness plan for the weekend/week. Maybe invite that person to one of your workouts or alternative healthy meals. Ask someone from back home to check-in with you daily and ask about your daily fitness and nutrition.
Learn more tips about maintaining fitness while traveling! <— that’s a link to my August 2013 blogpost about this topic. Go ahead, click on it.
Safe travels everyone!
Here are a few tips that help me maintain my fitness regimen while traveling. Enjoy!
Pack all of your gear. The chances are if you pack it you will probably use it. Similarly, if you don’t pack any workout gear, I think it’s safe to assume you will not work out. Bring everything it takes for you to maximize your workout. I typically bring my iPod, headphones, sunglasses, watch, water bottle, chewing gum, sunblock, a couple scarves to tie my hair down (I have long, heavy dreadlocks) sneakers, socks, top and bottom. If needed, you can pack one workout outfit and hand wash it immediately afterwards and let it dry during the day. I typically pack two so I can wash and wear.
Stay at a facility with a fitness center inside or nearby. Be selective and stay at facilities with a good workout facility (look for online photos). I highly suggest you call the hotel in advance and ask them specifically what type of equipment they have and how old it is. I have learned several hotels acquire outdated equipment from local gyms. You may also have the option of utilizing a travel pass from your current gym. Ask, find out, and check to see if there are any locations near your travel destination.
Find out if there are any playgrounds or parks nearby. Parks aren’t just for children. They are FREE outdoor gyms for adults, too! You can do pull-ups on the monkey bars, dips on the jungle gym, step ups on the bench, lunges on the grass, suspended rows on the swings, and more! You can also check out any national, regional, and state parks nearby. They usually have hiking/biking/walking/jogging trails.
Walk/run the emergency exit stairs inside your hotel or a nearby multilevel building. All multi-floor buildings have steps. Find them and start climbing.
Do exercises that require NO equipment. For example, you can do push ups, squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, planks, burpees, bird dogs, walk, jog, and more!
Maximize time waiting in line. Do calf raises, arm curls with your bag(s), squats, wall-sits, and stretch. Deep breathing is always a great strategy when waiting in line, too!
Pre-pack healthy snacks and drink plenty of water. This saves you money and it properly fuels your body. I usually bring fruit, veggies, oatmeal, protein/energy/granola bars, nuts, tea bags, and water. All you need is hot water to cook the oatmeal and steep the tea! It’s pretty easy to become dehydrated while traveling. Don’t feel bad for making the driver stop at rest areas or making the people in your row on the plane get up so you can use the restroom. Stay hydrated. We should all be getting up, moving, and stretching every 30-45 minutes anyways.
Rest and early rise. It’s common to go to bed late and get up late while on vacation, but I’ve learned that I prefer to workout in the morning so I have flexibility throughout the rest of my day to enjoy my vacation. But in order to get up early, I need to go to bed at a decent hour. The moral of the story is to create and honor a vacation fitness regimen that supports your preferences.
Talk to locals about any popular outdoor physical activity locations. Sometimes there may be an outdoor track or athletic fields people use throughout the week at select times. (Be careful not to conflict with school and sports league schedules.) I know there are several hidden and not so hidden places for great hikes, stair climbing, and rolling hills for runs/walks. Talk to people and learn more about your environment.
Proactively add more steps to your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park further away from your destination. Walk instead of drive. Use the crosswalk instead of jaywalking. Walk the scenic (longer) route instead of the more convenient, shorter route. Do someone else a favor by walking back to get something accidentally forgotten.
Go solo (and be safe). Sometimes the people we travel with do not have similar ways of maintaining their fitness. For example, they may say they want to work out with you, but don’t want to get up early for a morning jog. They may even pack their workout gear with no intention of using it. They may be too caught up in social media—taking pictures of their sneakers or other stuff and tweeting, facebooking, and instagramming instead of focusing on the actual workout. The moral of the story, you may be better off going solo. Be safe though. Use discretion if you use headphones. I often only use one earbud so I can hear and be more aware of my immediate surroundings.
Make exercise be your vacation! Go to state park and hike the trails. Rent a bike and ride through the local area. Go roller/ice skating! Play golf. Participate in a local walking/running fundraiser race. Go kayaking or white water rafting. Go mountain climbing. You get the idea…
What do you do to maintain your fitness when you travel?