Fueling On the Go
Do you travel for work? Commute long hours by car or train? Double as a taxi driver for your children? Eating a balanced diet of lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables takes weekly organization. Striving for this goal while on the go, however, takes even more planning and focus. Don’t stress – by practicing the 3 P’s of nutrition (planning, preparing, and packing), you can keep your daily intake healthy even when on the move!
Take a look at your upcoming week. For days you’ll get home late (work meeting, evening cycling class, or daughter’s soccer game), plan to make a crockpot meal like chicken tacos, pot roast with carrots, barbeque pork tenderloin, or vegetarian chili. That way you’ll have a healthy meal ready to go on your busiest days.
If you’ll be commuting longer than usual, plan to purchase extra on-the- go snacks to carry in your purse, backpack, or car that week. Whole fruit (apples, bananas, oranges), raw nuts and seeds, tuna packs, dry-roasted edamame, freeze-dried fruit, rice cakes with nut butter, bars (Lara, Rx, KIND Nuts & Spices, Quest), and water are all great snacking options. If you carry a lunchbox with an ice pack, you can also plan to purchase some individual Greek yogurts, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, and hummus with veggies.
Flying out of state for work? Plan ahead by scoping out the restaurants in the area. If you have a favorite healthy go-to restaurant like Panera Bread, book a hotel nearby for an easy lunch or dinner. Opt for hotels with continental breakfast – always good to start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt. As a bonus, they usually have whole pieces of fruit that you can take for snacks later in your work day.
After planning what foods and snacks you’ll need for the week, it’s time to prepare by shopping for these items. Make sure to write down all ingredients needed for your weekly meals. Purchase produce that is in season. Buy single-serving options if convenience is key, or buy in bulk and break down into your own single-serving baggies or containers. Wash, chop, and divide up fruits and vegetables right when you get home from the grocery store. You will be 100% more likely to grab those fresh strawberries if they are already clean and pre-portioned.
If you are traveling out of state, check the restaurant menu beforehand so you can choose the best option for your nutrition goals. If you get a say in your dinner location, choose a place with a variety of lean meat and vegetable options. Places with salad bars can be a guaranteed way to get your veggies in.
Now that the prepping is done, it is time to pack! Packing your meals and snacks the night before ensures an easy grab and go morning. Invest in a lunchbox or cooler if you don’t have one yet – it makes packing for meals and snacks easier, especially if you’re on the move during the day. If you are packing food in your carry-on for a flight, make sure you don’t have any liquids (this includes nut butters and yogurts). If you are bringing other snacks and whole fruit, pack these items inside a plastic bag so they don’t get smashed or leak. Bring an empty water bottle to pass through security, and then fill it up once you are at your gate.
Take Home Message
We are all busy from time to time, and there are always going to be meals and snacks you must eat while walking, driving, flying, and sitting on a bus or train. But, as long as you plan, prepare, and pack ahead of time, you’ll be more in control of the foods you eat and drink while on the go. Safe travels!