Do you have to travel across multiple time zones for work? If so, you have multiple factors to consider. We will start with food and drink tips.
On your travel day and/or on the day you have to “perform,” maintain steady energy and power up your mind:
- Hold the sugar, wheat and alcohol. In addition to increasing your waistline, this causes your energy levels to fluctuate and also messes with your circadian rhythm.
- Stay hydrated. A water bottle can be refilled at many airports and at your destination. Drink lots of clear liquids, especially water or other unsweetened beverages like unsweetened tea, coffee (cream ok) or flavored sparkling water. Make sure you are drinking extra fluids when you are very physically active, in hot weather, or if you are high altitude, such as on a plane. You are mostly water, so keep the fluids flowing.
- It’s better NOT to eat if you are not hungry. If you skip a meal because there aren’t good food options for you, that’s ok- we call that “Intermittent Fasting”. *Note: If you take medications for blood sugars or diabetes, talk to your doctor about timing your medications and foods as you travel across time zone.
- The other option would be to pack travel friendly high performance fuels for those times when choices are limited. Have options that will satisfy your needs: salty, crunchy, creamy, etc.
- As a last resort, consider meal replacements with monk fruit or stevia (ie. Vega Essentials) as a sweetener or NO sweetener (ie. Bob’s Red Mill Protein & Fiber Nutritional Booster). Stay away from sucralose or fruit juice if possible as they will cause you to be more hungry very soon after. Look at the nutrition label and confirm NET carbs 5 grams or less. (Total carbohydrates in grams – Dietary Fiber in grams = NET carbs)
Have any other tips for eating or drinking while traveling, AND maintaining your steady energy and powering your mind?
If you are traveling for work and you need to eat to fuel your body and mind, but won’t have always have time or access for healthy whole food choices and fresh vegetables, here are some options to consider packing for your travels.
***Remember that your essential fuels include water, proteins (amino acids) and fats. “Essential” means you have to eat or drink it because your body cannot make it. ***
This list was originally created for flight attendants who travel frequently, may not have access to many healthy food options and who need to be able to perform at their peak for long periods of time. Since this was originally created, there have been some modifications and many requests for copies of this list from business travelers, college students and medical professionals.
- Deli roll ups – freeze (thaw for first half or shorter trips)
- Deli roll ups or cheese quesadillas made w/ Mission Carb Balance or FlatOut tortillas
- Hard boiled eggs (invest <$20 in an egg steamer that will make easy peel hard boiled eggs) (requires refrigeration)
- Deviled eggs (requires refrigeration)
- Cottage cheese (on way to airport) (requires refrigeration)
- Oikos triple zero yogurt
- Two Good yogurt
- Chobani or Fage full fat Plain Greek Yogurt (optional add any: nuts, nut butter, cocoa nibs, hemp seeds, chias seeds, ¼ berries)
- Shelf-stable cheese sticks
- Babybel cheese, (requires refrigeration)
- Cheese crisps
- Moon Cheese (Starbucks)
- Make your own: microwave small amounts of cheese on parchment paper. Or place the cheese mounds on parchment paper into the oven at 320F (160c) and bake for 5 minutes.
- Starkist tuna & salmon packets
- Bumble Bee Seasoned Tuna (with spoon)
- Canned sardines
- Quest bars (Avoid the ones with sucralose listed as an ingredient)
- Epic meat bars
- Just the Cheese bars (crunchy)
- Vega One or Orgain protein powder (make or buy individual packets), add to bottled water
- Trader Joe’s beef, turkey, or salmon jerky
- Sabra Hummus packs
- Dang or Bare toasted coconut flakes
- Wholly Guacamole mini’s
- Adapt bars (small & filling, various flavors, keto friendly)
- Macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts
- Blue Diamond flavored almonds
- Nut and seed butters (almond, peanut butter)
- Jif To Go Natural peanut butter
- Rx nut butter (honey cinnamon PB, vanilla almond butter, plain PB-5 or 6 net carbs so limit to 1)
- Justin’s almond or peanut butter (classic)
- Yumbutter squeeze packs (sunflower, almond, peanut)
- Soom tahini squeeze packs
- Nut packs
- Sahale snacks all natural nut blends
- Imperial nuts energy blend
- Patagonia Provisions savory seeds
- Nut Harvest nut & fruit mix
- Emerald salt & pepper cashew 100 calorie packs
- Homemade trail mix
- Combine your favorite: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Pearls Olives To Go!
- Oloves (olives)
- Mario Camacho brineless Snack olives
- Trader Joe’s Handful of Olives packets
- Olive Pickle Pak
- Veg with salad dressing or dips that are NOT sweet.
- Dill pickles
- Trail mix extras:
- Montmorency dried tart cherries, dark chocolate chips, or unsweetened coconut flakes
- Chips and crackers and crunchy
- Pork rinds
- Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks (plain or wasabi)
- Rhythm superfoods kale chips
- Splitz original crunchy split pea crisp snacks
- Seapoint farms dry roasted edamame
- Biena roasted chick pea snacks
- Saffron Road crunchy chickpeas
- Smoked salmon wrap– put smoked salmon in iceberg lettuce, add avocado, a few capers and cream cheese
- Lark Ellen Farm Grain Free Granola Bites – Vanilla Cinnamon
- Norwegian Baked Knekkebrod crisp bread
- Qi’a Superfood Organic Hot Oatmeal in creamy coconut
- Crepes: Crepini Egg White Thins
- Emmy’s 2 oz. lemon ginger macaroons – spicy and sweet
- Lindt 70% dark chocolate
- Unreal dark chocolate PB cups
- GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals
- Cocoa Nibs
- Instant chocolate mousse– blend 1 avocado + 1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened) + sweetener to taste
- Trader Joe’s Organic coconut sesame clusters snack
- Whole Foods 365 Candied Walnuts
- Hu Get back to Human Chocolate covered hunks (chocolate covered cashews)
- Teas such as Tazo, Yogi, etc.
- Instant Green Tea Powder (mix with water)
- La Croix (Flavored sparkling water)
- Bubly (Flavored sparkling water)
- Starbucks VIA instant coffee
- Half and half pods
- Fruit in water bottle to infuse water
- SeedLip (non alcoholic, “liquor”)
- Salt and pepper packets
- Hot sauce packets
- Mayonnaise packets
- Mustard packets
- Everything bagel seasoning
Water is fine. But when you want a little something else, here’s a starting list of drinks that are weight neutral and will work well on the road.
First: Find an easy travel (water) bottle: collapsible vs. roll up vs. solid stainless steel for hot or cold drinks. Then, have a few options to change up your drink options.
Airplane Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash
Keep it simple.
INCLUDE What Your Body NEEDS:
- Colorful and non-starchy Vegetables
Whole grains and whole fruit may be beneficial in specific doses depending on your weight, exercise routine and other health conditions.
AVOID What May HARM Your Body:
- Sugars of any kind including high fructose corn syrup, agave, natural sugar, etc.
- Processed foods including enriched wheat flour, white flour, corn meal, etc.
- Sweet beverages & Juice including 100% fruit juice.
Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash
Winter in the Midwest – ice cold this year, but we don’t have the 7+ feet of snow as in Boston. The cold and darkness of winter are often used as excuses as to why someone is not exercising or eating as healthy. It’s used to explain “loss of motivation” to continue to make healthy choices. This “motivation” and “effort” may resume for a short time after the NEW year, but often dwindles away again until the days get much longer and warmer.
Here’s another option. Have “seasonal” wellness plans! Figure out what you need to include to maintain a healthy lifestyle: nutrition, physical activity and relaxation & sleep. There are many ways to incorporate those into each season. They don’t all have to be the same. In fact, the body will be optimized if you change it up periodically, so why not with the seasons? So change up your healthy lifestyle routines for the different seasons.
Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing…Find what works for you.
If you workout in the mornings in the spring and summer, maybe in the winters, you meditate in the morning for a shorter duration than what your workout would have been? Maybe your workout is on the drive home from work or school or running errands- when you already are out of the house. Just DON’T go home first without the workout (as it can be hard to motivate to go out into the cold). Or maybe your workout is at home instead of at the gym. Maybe you use home workout DVD’s or smartphone exercise apps? The workout routine might be different – you may work more on strength or core training or take a different exercise class this season. If you have snow, you may choose to incorporate winter sports into you life – ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, etc. A good friend introduced me to snow shoe-ing last year, and it’s wonderful! What a treat to be out in nature and having the brightness of the snow recharge me!
You may choose to rely on the crockpot more (especially if you are going to be working out after work and have less time to cook in the evening). You may get more of your veggies in a soup or stew. These also make great lunches the next day! You may cook more winter root vegetables- they last longer after purchase (less frequent grocery shopping trips).
The winter seems to have more quiet times of the day when it might be easy to stop and meditate, even if only for a brief time. There are many smartphone apps that help facilitate and time meditation sessions. You may even find incorporating meditative activities with physical activity is the answer for winter – Tai Chi and Yoga are popular ways to get both the relaxation and physical activity in one.
Sleep changes with the seasons and with stressors. Allow yourself to have a day once a week, when you can sleep in as much as you need. It will help you bring it all together and help keep your mind young and keep you upbeat throughout winter.
Please share what works for you!
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Prioritize your health. Learn to plan and to follow a plan successfully. Make “Success” your habit.
1. Develop a PLAN. Every 2 weeks: Plan exercise in 2 week chunks. Make your exercise plan every 2 weeks.
- Sit down with notebook and calendar.
- Write how many continuous weeks you have been exercising as planned.
- Review how the last 2 weeks went & determine how you change your workout or advance it for the next 2 weeks.
- Write down what you learn from your review.
- I total the calories I burned in the last 2 weeks and the total minutes exercising.
- I make notes of what I want to do differently or if I will try a different exercise or weight.
- I note if certain music correlated with more enthusiasm or a better workout.
- Then write what you will change for the next 2 weeks, such as increasing the weights you were benching or the incline on the treadmill or the lower body exercises you are going to do in the upcoming 2 weeks.
- I write my plans for improvement
- Look on the calendar and note any significant scheduling challenges in the next 2 weeks (such as travel).
- I might move a harder workout to a better day fo th
- Look at the next 2 weeks and pick 5 days each week that you CAN workout in the morning. PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR exactly when you will work out. Include time for your shower, blow dry, etc. and your commute if applicable.
- For example, I am least motivated to workout on Monday mornings and Friday mornings- so those are my “flex” days when I don’t plan to work out. The rest of the days of the week, I will plan a workout. I figure out when I have to be on the road to work & I schedule my workout 2 hours before I go off to work. 2 hours gives me time for my planned workout & shower & getting ready for work & eating breakfast. If I will be travelling or have a particularly EARLY morning, I may move one of my workout days to Monday and/or Friday– my “flex” days.
- Make sure there is NEVER 2 days in a row without a work out.
- For example, I have been following my plan and working out Sat, Sun, (Mondays are off),Tues, Wed, & due to a family emergency, I miss Thursday (which is my usual workout day), I will make it up on Friday (instead of taking that off as would have been my usual). So, Mondays & Fridays act as my make up days, my “flex” days.
2. TRACK it. Every Workout Day: Log every workout in the notebook on the day you work out.
- Log at a minimum: date, time, what you did.
- I log my weight & my heart rate (HR) monitor data: average HR, maximum HR, calories burned. I also take a minute to rate how motivated I was prior to my workout (scale 1-3) and how much effort I put in (scale of 1-3).
- Jot down any notes on the past 24 hours including today’s workout .
- I might reflect on how much I was yawning during my workout & recognize that it is because I ate so many starchy carbohydrates yesterday. Basically, by reflecting, I am learning to read my body and understand how I am feeling and how to optimize my daily function and happiness. It is kind of like mindfulness meditation.
- Review what you will do tomorrow & make adjustments as necessary based on your reflection of the past 24 hours and how you are doing today.
Again, prioritize your health. Learn to plan and to follow a plan successfully. Make “Success” your habit.
- KEY POINT: Once it is planned, you do not deviate from the plan unless you “plan” to deviate from it at least 1 day prior to the event. Here is an example using your workout plan: you planned to work out Upper Body on Tuesday, Lower Body on Wednesday, Upper Body on Thursday. Tuesday goes great. On Wednesday, after your Lower Body workout, you realize your Upper Body is not going to be ready to do the workout that was planned on Thursday. On WEDNESDAY, you can ADJUST your original Thursday workout plan, while you are reviewing the next day’s workout. You should change the workout plan for Thursday on that Wednesday- maybe you decide you will just walk on the treadmill. Now, when you wake up on Thursday and get ready to workout, your notebook tells you the plan is to walk for 20 minutes at a brisk pace. Fine. You are still ON PLAN and being SUCCESSFUL. You know the adjustment was thoughtful and deliberate instead of because of your “mood.” You are training yourself to be healthy and successful and feel good about what you are doing.
3. Have a BACK UP Plan. ALWAYS makeup any missed workout with SOME movement.
- If possible, even if the workout will be missed, consider doing at least 5 minutes of some physical activity that will boost your heart rate.
- 8Fit is an app with quick body weight exercises that can be done without any equipment in a small space- even a dorm or hotel room.
- From the example above, that upper body workout that I planned not to do on Thursday, I will plan to make it up on the Friday morning. I put it on the calendar. I will also note that when planning my next 2 week workout schedule, I will need to reconsider if I need to change my workout pattern, the weights or the exercise(s) I am doing.
4. Keep meal planning simple. Have a plan for your basics (as back up in case you don’t have more exciting meal plan available) & modify as necessary. Here is an example of mine using drive thru which is on way to work :
- 4 Breakfast options – availability and convenience are key, I don’t have to think about it.
- At home: Eggs with baby spinach, mushrooms, feta cheese with avocado &/or tomato slices or other veggies. Tip: Make Omelette Muffins. Mix up a large bowl of 12 eggs with a handful each of: chopped vegetables (left overs from dinner the night before are fine), chopped ham/bacon/sausage/lox (optional), and grated/crumbled cheese (cheddar, swiss, goat, or feta cheeses work great) and pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes into omelette muffins. Store in the fridge or freezer for quick grab and go breakfast options that can be eaten cold or heated up.
- Home or easily transportable: Omelette muffin (above), Chia seed pudding or Plain Greek yogurt with 1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes, dash of cinnamon and 2 Tbsp almond butter. Bonus additions: chopped pecans or ground flax seeds or Chia seeds too. Occasionally, I add 1/4 c. fresh berries. If weight or carbs is not an issue for you, you can add 2 Tbsp Old Fashioned Oats and/or 6 bittersweet chocolate chips.
- Traveling/On Road/No Kitchen/No Time: Drive thru breakfast sandwich or wrap with at 2 eggs (ask for the extra egg if it only comes with 1)- key when I am not able to eat breakfast before leaving the house and the boys ate the last of my prepared breakfast options.
- Anywhere: Large iced or hot coffee with cream with plan for midmorning “snack” or late brunch out or just plan “not hungry.” Tip: If you make your own coffee at home, add cinnamon to the coffee grounds to jazz it up.
- 3 At-Work QUICK Lunch Options:
- Time crunch day- no time to prepare or plan or grab a salad: In my work refrigerator: plain Greek yogurt, almond butter, cheese, boiled eggs. Will mix up yogurt, nut butter and nuts (always in my bag) for protein power lunch.
- Bring from home: salad or prepared salad pack & leftover protein from dinner night before or salmon or tuna pack. Often, I add cheese crumbles and/or avocado to the salad. Salad dressing at work.
- In a Rush/Out of Groceries at home: Drive thru Cobb or other salad with chicken, egg or other protein on top with unsweetened iced tea.
- Dinners Vary. Make extra for lunch the next day. Always have protein & non-starchy vegetables. If no salad earlier in the day, I will have one with dinner on most days.
- Drinks: Drinks are water, black coffee & unsweetened teas.
- Desserts: Dark chocolate and berries and unsweetened fresh whipped cream, individually or in various combinations, are favorite desserts. Nuts and cheese make a nice crunchy/savory option too.
- The Day OF my plans to go out for dinner: If I am going out for dinner, ie. on Friday, I eat breakfast later and then nibble some cheese, handful of nuts or celery with peanut butter in the afternoon if I get hungry before dinner.
- Eating out: Majority of the time– keep it simple with protein & veggies. Replace the bread/fries/potato with side of veggies or salad. If I had a great workout and did not eat any sweets or starchy carbs earlier in the day, I may share a dessert.
Keep your nutrition plan simple and easy to keep track of. Eat lots of veggies and eat your protein and stay hydrated. You don’t need to spend energy thinking up new ideas or figuring out what you need to eat when you are in a panic or have limited choices. Plan ahead and be prepared. Follow your plan.
5. Develop Self Compassion. Perfection is not the goal. You are human. Striving towards excellence as a human, as the most perfect version of you, means that sometimes, there are deviations. In those moments, practice saying to yourself: “I am doing the best that I can, right now.” Then, let it go.
Tomorrow, you can choose to reflect and learn from it. Ask yourself if there was something you could learn from that experience. For example:
- Reflect: Was there something, a person, an event, a place, that triggered the deviation or altered your plans?
- Learn: Is there anything you can do differently in the future under similar circumstances?
- Reaffirm: Repeat to yourself, “I am doing the best that I can, right now.” Then, move forward as a wiser and more prepared You.
Summary: Prioritize your health. Learn to plan and to follow a plan successfully. Make “Success” your habit.
This post is in honor of my mom.
Photo by STIL on Unsplash
Posted in Exercise, Habits & Behavior Change, nutrition, performance
Tagged exercise, habit, health, how to, nutrition, planning, success, workout