Ready, Set, Jet! Healthy Eating on the Go

Summer schedules are heating up—and whether you’re hitting the road for vacation, work travel, or carpooling your little ones—sticking to a healthy routine can be challenging if you’re not prepared. Just as you schedule your Ascend rides to keep your fitness on track, a little forward thinking can keep healthy eating in check. Here at Ascend, we’ve got you covered on the food front with some key recommendations to keep energy levels up and hunger at bay while on your travels.

Where to start? Get organized with these 6 tips:

1.     First and foremost, plan it out. Determine how long you’ll be en route so you know how many hours worth of meals/snacks you’ll need. Decide what you want to bring, prepare at home, or pick up from the store (queue the list making). Research what options are available in the airport or near your hotel. Eat before you leave, or pack along a pre-made lunch to resist temptation of fast-food kiosks. For quick grab and go breakfasts, prep your smoothie ingredients the night before for a quick blend in the am, or take some overnight oats in a jar.


2.     Stash & store. Plan to pack a cooler if you’re traveling by car, or make room in your carry-on if flying. Next, gather storage containers: Tupperware, mason jars, lunch boxes, snack bags, reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, utensils, etc. Think lightweight if traveling by plane. Small sizes work well for individual portions of nuts or salad dressing.


3.     Limit snacking. Strive to eat three nourishing meals and have a couple healthful snacks on hand. Being on the go isn’t an excuse for endless snacking! Boredom plays a role in mindless eating—especially with long flight delays or layovers—so bring items to help you stay busy or relax.


4.     Eat real food. Limit processed food as much as possible. Choose nutrient-dense, wholesome food that provides sustainable energy. Since traveling can impact digestion, be mindful to stay hydrated and incorporate high fiber foods. Filling up with protein and healthy fat will keep you satisfied longer.  Avoid foods with added sugar to prevent an energy crash. Instead, go for foods that will keep your blood sugar balanced and supply your body with antioxidants. Also, keep an eye on serving sizes; individually packaged goods may seem convenient but what may appear to be a single portion can pack multiple servings. Read the labels.


5.     Stay hydrated. Proper fluid intake will help prevent sluggishness, reduce jetlag, and aid in regularity. Flying can be dehydrating, so make sure you’re prepared before boarding. Increasing fluid intake in the days leading up to your departure will help.


6.     Self-care. The stressors of traveling can surely take a toll. Take care of your body and mind by getting adequate rest, make sure to move periodically to increase circulation, and bring items to stay comfortable and calm (pillow, tunes, clothing layers, good books, etc).


Now that you’re ready to pack your bags, decide what foods to tote along. Consider these three factors before making your selections:

·      Portability: does the food travel well without a big mess?

·      Food safety: will it last for the duration of the outing without refrigeration?

·      Nutrition: will this food make me feel awesome or crummy?

Portable foods that pack a healthy punch and can be planned in advance, include:

·      Pre-cut veggies (carrots, snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers) with hummus

·      Fruit – bananas, apples, grapes, berries, pears, oranges

·      String cheese and wholegrain crackers

·      Nuts

·      Hard boiled eggs

·      Homemade trail mix, granola or energy bites

·      Nut butter; use small Tupperware or purchase individual packs (like Justin’s)

·      Oatmeal packets (just need hot water!)

·      Olives (drained)

·      Avocado

·      Pre-made salad in a jar (keep dressing separate)

·      Sandwiches or wraps with lean meats and veggies

·      PB&F– whole grain bread, nut butter and fruit

·      Water, sparkling water, tea bags

·      Protein powder

·      Dark chocolate

·      Dried fruit

If space is limited, bring a few things to elevate a basic salad that is available most places. Avocado, nuts, olives and your own dressing can add nutrients and flavor. If you must make a fast-food pit stop, opt for salads, grilled versus fried meats, and forgo the temptation to supersize your meal for a few extra cents. Of course, when traveling on vacay you want to indulge, and rightly so, but be selective on where you splurge!

Busy schedules don’t need to derail your healthy eating habits. Advance planning will help you maintain control when hunger (and temptation) strikes. Supply your body with what it needs so you can feel your best once you reach your destination and enjoy your trip to the fullest!


Blogpost written by Ascend Cycle content expert, Ashley H