By Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS
With a little advanced planning and preparation, you can keep your nutrition in race-ready shape, even when you’re embarking on a racecation.
How do I maintain my healthy eating habits while traveling?
Don’t let travel derail your stellar fuel plan. Although eating well on the road requires more planning and thought, it can certainly be done. The key is preparation and ensuring you are consuming balanced meals and snacks – fiber + protein + fat.
Follow these tips – and emerge victorious!
- Check out restaurants online ahead of time – Have healthier restaurant options in mind before you even leave home.
- Grab a menu before a table – Check out the menu before sitting down, and secure a couple healthy options.
- Avoid fast food establishments – Need I say more?
- Make modifications to the menu – Make the menu item what you want it to be. Swap grilled chicken in for breaded chicken, or throw avocado and walnuts on your salad for added fat.
- Share something with a friend – It’s a given that your restaurant entree could feed a small pack of wolves. Take half back to the hotel or split with a fellow traveler.
- Avoid gas station or airport snacks – Bring your own snacks. Non-refrigerated snack options include trail mix, nuts, seeds, individually packaged nut butters (such as Justin’s), fruit, and clean-eating bars (like Larabars). If you have a fridge or cooler available to you, include these items: hummus, raw veggies, and plain Greek yogurt. Avoid added sugars with all of these snack ideas.
How do I eat a healthy race-day breakfast while traveling?
If you shack up at a host hotel, they just may open their kitchen early and offer a nice spread for the athletes. Score! Call ahead to find out what options are available race morning, and when breakfast starts. If this service isn’t being offered, ask questions about your room. Is there a kitchen? A stove? A refrigerator? Plan and prepare in advance. I’ve been known to bring a toaster with me. Do what needs to be done.
Here are a few ideas for what to eat, depending on how your hotel room may be equipped:
- Full kitchen or microwave: Eggs and fruit, oatmeal with nuts
- Fridge: Plain Greek yogurt with nuts/fruit, hard-boiled eggs with fruit, overnight oats (cover oats with almond milk, soak overnight, add toppings in the morning)
- Toaster: Freezer waffles with almond butter/chia seeds
- No appliances: Granola bars topped with almond butter, Larabar, trail mix
Use the resources available to you and focus on consuming a breakfast that contains fiber, protein and fat to stay full, maintain consistent energy levels and perform your best on race day.
Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS Level II is a registered sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having completed many triathlons of all distances including three IRONMAN races. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific, metabolically efficient fueling plans for her clients. For more information on services and offerings, visit her website at www.fueltothefinish.com.