With all of the travel that I’ve done lately (and a couple of trips on the horizon), I wanted to share some of my go-to tips and tricks for tracking macros. Obviously, when you’re on-the-go, your food choices are often a crap-shoot, but you don’t want to make yourself crazy either, so here’s how I balance my day!
Pre-plan your day and log it before you eat it
The night before, plan out your next day in MyFitnessPal. You probably won’t know exactly what you will eat, but plan it out as much as possible. Even a framework for your day is helpful. That way, you can make adjustments as needed. For example, when I went to San Diego a couple of weeks ago, I took a late-afternoon flight, so I logged my breakfast, lunch, and snack for the day and then made an educated guess about what I’d probably purchase at the airport. I planned a salad with chicken, a bag of Peanut M&Ms, and a banana. When I arrived at the airport though, there weren’t too many options for dinner. I ended up with a Chicken Cesar Wrap and Peanut M&Ms (priorities). I didn’t end up with a banana, but I ate some Terra Chips on the plane. I had the majority of my food planned, so these changes didn’t throw off my whole day.
This tip is similar to the one above, and it’s actually my favorite tip for dining out too. (I guess it’s just a different way of thinking and pre-planning your day.) If you have a trip/vacation/special meal/event/splurge coming up, plan it into your day FIRST. A lot of the time, my splurges are at dinner (i.e. dining out, wine, dessert), so I know if I want a glass of wine or sweet potato fries, I plan them into my day first and then work backwards through lunch, snacks, and breakfast. Typically, I use up quite a lot of carbs and fat from my day, so I make sure that the rest of my meals and snacks are protein-packed and balanced.
Front-load your day with protein
Getting enough protein into my diet is typically a struggle for me, so I make an effort to front-load my day with it. (I do this when I’m not traveling too.) I’ll typically try to find an egg sandwich, Greek yogurt, salads with grilled chicken, or hard-boiled eggs when I travel. I also like oatmeal and will typically add protein powder/collagen/packet of nut butter to pump it up, which brings me to…
Pack your protein
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, it’s likely that your protein options are going to be pretty limited, so I often pack my own. Some favorites:
- SFH protein powder
- RX BARS
- thinkTHIN Bars <— Brownie Crunch is the best!!
- Krave Jerky
If you don’t pack healthy snacks…
Seek out a grocery store
Even if you’re eating the majority of your meals at restaurants or on-the-go, it’s still helpful to have healthy snacks on-hand to keep you on track. When you arrive at your destination, just Google nearby grocery stores so you can buy healthy snacks, like fresh fruit and veggies, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus, deli meat, cheese, olives, etc. Depending on where you stay (i.e. hotel), you can potentially request a refrigerator in your room, too!
Use the UPC scanning feature in MyFitnessPal
The UPC scanner in MyFitnessPal makes logging food quick and simple, especially when you’re (likely) purchasing packaged food when you’re on-the-go. If you’ve never used it before, just open the food dairy, add a meal/snack, and then click the scanner icon in the righthand corner. Then, just scan the UPC code. Boom! So easy and so accurate!
It’s totally okay to “guesstimate”
If you can’t find the exact macros for something, it’s okay to guesstimate. I mean, it’s better than not tracking at all! Even a rough estimate will help you balance your day.
Don’t freak out
Seriously. If you’re on vacation or even traveling for work, it’s probably going to be difficult to stick to your usual diet 100% and that’s okay. Just do your best to enjoy what’s available to you!
Pay attention to calories
If you can’t hit your macros or, hell, even come close, just pay attention to your overall calories for the day. Do the best you can, don’t freak out (#8), and try again the next day!
Question of the Day
Your turn! Any tips/tricks to share for not going off the rails when you travel?
I tend to pack a lot of my food when I travel that way I have healthy snacks and then just try to eat good, balanced meals that are higher in protein (if it’s a high protein day). Bonus is when it’s a refuel day though!
This is a great post Tina. Can you talk more about determining your macros and what your days look like?
i don’t really do anything different when i travel. there’s almost always the opportunity to find healthy food or to workout at wherever i’m going. or i will just try extra hard to squeeze in an extra hard workout the day before or the morning of (if my flight isn’t too early).
chugging water always helps. i’m not sure why, but whenever i fly i always feel SO dehydrated
Couldn’t agree more with this. Preparing and planning is key! I also love the My Macros + app when I’m tracking and recommend that to my macro clients, too!
Planning life days in advance us just suffocating to me.
I love this find a grocery store tip. This is a big one for me. I also often pack oatmeal, nut butter and protein powders before I go. I also kind of have a Quest Bar problem…..
Packing food and going to a health food store once I arrive. I also loved what you said about priorities- on vacation there will be an extra drink or treat. But my priority is my health and enjoying the experience, not eating myself crazy.
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i don’t ever track my macros, but i do try to eat healthy most of the time… that being said, i definitely always enjoy vacation for what it is! so if i choose something healthier for dinner, maybe we’ll check out a local dessert joint after 🙂 all about moderation!
Great tips! Thanks for sharing. As someone who usually counts macros (attempting to hit them, but often, like you, use them as a guide to stay on track), I really enjoyed this post and found it useful.
These are seriously awesome tips, and as a frequent traveler, I live by them! I love packing my own protein bars. I’m a fan of Rx (SEA SALT CHOCOLATE OMG), Think Thin (PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE OMG) and more recently Oh Yeah! One protein bars (Birthday Cake + Almond Bliss = wow). I also pack my own protein powder. Something else I cannot stress enough, aside from hydrating x1000 especially when flying, is to just relax and take a breather and know that travel is temporary.
I just got back from L.A. a few days ago, and I definitely indulged in wine + cheese plates, but I kept a balance too. Now I’m back home and am on a routine of workouts and healthy meals and wouldn’t trade eating a pound of Brie for anything!
Love this post! I have some travel coming up, and these are great tips. I always make sure to pack some healthy snacks (bars, individual protein powders, eggs, string cheese, fruit, etc). Having something healthy to munch on helps me to stay on track and prevents me from getting to hungry and just eating anything in sight.
When it comes to travel I love to grab protein diet foods and I say no to processed food because it’s unhealthy and I don’t want to take risks it keeps me tired and uncomfortable.So eating healthy foods keeps you going forward with no tiredness and you will love your journey.
Yes ! But protein is obvious while traveling around. Great post and it is worth sharing.