Tips for Tracking Macros When Traveling

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Hi, guys!

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.

Work backwards

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:

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?


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