How to Meal Plan and Stick with Your Health Goals While Traveling

For a while, I didn’t think that traveling could coexist with my health and weight loss lifestyle. 

The foods I prepped and cooked at home required a bunch of ingredients, time, and equipment. There was no way I was going to lug my Vitamix and spiralizer on the plane with me. 

So, long weekends away and family vacations were a wash for my health goals. That is, until I discovered these four strategies. 

Once I narrowed my focus to just these four strategies, sticking to my health goals while traveling was so much easier! I didn’t come back home feeling sluggish, bloated, and discouraged. 

Check out these four fundamental strategies you must try the next time you hit the road.

1. Prioritize Protein

This tip is at the top for a reason. If you only have the time and determination to focus on one goal while traveling, pick protein. 

Think about it. On the plane ride, you don’t get a free protein bar. You get a snack bag of pretzels or cookies.

Once you land, your family wants to go out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Friends are making mixed drinks all day or hitting the bars at night. The hotel you’re staying at serves breakfast, and you’ve never seen so many muffins in one place before. 

We tend to easily pack in the carb-loaded and fatty foods while traveling and our protein count goes way down. To keep yourself on your health goals, prepare and plan on keeping that protein count up, and you’ll feel a big difference. 

How will protein help?

  • Eating adequate protein each day will help your body balance its macronutrients (those extra carbs and fats that are easy to eat while traveling).
  • Protein will fill you up much faster than carbs and fats, and it’ll keep you full for longer.
  • A high protein diet helps to curb cravings and discourages unhealthy snacking and overeating. 
  • Protein will give you the energy you need while traveling.

How much protein do you need daily?

Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to weight loss. But how much should you eat daily? 

Ideally, 25-30% of your daily caloric intake should be from protein sources. If you’re tracking your macros, shoot for at least 1.0 gram of protein per kilogram of your body weight. That means that if you weigh 72.5 kg (or 160 pounds), you should be eating about 80 to 90 grams of protein each day.  

Below, I’ll show you how to shop while traveling so that you can hit this protein goal each day. 

2. Drink Electrolyte Water

Not only does our daily protein dip when we travel, but we also tend to dehydrate ourselves. I have to remind myself all the time—I’m not vacationing in the Sahara Desert, so let’s not act like there’s a water shortage. 

This second strategy has helped me so much. Do you ever feel wiped out while traveling? Do you snack more on sweets? Does that digestion hit the brakes until you’re back at home? 

Staying hydrated (and boosting your electrolytes) while traveling is going to do wonders

How will electrolyte water help?

  • Balancing your electrolytes can instantly cut cravings since they satisfy many of your body’s needs nutritional needs.
  • Staying hydrated with electrolyte water can replenish your energy, especially if you’ve been enjoying a few stronger drinks during your travels.
  • Drinking enough water will keep your digestion healthily moving, helping reduce constipation, bloating, and inflammation.

How much electrolyte water do you need daily?

Drinking electrolyte water is not a daily requirement in everyday life, but it can be a welcome aid in certain circumstances—like during your travels. Typically electrolytes can become imbalanced when we’re drinking more alcohol or when our diets are lacking the nutrients we normally eat while at home. 

If your travels are dehydrating you (one easy test is to feel whether your lips feel dry or plump), or if you’ve had alcohol the night before, add an electrolyte supplement to your day’s water. While we’re used to the 8-cups-a-day goal, recent studies tell us to push that number up a bit. Women should shoot for about 11.5 cups of water a day, and men should drink about 15.5 cups. 

Grab a clean electrolyte drink, like SmartWater or Essentia, or add a Hi Lyte supplement to your water bottle once a day during your travels.  

3. Stay Active

Sometimes traveling gives us that well-needed break from the hustle and bustle of life. And while resting is valuable, I doubt any of us will look back on our lives and think “I’m glad I lounged around glued to my devices during that weekend ladies trip or family vacation.”

We won’t look back on those times and regret the Instagram pictures we didn’t post. But we will regret the memories we didn’t make. Staying active while traveling has far more benefits than just physical ones. 

How will staying active help?

  • You’ll burn calories, boost your metabolism and energy levels, and give yourself those feel-good endorphins to promote a great mood for the rest of the day.
  • Staying active will be memorable for you and your family—don’t you remember the times your Mom got out and swam with you or when Dad threw the football with you during your family vacations? Those memories stick with us. 
  • Activity, whether you’re doing it with others or getting some well-needed alone time, will help you soak up the place you’re visiting and maximize the enjoyment of your travels. 

How much activity should you shoot for daily?

While traveling, it can be easier to log your time instead of your workouts. I typically try to fit in 150 minutes of physical activities each week that I’m away (or about 30-minutes each weekday). 

The good news? You don’t have to spend it all in the hotel gym. Running around with the kids, swimming, walking, and even taking a roll in the hay with your partner can all count toward your 150 minutes. As long as you’re moving, using your body, and increasing your heart rate, you’re benefiting your body. 

4. Haul the Healthy Way

When I’m traveling, my first stop when I land is the grocery store! Load up on these healthy foods to stay on track while you’re away from home: 

Grab lots of quick protein options, like plain greek yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, and wild-caught tuna packets. 

Pack in the produce, like fruits you can snack on, bell peppers, baby carrots, salad kits, and steamed frozen veggie bags

Pick up some healthy pre-made meals, like Kodiak oatmeal power cups, and Kevin’s Paleo or Healthy Choice Max frozen meals

Buy some grab and go snacks and treats, like Lesser Evil popcorn, Mighty Spark’s chicken snack sticks, Artisanal pork rinds, dill pickle chips, One protein bars, and Lily’s chocolate

Check out my full Vacation Grocery Haul for more travel-friendly and healthy options you can use too. 

Feel Healthy and Free Next Time You Travel

With these four strategies, there’s no need to stress over tracking your calories and macros. Traveling is a time when we can enjoy some extra indulgences, rest, and create bright new memories! If you want to keep yourself from backsliding on your health goals while away from home, remember these four tips:

  • Prioritize protein
  • Drink electrolyte water
  • Stay active
  • Haul the healthy way

For more practical health tips that work, sign up for my weekly newsletter here. If you’re ready to kick your weight loss into high gear, you need to join LEAN today. In just 7 weeks, you’ll see your health and physique transform!

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