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The Essential Guide to Staying in Shape while Traveling (part 2)


The previous part covered the key ideas for staying in shape while traveling. Let us now dive into the nutrition aspect.

Note: This part assumes the reader does not count macronutrients.

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1) Match your meal frequency to your schedule


Let's face it - traveling can be hectic even though it's fun. A lot of time is spent on getting from one place to another.

As such, it may be difficult to get in our scheduled, standard meals in. For instance, it may be difficult to get breakfast in if you have to leave early to beat the crowd at a tourist attraction.    

The point here is to not get stuck to a single type of meal frequency. Remember that for long-term results, adherence is crucial. Adapt your meal frequency to fit whatever will make you stay to what is most important - achieving the estimated calorie consumption for your goal.

Personally, many people I know who are into fitness prefer to eat fewer meals so that they can focus on enjoying their travel and have larger calorie meals per setting. Eating two times a day - an early lunch and dinner - is their preference.

2) Have protein at every meal

Among the 3 macronutrients, gram for gram, protein provides the highest level of satiety. This means you feel the most full from eating protein, as compared to carbohydrates and fat.

Therefore, if you are traveling for a week or less, simply focus on getting protein at every meal. If possible, consume at least a palm size worth of meat every meal. Protein is satiating enough that it is generally difficult to overeat on protein.

If you are still keen on tracking your macronutrients, try to aim for around 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight.

3) Have plenty of vegetables at every meal

Besides the health benefits commonly associated with vegetables, the fibre in vegetables will help promote satiety. This in turn with the previous tip on protein, further increases satiety at every meal, helping control calorie intake.

Try to aim for at least 2 fistful of vegetables at every meal. Almost all vegetables contain a negligible amount of calories, so it's virtually impossible to overeat on them. Just make sure you drink enough water to keep the bowels going.

4) Strategise your meals when eating out

Trying to control calorie intake and eat healthy when traveling is not that hard as some people think. Let us think about the previous 2 tips in this 2nd part of the article series. We can logically arrive at the following:

- Step 1: Pick a protein-rich food. Examples include lean red meat, chicken, fish and eggs. Have plenty of it (about 2 palm size would be good).

- Step 2: Pick vegetable(s). Get plenty of it. It's almost impossible to have "too much" of them.

- Step 3: Finish the above 2 steps. If you are still hungry, have some carbohydrates (e.g.: rice, bread, noodles) in small portions. A fistful of cooked rice or noodle, one or two slices of bread would be ideal.

Yelp (www.yelp.com) is a great tool to help find healthy restaurants in major cities around the globe.

5) Adjust your overall food intake for alcohol intake

Alcohol seems to be commonly consumed when traveling, whether it is during business trips or leisure ones.

Alcohol contains 7kcals per gram. This can make things daunting. But worry not, here are some things to help ease things out:

- For every drink you plan to have, or already had, consume less of around 10 grams of fat. 10 grams of fat would be about a tablespoon of oil (so no additional extra virgin olive oil, for instance). Or 3/4 of a palm size worth of meat. Or a fist worth of nuts.

- If you plan to drink a lot, have low-fat meals throughout the day. Eat plenty of vegetables, and enough lean meat to full moderately full. Minimise gravy and salad dressing whenever possible.

- In general, choose either a dessert or alcohol. Do not have both. This makes calorie control much easier.

That would be it. Five tips for your consideration as you munch and drink during your travel. Stay tuned for the final part on exercising right during traveling.