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Nutrition on the Move: Strategies for Keeping Your Nutrition Plan on Point While Traveling

Will you be headed out of town for a race this season? Not sure what to eat on the road? It can be difficult to stick to a pre-race nutrition plan while traveling, but with planning, it can be done. You will want to be careful not to deviate much from the foods you typically eat. Save the “treats” for after your race.

  • When booking accommodations, it may be helpful to look at hotel options that have a kitchenette, especially if you would prefer not to dine out prior to your event. You should also look into the food they have to offer, such as free breakfast or a hotel restaurant.

  • If you decide to pack your travel fuel, once you’re on the road be sure to keep perishable items cold.

    • Perishable food should not be at room temperature for more than 4 hours.

    • Use a cooler or lunchbox with ice or ice packs or one of those cool lunchboxes you can freeze.

    • Include everything you may need, from meals to snacks, depending on the length of your trip (and possible travel delays).

  • If you decide to eat at restaurants, look at what's available on your route.

    • Choose restaurants where you can easily make alterations to the menu items, if needed. (These tend to be the less "fancy" establishments.)

    • You might want to make reservations, as there will be extra people in town for the event.

    • It is becoming increasingly difficult to get healthy food at fast food restaurants, as many are removing healthier items from their menus. There are still a few options out there, so make the best choices possible if you decide on fast food.

    • Always choose vegetables and fruit when they are available.

  • If you have any special dietary needs (no dairy, no gluten, seafood allergy, etc.), be VERY careful. As you probably know, restaurant foods can often be "contaminated" with ingredients that can sideline an athlete with these issues.

  • If you are stopping at a convenience store or a gas station, there are options.

    • Gas stations often stock many healthy snack options (see list below for healthy snacks).

    • You may find fresh fruit and other healthy snacks in the cooler.

  • Don't forget about grocery stores.

    • Even small towns typically have a grocery store.

    • Grocery stores have a lot of items that do not require any cooking or other preparation that can help you stick to your nutrition plan.

  • Always have non-perishable snacks with you, such as:

    • Nuts/seeds

    • Healthy bars

    • Canned fruit (no added sugar)

    • Dry cereal

    • Trail mix

    • Popcorn

  • A last-resort option could be a meal-replacement shake or bar. Be sure to choose one you have tried and tolerated in the past.

  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Planning is the key to keeping your nutrition plan constant while you’re traveling. As you probably know all too well, however, travel often comes with unexpected challenges and delays. If that happens, don’t throw your plan out the window. Focus on making the best choices that are available to you in whatever situation you find yourself in. Wishing you healthy and safe travels!


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