Now that traveling restrictions have lifted… it’s time to book those trips, pack your bags, and get ready to have some FUN!
But wait! Don’t forget to pack the [healthy] snacks!
In this solo episode, I’m sharing my top 4 tips for eating healthy while traveling AND I’m sharing my most recent real-life examples of how I plan ahead, what snacks to pack and how to adjust on the fly when travel plans don’t go according to plan.
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Hello and welcome back to another episode of The Funsized Podcast! I’m your host, Kier, and I am a nutrition and fitness coach for women under 5’3”. So if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I recently took a week long trip to Florida and actually on the day that this gets released, I’ll be on my way for a long weekend trip to San Francisco. So with all this traveling going on, I thought it would be helpful to talk about how I go about my food and fitness while traveling. Not all of my trips are created equal so I don’t always do the same thing every time so when people say oh Kier, I’m traveling this weekend, what should I do? And I’m like well, that’s a loaded question – IT ALL DEPENDS.
So first and foremost, before I dive into what I did on my most recent trip, I want to seriously emphasize that how you go about your travels depends on where you’re at physically, mentally, and emotionally. IT is good to take a vacation and live in the moment and not worry about your macros from time to time. If I’m actually taking a well-earned vacation like I did for my 30th birthday in Mexico, I’m gonna eat what I wanna eat and I’m truly going to enjoy all the things I don’t normally have and give myself that mental break from thinking about nutrition – because guess what!? If you think you think about food all the time, just imagine what it’s like to be in my shoes as a coach. It can be super exhausting so allowing myself to have these breaks is crucial and to me, traveling can really be the best time to take them. With that being said, there are SOME trips where I don’t completely let off the reins. For example, this last trip to Florida was a 50/50 trip for me. The first half of the week I was doing multiple photoshoots so I needed to make sure my nutrition was pretty much on point so that my body confidence was as high as possible. Coming from experience, when I don’t feel 100% at a shoot, I can see it in my expressions and the photos don’t come out as good. I mean, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Like if you’ve ever gone to an event or something but you were feeling bloated or tired or what-have-you, and even though nobody could tell, YOU are the one who sees it in your own face in the pictures you’re in. Anyway, so the first half of the week, I was pretty on point and I’ll get more of the details on that in a bit. But I’d also like to touch on the difference between these 2 trips a little further. So with the Mexico trip back in november, it was an all-inclusive resort and very much a full-on vacation. I packed a few snacks for the plane but that was really the extent of that.
This recent trip to Florida, I was actually staying at my parent’s condo which has a kitchen so I brought several things with me in my checked bag AND was able to take my rental car to shop at the grocery store for anything else I might need. Because I had access to all these things, was familiar with the area and was traveling solo, sticking to my plan was a total walk in the park – Literally the most ideal situation for staying on track. But remember, there were 2 parts to this trip. So I arrived on Monday and staying in the 1 bedroom condo solo til Friday, then my entire family including Justin arrived on Friday and we spent the weekend in a vacation rental. The purpose of this part of the trip wasn’t necessarily for fun but rather celebrating the lives of my grandparents and honoring their last wish by scattering their ashes in the ocean where they used to live. But I don’t want to get into all of that, basically all you need to know is that even though the deaths weren’t recent, we were still grieving and what does my family like to do when we’re grieving? We eat and we drink A LOT. Basically, I had little to no control over food and by that point, I just simply didn’t want to think about it. I ate what was served, drank quite a bit, and enjoyed the quality time with my family with no fucks given. And I can say that with no guilt, because I know myself well enough that when I got back home, I’d get right back on my nutrition as usual because I’ve built those habits for myself in my normal day-to-day.
Now, there have been other trips for me in the past that were less fun and more serious. And for those, to lessen the stress at my destination, I actually prepped meals and brought them with me in a cooler – both road trips and on a plane. Believe it or not you actually can bring a soft cooler as a carry-on on a plane. The trick is that you cannot have any liquids when you go through security so Any ice packs you have must be frozen. And don’t bring peanut butter until it’s in sealed individual less than 3oz packs. I once had a TSA guy throw out a brand new 16oz specialty cashew butter jar and I literally cried in front of time. Granted I was one week out from a competition and literally starving but I digress. Anyway, back to the ice packs… of course, once you get through and they eventually start melt, but by that point you’re fine. If you don’t have a freezer to store them in before your return trip, you’ll probably have to throw them out so keep that in mind too. I traveled with a cooler several times when I was in competition prep and aside from the peanut butter, I never had a problem. To be doubly safe, I would freeze my meals and pack my cooler bag with the ice packs just minutes before I left for the airport. Obviously, there’s a limit to how much food you can take in a carry-on cooler so this is a good option if you’re going for a quick weekend trip. And the nice thing about this is if you don’t have a mini-fridge at your destination, you can still keep your food cold by getting fresh ice from the hotel machine or something. But again, if you don’t have a freezer for those ice packs, you most likely can’t bring them back unless they go in a checked bad. IT’s a choice to travel like this.You definitely do NOT have to prep everything in advance but it IS an option. It might sound like a lot of work but if you think about it, bringing everything with you could be a lot less stressful than trying to figure it out once you get there.
BUT getting things once you get there IS a very possible option too! It just really all depends on what your situation is. So as I’ve mentioned already, you have you all-inclusive options where you have buffets and you can literally pick and choose exactly what you want, you have vacation rentals where you have access to a kitchen or kitchenette where you could actually cook your own meals, or you’re staying in a hotel and you may or may not have a mini-fridge – bonus if you have a microwave – but you’re likely to be dining out at each meal, you could be on a work trip where you have to oblige by the schedule your superiors have for you, or you could be staying with family for the holidays where you really don’t have a lot of control over what they are cooking – there could be a million different scenarios and therefore, there different ways to approach your travels depending on the unique situation of that trip.
So what I’m gonna do is give 4 of my biggest Funsized tips to do before your trips to ensure that you’ll be prepare for whatever it is to come.
First one is to KNOW BEFORE YOU GO. And there’s a 2 parter here. First, as I was saying in the beginning, determine whether this is a total vacation/diet break for you or not. If it is, skip tips 2 & 3. If it isn’t, continue on with the 2nd part of KNOW BEFORE YOU GO which is, get as much information about your destination and your trip as fucking posisble. So find out if the hotel you’re staying at has a mini fridge or not – if it does, great, you could bring food with you or get things while you’re there – if not, you’ll only be able to pack non-perishable things. Either way, start looking at restaurants in the area to know what your options are. Maybe you have a kitchenette, look to see where the nearest grocery store is. If you are going on a road trip, get an idea of what kind of places you’ll likely be stopping at. Like if you’re driving through states that have WaWa’s or Buckees, you can get a good idea of some of your options. The beauty of the time that we live in is that all of this information is available to us right now.
AND you can even find out if where you’re going has a gym whether that’s the hotel’s fitness center or a local gym where you can get a day pass. Just try to gather as much information as possible and if you can’t for some reason like maybe you’re staying with family and they haven’t figured out what they are serving yet – well at least you know that and to mentally prepare for that.
My second tip is to take whatever you just learned from tip 1 and create a strategy. So that might be prepping food and taking it with you. Or bringing some snacks and having an idea of what you’re going to order at specific restaurants. And it doesn’t have to be a set in stone meal-for-meal plan; it can be generalized. For example, part one of my Flordia trip strategy looked like this: keep it real good during the day and leave dinner open to what-ever I’m feeling. To do this, I brought my overnight-oats with to have for meal 1. I put all the ingredients into snack sized baggies except of the liquid and then when I got to the condo I put them all into a small container with water and then when I was ready to eat I added my nut butter. Easy meal 1, then I had picked up a few cups of Okios greek yogurt to have as snacks if needed, my lunches I planned on eating at Crave which is my favorite healthy little eatery in St augustine where I was staying. I didn’t know exactly what I would order each day but my options where salads, bowls, or wraps with plenty of veggies and wholesome foods so I wasn’t worried there. I also had nuts with me so that was another solid snack and then I left my dinners open to whatever it was my little heart desired. Each night I went to a different restaurant with old friends and that was my semi-free meal. I still ate pretty mindfully looking for an entree with a protein, carb, and veg – knowing at least one of those would contain or be cooked in fats. Like the first night I had blackened mahi with rice & beans and steamed broccoli with a tequila-soda. The second night I had a tuna poke bowl with rice and avocado. And the third I had a salad with salmon. All of which I don’t normally have because I don’t live on the coast anymore where fish is super fresh but at the same time, really wholesome choices.
Because my San francisco trip is more of an actual vacay because it’s Justin’s birthday and our anniversary, I want to experience the city because I’ve never been there and it’s just 2 full days with a short travel day on either side. My strategy for this trip is pretty loose but still a strategy. I like to do this thing where the majority of the day is good healthy choices and then I leave one meal totally open and free. So we’re most likely going to eat out for 3 meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I plan on having 2 of the 3 meals being one of the healthiest choices on each menu and remaining meal being whatever I feel like in the city I’ve never been to before. So if I choose the meal to be breakfast one day, then I’ll clean it up at lunch and dinner. And maybe the other day I keep it real at breakfast and lunch and then I splurge at dinner. All depends on what Justin has planned for us because he’s lived in San Fran before and wants to show me around. Overall, that’s my loose plan for this upcoming trip. I’m not tracking anything, I’m living in the moment.
As far as workouts go, with the florida trip, I went for a run on Monday before my flight. I knew I wouldn’t have time for the gym everyday but I did get in my 2 planned workouts on Tuesday and Friday by getting a day pass at the gym. Wednesday was a full day of photoshoots – which I was sore from and Thursday I did a 20 min run and 10 min ab video at the condo. Saturday & Sunday & monday which was my 9hr travel day, I had planned to take fully off.
In San Fran, the boutique hotel we’re staying at says it has a fitness center but it looks like just cardio equipment. Since Justin and I both workout in the mornings, I’m gonna suggest that we do at least 15 minutes of something before we head out to get breakfast.
Tip #3 is to OVER-PACK. So if you’re bringing snacks or you’re bringing food, bring more than you need. I so much rather have extra than to sit there like shoot I probably should have brought more. Especially when things get messy and flights get delayed you want to have options and lots of them. Because when you don’t have that healthier choice in your back pocket or in this case, your bags – that’s when you’re most likely to make that unhealthy splurge. Weirdly enough, pack enough workout clothes too. Don’t let dirty workout clothes be the reason you’re not working out on a day you have the time and location to get ‘er done.
And finally, Tip #4 is to GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. For as much as we plan and strategize, things won’t always go 100% as planned and that’s OKAY! Flights get delayed, cars break down, your mother-in-law decided to make something else at the last possible minute. Just do the best you can with what you got and know that this isn’t an every-day occurrence. Sometimes you have to just live in the moment and not micromanage it.
Now Before I wrap this episode up, I do want to share exactly what I did on my travel day to Florida to give you a real life example AND what I am planning to do with my flight day to San Francisco. Because the travel time differs, the days look different. Okay, Starting with Florida:
The day before I left, I had packed my snacks for the day in my carry-on bag that went under the seat – that way I always had access to it. I’ve made the mistake of putting it overhead in the past and that sucks because I’m short so getting my bag down mid-flight with turbulence is no easy task. What I packed was 2-3 mini beef jerky sticks, normally I bring a bag of beef jerky but I took found these little individual sticks at target that I thought were fun. Both options work, I also got a bag of mixed nuts from target but I only packed a snack sized ziploc bag of them for my carry-on. There’s no reason for anyone to eat 16oz of nuts in one day so I only took what I needed plus a little extra JUST IN CASE. And I’ll get to the just in case scenarios in a bit. Doing this ahead of time is portion control at it’s finest. Overall, I probably had about 4oz of nuts in my carry-on bag – which is still a lot for one day considering the serving size is normally 1oz. Next on the list of things is my protein puppy chow. This is by far my favorite and the easiest thing to snack on while traveling and you can find the recipe in my recipe library @ www.funsized.life/recipe. And finally I brought 1 powercrunch protein bar with me. I’m not a huge fan of protein bars BUT I will always bring some with me as an emergency snack when I’m traveling. Half the time I don’t actually eat them and either throw them away or save them for another time but I much rather have it with me than have nothing left.
From there, I actually start logging these snacks into myfitnesspal in the order I thought I would eat them. I also knew I’d be in the Houston Hobby for a 3 hours layover so I knew I would be able to get some fresh food. And since I’ve been there before I knew my options were limited BUT there is a Chick-fil-a! So I actually planned on having chicky nuggets and a side salad. Also, a cappuccino from whatever coffeeshop was there. And I also, planned on getting a poke bowl for dinner at my fav poke bowl spot in St augustine. Based on the time my flight was supposed to land, getting the rental car and then driving the 50 minutes into town, I was JUST going to make it in time before they closed on a Monday night. So before I went to bed Sunday night I had my whole day of travel meals and snacks loosely outlined in my MFP. Obviously it wasn’t set in stone but I could move things around if I needed. And that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
My flight was 7:50am which meant I had to be at the airport by 6:50am which meant I left my house at 6:30am. I had enough time to either get in a run or a workout but not both and since I knew I would be sitting for my 6 hour flight time plus the car ride and layover, I wanted to make sure I got my steps in. Lifting weights wouldn’t have been a wrong choice, and I also could have don’t a HIIT workout where I combined both but on this particular day in this particular situation, running felt like the best choice to me, that’s all. My breakfast that morning was actually the same as the lunches I had the week leading up because I wanted to make sure I got my whole foods and veggies in. It was ground turkey, rice and green beans. It actually kept me full for a while and I only had a handful of nuts near the end of my first 3 hour flight. As I was standing in line for chickfila, I actually changed my mind about the nuggets and side salad and ended up getting the grilled chicken market salad AND a yogurt parfait. I changed it in MFP and made some adjustments to make it fit. Then I ate the salad and saved the parfait for the next flight. But as I was waiting for my next flight I saw someone with a coffee and I was like fuck it I don’t want this parfait anymore, I want that cappuccino. So I deleted the parfait again and got that cappuccino and had to rearrange dinner. On my second flight I snacked on the puppy chow that had already been logged. And thennnnn that’s when shit got cray. My flight landed about 20 min late and the rental car line was 20 people deep. Because I had already pre-paid there was no getting out of it so I ended up waiting in line for over an hour to get to the counter. Naturally, by this time of the day, I was getting pretty hungry for dinner so I kept thinking through all my options and decided I’d go to a Moe’s where I could build my own bowl of things, similar to the way I wanted to build my Poke bowl but slightly different and much much closer. Finally i got the keys to the rental car but still had to wait another 20 minutes to them to clean it up and such which sucked but it gave me time to re-arrange in MFP once again. So after all that, I finally made it to Moe’s at 9:05. Parked the car, was feeling good, got up to the door and it was locked. Apparently they are open til 10 but only the drive thru. Not to big of a deal but I really needed to pee and I would have like to sit down. Anyway, I ordered and then was like ya know what? I still have a 40 minute drive, I’m just gonna finish it out and eat when I finally get there. Anddddd since it’s Moe’s – you know they give you chips with every order. Well, I didn’t deny them. I took them and definitely ate them on my drive to help me stay awake. Truthfully, I never ended up logging the chips because I forgot by the time I got in, ate, and got settled and considering how many things could have gone wildly crazy if I didn’t plan out my day of meals in advanced, the few chips I ate, are nothing in the grand scheme of things. That’s giving myself grace.
Now for the san fran trip, I plan to do a very similar thing on my travel day HOWEVER the flight time from Las Vegas to SFO is an hour and a half so I won’t be spending my entire day traveling this time. My flight isn’t until 3pm so the first half of my day is actually going to look very normal. I’m gonna go to the gym and get my normal amount of steps in in the morning. I’m gonna have my normal breakfast, first snack, and lunch – maybe a few modifications but not many – Then I’ll pack my carry-on bag with my protein puppy chow AND I’ll also bring some nuts and beef jerky again as my emergency stash JUST IN CASE something happens. But I should land at 4:30pm and this time I’m taking an Uber and not a rental car. If things go well, I should be checked in and settled at my hotel by 6:30pm. I’ll be on my own for dinner that night because Justin’s flight won’t get in until 9pm and he’s coming back from the Philippines so his time clock is going to be all out of sorts so I don’t even know if he’ll want food so I’m not gonna wait on him for that. Gotta take care of me first. So I already started looking at what’s in walking distance from our hotel and there is a sushi-burrito place nearby and since I didn’t get my poke bowl last week, I’m really feeling like a sushi-burrito will totally make up for it. I just really love places like that where I could build my own thing whether its a bowl or a wrap or a salad or whatever because if something doesn’t go as planned, I can always adjust it at the last minute. So if you’re listening to this on the day it’s released which is Wednesday the 11th of May, you can check out how my day is going by going to my instagram stories. Since it’s wednesday and I do my little what I ate wednesday thang each week, you’ll see my travel day edition! Hopefully it’s all going smoothly as planned but if not, I’m sure you’ll still learn a thing or two!
Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode, I hope you learned a thing or two. If you enjoyed this episode, take a screen shot and share it to your stories. If you have an upcoming trip that includes a scenario that I didn’t mention and you’re wondering how to go about it, feel free to message me on Instagram @funsized.nutrition and let’s get you feel 100% ready to tackle the challenge! And as always, I’ll catch ya in the next episode.