Friday Fitness Tip on the Fly - eating clean

When you're traveling for work or vacation, you're bound to have a multitude of work lunches/dinners and fast food joints on the fly.  We all know how hard counting your macros is when you're constantly eating out, so how do you eat clean on the fly?

Work meals

Let's first address the elephant in the room: going to these work meals is pretty much a requirement, and you're unlikely going to be the one who chooses the restaurant.  However, what you can control is what you order on the menu.  Most restaurants will have an array of salad options.  When choosing a salad, you can ask for no croutons, cheese, or bacon, and request a lighter dressing on the side so that your salad isn't drenched in oil and fat.  And if you have a protein entree choice like chicken or fish, you're often afforded a couple of sides.  When you're faced with a steak, the common selections are usually french fries, mashed potatoes, rice, and all those dirty carbs.  However, most restaurants offer vegetable options like steamed broccoli and spinach, or snap peas and small salads.  These selections will help you meet your protein and vegetable intake for the day without cheating.  The dessert, however, will have to be a matter of avoiding all together.  I can't think of a single healthy dessert I've ever ordered, so unfortunately there's really no way around it.

Salmon and vegetable dish that is available at restaurants like Outback Steakhouse.

Vacation meals

When you're on vacation, you can have more options available to you since you have the ability to govern your meals.  This is when picking the healthier restaurants and avoiding most fast food joints comes into play.  I know it's tempting to hit up that roadside Mickey D's for a Big Mac on the fly when you've been driving for 7 hours, but you can avoid that if you've got your own stash of clean protein bars.  Staying properly hydrated while driving also curbs your hunger, so always have those bottles of water with you, even if it requires you to make pit stops to use the loo.

You've heard it over and over again because it holds true: drink plenty of water

As I've covered before, AirBNB's often have kitchens, cookware, and utensils that will allow you to cook your own meals, which is the cleanest and safest option.  But even if you can't cook your own meals, you can bring your own healthier snacks such as clean protein bars, nuts (in moderation, of course), and protein chips.  My go-to protein bars are the Quest protein bars, which are loaded with whey protein isolate and typically don't carry over 5 grams of net carbs.  One thing you'll want to watch out for in terms of protein bars, and especially energy bars, is the high sugar content, which Quest typically replaces with natural Stevia.  If you're a vegan or allergic to whey, No Cow bars, which use pea and brown rice protein, are also a good clean protein option.  Quest also makes whey protein chips that are low in carbs, though my favorite is Popcorner's Flex protein crisps.

21 grams of protein and just 4 grams net carbs . . . and it's actually tasty

If you're willing to sacrifice taste, at least in my opinion, Julian Bakery make the highest protein to calorie ratio bar that I know of with 20 grams of protein at just 130 calories and 1 gram of net carbs.  You can buy them in bulk and bring them for vacation.

Bottom line

It's admittedly harder to stay on your diet when you're on the fly, both for work and for vacation.  But it's still possible and far from infeasible to eat clean with your protein and vegetable intake.  You will need to avoid most fast foods, desserts, and dirty carbs at when eating out, but that's doable when you have full menus to choose from.  If possible, your #1 priority should be to cook your own meals, which is doable at AirBNB's or all-suite hotels like Residence Inn and Hyatt House.  But if cooking isn't an option, pick healthier restaurants and have your own stash of protein bars and nuts available so that you don't have to cheat when your hunger cravings kick in.

What are your thoughts?  How do you eat clean when you're on the fly?


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