How To Eat While Traveling

By Adam Galuszka
August 9, 2016

"How To Eat While Traveling" was written by Dr. Kevin Sprouse. Dr. Sprouse is a team physician for the Cannondale Drapac Pro Cycling Team.  He has a degree in exercise science and has board certifications in both Sports Medicine and Emergency Medicine.  He practices at Podium Sports Medicine in Knoxville, TN. Looking for great travel snacks? Check out our Travel Survival Kit! As a team doctor for the Cannondale Drapac Pro Cycling Team, I spend a cumulative 2 months on the road throughout the year.  I’m no competitive athlete, but I love to ride, run, and stay in good enough shape that I can jump into a local bike race or 10K run at any time.  That’s a tall order when traveling as much as I do, and I know that many of The Feed’s customers face a similar work schedule.  Everyone knows that it is difficult to eat well when traveling, but I’ve learned a few tricks that help me to maintain health and fitness on the road. With regard to training on trips, I’ve learned that it’s futile to try to make fitness gains.  Over the years, I’ve learned to align my goals with maintenance rather than improvement.  It’s hard enough to mitigate the losses when outside of your normal routine and environment.  Simply coming home healthy and fit is a huge win.  I address diet in the same way.  Nutritional goals when traveling should revolve around maintenance, not improvement.  A road trip is not the time to try to lose weight, add muscle, or experiment with the latest dietary craze. When planning for a trip, I assume that I’ll be in a nutritional void from door to door.  I have a few places along the way where I know I can get a good meal (Ecco in the Atlanta airport is a favorite), but generally, there is nothing worth eating.  This is even truer when considering most airline food options.  Airports can certainly lower your standards. Nowhere else would you consider stopping at Cinnabon?  But if you prepare good options ahead of time, you can make sure you stick to healthy foods.  Travel is an inherently sedentary endeavor, so I try to stick to foods which are not too calorically dense and lower in carbohydrates and added sugars. Most of my trips involve 10-15 hours of travel and 1-2 weeks on the road.  Here are some things that I’ve found work well for maintaining a healthy diet. In my carry-on:
  • Gather Bar - great snack to grab instead of that Cinnabon.  No added sugar.  Whole food ingredients.
  • Aloha Protein Bar - clean, plant-based protein.  No artificial ingredients, which is saying something for a protein bar.  These work great for breakfast on the plane!
  • Justin’s Nut Butter Packets - a better alternative to the airline’s bag of peanuts!  Perfect Bar Minis fall into this category as well.  They’re fantastic!
  • Krave Jerky - great source of protein on the road, and it can satisfy that snacking urge.
  • Skratch Labs Daily Hydration - You have to stay hydrated on the plane!  Alcohol and coffee don’t cut it.  My drink of choice is sparkling mineral water.  But between drink cart runs, I keep a large bottled water to sip on.  To that, I like to add a little Skratch for flavor and to encourage me to keep drinking.  Arriving hydrated can make a world of difference!
My large, checked bag really is packed full of food.  It’s kind of a team joke.  But you know what?  I eat well, stay healthy, and don’t have to suffer through some of the abysmal hotel meals we encounter.  And the more I eat, the lighter my suitcase gets. In my checked bag for day-to-day consumption:
  • Vega Protein & Greens - This is how I start most mornings.  Generally, I try to avoid the European breakfasts of bread, sugar, and juice.  That’s no way to fuel when I have to sit in a car all day.
  • Coffee - Gotta have my coffee!  I travel with a Porlex hand grinder and an Aeropress.  I’ve also been known to whip in some butter and MCT or coconut oil as well.  (Bulletproof Blog).
  • When I do eat breakfast, I always add some Life of Riley Nut Butter.  This goes great with oatmeal, muesli, or fruit.  I even put a spoonful in plain yogurt and mix it up.  This stuff is addictive!
  • Klean Multivitamin - meals on the road are rarely well-rounded.  A multivitamin can go a long way toward plugging the holes.  A good probiotic is a necessity as well.
I’ll generally also pack a bar for each day.  These consist of the Gather Bars and Aloha Protein Bars listed above, and I take one with me in the team car each day.  Our team soigneurs make great lunches for the directors, doctors, mechanics, and team staff.  We’ve always got a cooler with apples, bananas, sandwiches, etc.  During this Tour de France, Andreas Klier got us on a routine of packing carrots as well.  On long stages, I’ll throw in a bag of jerky or some All Good Trail Mix. I try to go for a run on most days when I’m on the road with the Cannondale Drapac team, so I pack some Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration singles as well. At the end of the trip my luggage is always significantly lighter, but if I’ve stuck to the plan, I’ve not gained those pounds myself.  A successful trip ends with just enough snacks to refill my carry-on for the trip home. Looking for great travel snacks? Check out our Travel Survival Kit!