Before we jump in and talk about the best tips for tracking macros while traveling, it’s important that we categorize two different types of travel. There are some trips where it makes sense to track macros — business trips, quick weekend getaways, and things of the sort. These trips aren’t anything special and certainly aren’t reason to derail your progress. On the other hand, there are those really special trips — that once-in-a-life trip to Italy or that destination wedding in the Bahamas. It’s during those types of trips where being present and experiencing the moments are more important than logging your food intake. If you’re reading this, chances are your travel is more of the former kind so here’s my advice to you: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
PACK THE RIGHT THINGS
Protein Bars (Epic Bars and Rx Bars are some of my favorites)
Protein Powder (Transfer some powder with the scoop to a Ziploc bag)
Collagen Peptides (Vital Proteins sells single packs)
Dried Fruit Chips
Squeeze baby food pouches (Fuel for Fire packs have protein in them, but you can find other options at any grocery store)
Single-Serving Nut Butter Packets
Portable Food Scale (how cool is this?)
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LODGING
Book a room with a kitchenette or an Airbnb with a full kitchen so you can at least prepare some meals. If that’s not possible, try to at least get a room with a microwave and refrigerator.
HIT THE GROCERY STORE
Get to the grocery store for ready-to-eat things that you couldn’t necessarily pack in your luggage. Things like a rotisserie chicken or pre-washed and pre-sliced fruits and veggies are always a good idea to have around.
RESEARCH THE LOCAL RESTAURANTS
Research in advance and see what restaurants are near your hotel/Airbnb. Chances are, there will be a Panera, Chipotle, or some other chain restaurant that has all their nutritional information either in MyFitnessPal or on their website. It would be surprising if there wasn’t a Whole Foods nearby, which always has a fully stocked hot bar and salad bar (many options of which have nutritional information in MFP). You can estimate portion sizes with your hands (see below) or bring it back to your hotel and weigh everything with your super cool, portable food scale.
WHEN YOU’RE OUT TO EAT, USE YOUR HANDS TO ESTIMATE
When you’re at a restaurant, choose a meal with nutritional info that could be easy to estimate. For example, order a roasted half chicken with a side of vegetables and eyeball the amounts (see hand guide below). Try to avoid meals that have breading or sauces. If you go to a Mexican spot, that would be something like a fajita platter. If you’re at a burger place, deconstruct the burger and estimate the portion of each ingredient individually. At a steakhouse? Most of the work is done — the menu usually lists the weight of the protein and then you just have to estimate portion sizes for the sides. At the very least, if you go to dinner with the knowledge that you still have lots of protein and carbs left to eat and not very much fat, choose something off the menu that could generally work (a lean protein and generous source of carbs, like chicken with rice and beans).
HAVE GROCERIES READY WHEN YOU GET BACK
This piece of advice I have to credit to Team FYF member, Jennifer Wolfe. She is a freelance TV producer who travels a ton for work and has recently shared this advice that was so great, so I had to add. When traveling, consider using a service like FreshDirect or InstaCart to get groceries delivered to your door right around the time you know you’ll be home to receive them post-travel. This way, you don’t have to scramble to the grocery store after a long flight to ensure you have what you need to keep crushing your macro goals. Both services also have apps too, so it’s easy to quickly place your order on-the-go.
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