‘I’m on vacation,‘ you think as you dive headfirst into a large entrée followed by a succulent dessert. ‘I’ll do better when I’m not traveling. I want to enjoy this now.’
While these thoughts are the norm for most people while traveling, camping, or even stay-cationing, studies show that the majority of people also experience physical discomfort due to the more lax mindset. Non-strategic eating (also known as eat-whatever-you-want-
However, choosing to be a strategic eater while traveling can alleviate many of the physical discomforts that come when traveling. Strategic eating can be defined as following a simple formula of pairing certain nutrient-containing foods together to stabilize blood sugar and provide proper nourishment to the brain and other chemical systems in the body.
While strategic eating in the Power Foods Lifestyle has four tiers or levels of discipline, any person will find themselves experiencing less headaches, fewer blood sugar drops, mitigate their flatulence, tummy aches, and overall feelings of lethargy through living the most basic two levels of the Power Foods Lifestyle.
Let’s define Tiers 1 and 2:
Tier 1: 70% of the foods you eat throughout the day are power foods. A power food comes from the earth, is natural, and is quite basic in its preparation. (Watch the training video on Tier 1 here).
Tier 2: 90% of the foods you eat throughout the day are power foods. You plan for a strategic indulgence, whether it’s a little bit every day (30-50 grams of carbs in non-strategic carbohydrates) or 1-2 indulgence meals per week, you earn it through compliant behavior. (Watch the training video on Tier 2 here).
How does one stick to Tiers 1 and/or Tier 2 of the PFL while traveling? Let’s go through 5 basic steps:
Plan ahead for a basic meal structure.
Take out a piece of paper and separate it into the number of days on your vacation. In each compartment, write down Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks. For each day, plan in which meals you will eat at a restaurant or on the road, decide which meals would be better to make in a hotel, at the Air B’n, or in a trailer–whatever your situation might be. As you decide the possible location for each meal, you will be able to make a rough grocery list for items you might need to prepare ahead of time and which you might be able to purchase fresh at your destination (See step #2).
If you are traveling on an airplane, note that an over-the-shoulder cooler can count as your personal carry-on item. As long as you are packing right and keeping glass containers out of the cooler, as long as any other items that may be banned (look online for your airline’s specifications), you will be just fine to take food through security. Yes, even protein powder in a ziplock bag will be fine (and no, you won’t be patted down for drugs).
If you’re traveling on the road, always plan to take a cooler with ice. This will not only help you feel better by nourishing your body, but you will find you save a significant amount of money as well by not dining out for every meal.
Shop for fresh foods at your destination spot.
Take the opportunity to explore the local Farmer’s Markets in your vacation destination, or play it old-school and go to the nearest grocery store. Stock up on fast-grab veggies like carrot sticks, celery sticks, sugar snap peas, mini sweet peppers, and broccoli florets. For fast and delicious breakfasts, get eggs, avocado, and your favorite fruit. Rotisserie chickens are easy to peel from the bone for a quick salad at brunch, and you can even get fresh-sliced roast beef, turkey, or chicken from the deli.
No matter the length of your stay, purchasing food items at a grocery store or Farmer’s Market will save you money and physical discomfort with lack of nutrition on your next vacation! As you will have completed Step #1, use your basic meal structure to estimate the quantities of fresh foods you need to buy to last for your trip.
Pack fast-grab snacks that are easy to carry.
Think through your power macronutrient groups when determining which fast-grab snacks you can easily pack. These can be packed in fanny packs, backpacks, or purses for keeping with you. You never know when you’ll be stuck on a tour bus and need to balance your blood sugar.
Protein: Ready-to-drink protein shakes like Premier Protein or Muscle Milk, Nick’s Sticks Jerky or Beef Sticks, and shredded boiled chicken in small ziplock bags (if keeping on ice and really wanting to go the extra mile).
Carbs: Apples, Peaches, Pears, Oranges, Rice Cakes, Banana Chips, G2G/Pure Protein/Quest/Combat Crunch bars.
Fats: Raw almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado packets, olives,
Veggies: refer to Step #2 for the majority of your veggies, but realize you can pack veggies well if you take your own cooler on an airplane or in a vehicle on your travels.
Balance any meal with adequate protein.
Sometimes you want pasta, pizza, cereals, baguettes, or other succulent and very carbohydrate-based food. However, without adequate protein, you run the risk of bringing your blood sugar up, only to have it come careening back down. And what does your body do by default when your blood sugar starts to drop too much? Crave more sugar to bring it up. So, if you have ever wondered why you always want more sugar, more carbs, and more sugar (these are all the same!), now you know why! Eating 15-30 grams of protein with each meal you eat (preferably 5-6 smaller meals/snacks per day), will help to balance that blood sugar. I like to call it the “anchor” to every meal.
Something my clients love when I’m first getting them into strategic eating is this principle: if you want the cookie, the candy bar, or the chips, that is fine! I just need you to portion them to no more than 20-30 grams of carbs worth, and pair it with a protein to anchor that blood sugar. This is a great first stepping stone into the Power Foods Lifestyle and being a strategic eater. There are, of course, more advanced strategies* as you gain confidence and consistency in your eating habits, but this is a great starter for now.
*Advanced strategies are only taught in one-on-one coaching formats or consultations.
Stick to an indulgence meal strategy.
Referring back to Step #1, choose whether you will moderate non-strategic carbohydrates, or whether you will follow more of an Abstainer strategy. In all of my coaching, I have found anywhere from 70-80% of people begin the journey as Abstainers, but over the course of 6-12 months, many can train themselves into being a moderator.
I, myself, used to be a hardcore Abstainer as if I had a cookie, the whole plate would be gone in an hour! I can now wisely, calmly, and happily eat one cookie in addition to my strategic eating baseline without obsessing over it. It’s taken several years as I was a very severe binge eater before, but I want you to know it is possible to overcome that frenzied feeling toward food!
It just takes time, and practice, practice, practice.
(Don’t forget a lot of forgiveness of yourself when you fall short–it doesn’t happen overnight so GET BACK UP AND TRY AGAIN!):
Moderators: For one of your 6 PFL meals each day, Note: Moderators may or may not choose to employ this strategy every day. Additionally, the carbs do not need to be non-strategic (think oreos, pop-tarts, chips, etc). They can absolutely be strategic power carbs (think yams, fruit, quinoa, whole grain bread products, etc).
Abstainers: Due to feeling out of control if you get just a little taste, abstainers do better by choosing 1-2 meals per week they will indulge in. An Abstainer’s indulgence meal replaces 2 of the 6 meals (1/3 of the day). It is not a feeding window; rather, it is a meal. The most important rules to an indulgence meal are to 1) plan when you will indulge (don’t let it just “happen!”), 2) respect the meal (don’t go crazy or into a frenzied and panicked eating period!), and 3) earn it (you don’t “deserve” the indulgence–you earn it through compliance the rest of the week to your PFL strategy and wise, strategic choices!).
No matter which strategy of indulging you choose, keep your portion sizes moderate by committing to the experience of eating. You will find greater enjoyment of your travels as you feel better through strategic eating. You do not need to pull the typical all-or-nothing mindset; in fact, this will prevent you from the fullest nutrition and cuisine experience you might otherwise enjoy.
Focus on these 5 tips to be a strategic eater in the Power Foods Lifestyle on your next vacation, and see how different you feel!
You just may decide to keep going while you are in your every day structure as well. Strategic eating and the Power Foods Lifestyle is your gateway to a more enjoyable experience in your physical body. You will nourish your body while meeting the necessary psychological and emotional demands that food brings into your life.
Ditch the diets–#StrategicEating is your next level for success and helping your body function as optimally as possible during your occupation of it in this life. One of the best things you can do to train yourself to make strategic eating a way of LIFE is to complete my Body Buddies 8-week Challenge.
In this challenge, you will receive a weekly fast-grab meal plan that balances blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, helps you manage autoimmune conditions, and helps your body melt the fat off naturally along with delicious and tasty recipes to substitute when you need something different!
Additionally, you will get a full home workout plan or gym workout plan that changes every 2 weeks! With mindset coaching calls, specific podcasts to listen to each week, and a Facebook group for asking questions along the way, you will finally be taking that next step to making this a TRUE lifestyle change!
Start your 8-week Challenge ANY TIME — it’s 100% self-paced and set up for your success! All you need is a phone, laptop, or tablet to view my online portal where all the information, printable documents, and videos are located once you enroll!
I am cheering for you!
#PowerYourBody one meal, one workout, one day at a time.
Love your bud,