Traveling often means breakfast buffets, endless street food, and decadent dinners.
The different cuisines, ingredients and eating schedules can throw off your digestive system and energy level.
Meal prep can help bring them into balance (Of course, you're traveling! So give yourself some leeway.)
Whether you're going on holiday, taking a road trip, or traveling for business, try these meal prep tips to save money and balance your more indulgent meals.
Begin by researching your destination. Is there a supermarket nearby? Does your hotel or accommodation have a fridge? Lucky if you do! You can bring food that needs to stay cool.
Cook and portion meals into individual servings. Make sure you prepare meals that meet your daily nutrient requirements and are easy to eat.
Mix and match proteins, fats, and carbs that you enjoy. Wraps and sandwiches are easy to eat with one hand and don't make much mess. Bento boxes are also a great idea.
- Protein: Tuna, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, sliced turkey
- Fat: Avocado, nut butter, extra virgin olive oil
- Carbs: Brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal. Don't forget fibre - nobody wants to be constipated while traveling.
Choose snacks that won't need refrigeration, reheating or create a mess in your lap when eating. Single-serve snacks are a great and easy-to-eat option.
- Protein bars, granola bars
- Nuts and seeds
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Apples, grapes, oranges (pack any soft fruit into a box)
- Carrots and celery sticks with single-serve nut butter
- Rice cakes, popcorn
- Beef jerky
- Dark chocolate
1. Ziplock bags. These help you reduce space, keep your luggage light and are reusable. Pack your snacks for the day, or even individual protein powder portions.
2. Utensils. Bring along a spoon/fork/knife/reusable straw so you're ready to eat where you please. Picnic at the beach? Easy.
3. Any supplements or conveniences. Bring your protein powder, probiotics, or your favourite tea. The food we eat on our travels is often out of our norm - whether it's the cuisine, ingredients or schedule. Maintaining elements of your usual diet will help you regulate your digestive system.
4. Containers. Choose a leak-proof container to avoid spills - your luggage will be jostled and you don't want to clean up the mess.
5. Reusable water bottle. Make sure you empty it before reaching customs. You can fill it up at water-filter stations usually found near restrooms. This way you stay hydrated and save money on water.
6. (For the ultra-prepared) Cooler and ice-packs. If you are flying, bring ziplock bags filled with ice. You'll need to empty these at customs. But you can refill the bags from a soda/ice machine at a fast-food restaurant, once you have passed customs.
At the airport
There are no restrictions on domestic travelers.
If you are flying internationally, from Australia or New Zealand (1,2)
Any liquids, gels or food with a soft consistency (peanut butter, hummus, soft cheeses) must be in a container 100 milliliters or 100 grams or less in size. Larger containers will be discarded by border security. These containers must fit into a re-sealable transparent plastic bag, with size approximately 20cm x 20cm.
There's no limit on organic powders (including protein powders, baby formula and coffee).
If you have access to the executive lounge, you can find free bottled water, fruit and tea.
At your destination
Unpack immediately. Store all foods that need to remain cool in your fridge.
You can fill your water bottle from the tap or with boiled water, or with filtered water if you have access to the gym.
If you can stick partially to your usual routine, you'll be able to treat yourself while you travel (without wreaking havoc on your health). Also, it'll be easier to get back on track when you return.
It's all about finding a balance. You don't need to indulge heavily every day of your travels, and you don't need to stick to a strict diet either.
Enjoy yourself, and happy travels!
1. Australian Border Force (2019). "Can you bring it in?" Australian Government. Sourced from: https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/can-you-bring-it-in/bring-on-a-plane
2. Aviation Security Service (2019). "Powders, liquids, aerosols, and gels (PLAGs)" New Zealand Government. Sourced from: https://www.aviation.govt.nz/passenger-information/what-to-expect-at-the-airport/powders-liquids-aerosols-and-gels-plags/