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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,375

    eating healthy while traveling

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    What do you eat when you travel to avoid junk?
    I've been traveling nearly every weekend this summer. Not on the bike, necessarily, more often at dog shows (OK, when you get through laughing, please read on)... I gain on average 2 lb every weekend. I lose that and sometimes a little more during the week.
    I've pain an extra $15/night for this weekend so I'll have a fridge and microwave in my room.
    But, what to bring?
    hard boiled eggs for breakfast?
    Lunch and dinner are a complete mystery - cheese and crackers is better than McD's but there has to be something better than that that can be carried in a cooler or bag.

    I so want to end this gain/loss cycle I've been on.
    At home I eat cottage cheese or yogurt and fruit for breakfast and sometimes lunch and giant salads for an early dinner.
    My photoblog
    http://dragons-fly-peacefully.blogspot.com/
    Bacchetta Giro (recumbent commuter)
    Bacchetta Corsa (recumbent "fast" bike)
    Greespeed X3 (recumbent "just for fun" trike)
    Strada Velomobile
    I will never buy another bike!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,823
    Since you reference McDs, there are fast food options that are better for you -- some of the sandwiches at Subway or Panera, for example, or a grilled chicken sandwich from a fast food place. I've read that roast beef is not a bad choice, if you're near an Arby's, and they also have turkey sandwiches on wheat bread. And the last time I was at Wendy's the guy in front of me ordered a chicken salad that actually looked pretty good.

    If you've got a fridge, why not bring yogurt and cottage cheese and a giant pre-made salad, or buy some at a local store after you check in? For breakfast, a healthy cereal with low-fat milk or oatmeal should be doable.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    1,899
    With a microwave, fridge, a bowl and a spoon, you can eat like a queen!

    Oatmeal is my normal breakfast when travelling, and NOT the crummy, overly sweet "instant" stuff. Just mix 1/2 cup of oatmeal with one cup of water in your bowl. Mix and put in microwave for one minute. Stir. Put it back in the microwave for another minute. KEEP AN EYE ON IT. As it cooks, it will start to rise in the middle. I think of it like a little oatmeal volcano. If you walk away from it, you will end up with a boiled over mess. (Ask me how I know this... ) But if you keep an eye on it, just stir it once or twice as it starts to rise and it won't boil over. Remove from the microwave and let it sit for a minute or two (preferably covered with something flat, if you have it) to allow the water to completely absorb into the oatmeal. Top with a baggie of nuts/raisins/seeds, etc. Can also top with a freshly sliced banana.

    Apples and bananas travel best and don't need refrigeration. I often carry grapes in a tupperware container.

    I always stock my mini fridge with yogurt. Cereal or granola makes a nice topping as does fruit.

    A loaf of bread, some deli sliced cheese & turkey, and some condiments (brought from home if you are driving, or in fast food packets if you aren't) make great toppings.

    I like to stop at a supermarket at my destination if possible. Less to keep cool in a cooler, and sometimes new places have great discoveries. Might be an interesting item or salad in a deli case, etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Susan
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    When I travel, I often go out of my way to secure rooms with at least a fridge...a microwave is a bonus. I do my own booking, so that I can control that. When I arrive, I scope out the nearest grocery store (starting with Whole Foods and working my way down to a regular store since I have pretty specific needs). Then I stock up. Breakfasts are usually nuked chicken sausages and fruit or in the absence of a microwave, hard boiled eggs, cold chicken, tuna or uncured salami or summer sausage with the fruit. I buy a container of quac, a small bag of carrots, pre-cut raw veggies and fruit to have in my room. I travel with almond butter packets, tuna pouches, apples, grape tomatoes, lara bars and raw nuts on my person. I've tried other things as well, but these have been the most successful for me.

    In restaurants, I choose salads with a meat (typically chicken) most of the time unless its a splurge or nicer meal where I can get good cuts of steak or fish with veggies. A plain green salad topped with my handy tuna pouch is also a good choice.

    The last two travel seasons for me (I travel most of the month of Sept/Oct and then again in Jan/Feb), I actually lost weight when it was all said and done.

    Bear in mind, if there is a flight involved, you will see fluctuations in body hydration levels affecting what you see on the scale. Our bodies don't like to be pressurized like that! Additionally, even without a flight, any time you eat restaurant food, even if it's healthy, it tends to be higher in sodium also causing scale fluctuations.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,375
    Thank you all, some really good ideas here. I will do some Googling to look for a grocery store near the venue this weekend, they are oftentimes in rather rural areas. Still I can bring a cooler with me.
    I like some of the tuna/chicken and veggie ideas. I'm going to have to Google Quac, never heard of it.
    oatmeal - still has to be instant I assume. I usually cook the whole oats in a crock overnight, so haven't had the 5 min version in years.
    My photoblog
    http://dragons-fly-peacefully.blogspot.com/
    Bacchetta Giro (recumbent commuter)
    Bacchetta Corsa (recumbent "fast" bike)
    Greespeed X3 (recumbent "just for fun" trike)
    Strada Velomobile
    I will never buy another bike!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,446
    Grape-sized tomatos, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, yogurt, granola, spinach leaves, small potatoes, eggs, milk, string cheese, raw nuts, pre-cooked grain, raw carrots.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    1,899
    Quote Originally Posted by TsPoet View Post
    Thank you all, some really good ideas here. I will do some Googling to look for a grocery store near the venue this weekend, they are oftentimes in rather rural areas. Still I can bring a cooler with me.
    I like some of the tuna/chicken and veggie ideas. I'm going to have to Google Quac, never heard of it.
    oatmeal - still has to be instant I assume. I usually cook the whole oats in a crock overnight, so haven't had the 5 min version in years.
    Guac is guacamole.

    Also, re-read my post. I use regular oats, not instant. I despise instant oatmeal. Too sweet and artificial tasting, and the texture is unpleasant to me. Regular oatmeal cooks up just fine in a microwave. Try it at home, you'll see!

    Susan
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
    See our newest cycling jerseys
    1-877-310-4592

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Hello, I travel quite a bit for work. Unlike others, I rarely use the room fridge because I move from day to day. However, most motels I go to have a breakfast served of some sort, and there's usually yogurt and fruit in the morning. I choose them and maybe some scrambled eggs instead of waffles and danishes.

    For lunches, I hit up Subway quite a bit, and I just don't eat the bread. I stick to turkey and load it up with veggies. Of course, skip the chips and soda. Choose water and apples instead.

    Dinners I can usually get a salad with chicken or salmon. No soda. Soda has tons of calories and no benefits.

    If you are going to dog shows, you could pack a cooler full of apples, carrots, dried fruit, bananas and yogurt to eat while at the dog show. There's alot of waiting around at dog shows, which easily leads to unhealthy snacking if you don't prepare alternate snacks.

    Also, make sure to move while you are away. Take the stairs whenever you have the chance, walk the dog a few more times around the parking lot (the dog will love it), and do core exercise in your room: Pilates, pushups, planks, whatever. Sometimes I watch the PX90 infomercials and just improvise as they talk and flex.

    At the very minimum, eliminate soda, candy, and junk food. Bring some fruit and veggies to snack on. Make good choices when there's a choice to make.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Otcenas View Post
    Guac is guacamole.
    Yep, sorry...guacamole. (sorry about the 'q' in there!)
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    I second the suggestion of choosing salads at restaurants. Even McD has a salad. I'd rather have a McD salad than a Subway sub. The Subway wraps are decent. Go easy on the carbs when you're traveling, avoid simple sugars (soda & junk), snack on veggies & fruit, dried fruit if necessary, and you'll be a lot more comfortable with less calories. In addition to bananas & apples I'd add oranges--they travel well but they are messy to eat.

    It's funny you bring this up right now, because a few days ago in anticipation of my 2 weeks in Phoenix I googled "hotel cooking". Did you know some people consider the iron to be a cooking appliance? I'm not gonna try that one!

    I read some funny stories about cooking in the coffee pot, or using the coffee maker's heater as a burner.

    I have a microwave and a fridge in this hotel. There's a toaster oven in the break area of the lab I'm working in which opens up possibilities!

    So far I haven't cooked anything, because I haven't had a chance to go to the grocery store. I got here Sunday night. I'm heading to the store in a few minutes on my rental bike!

    A note to explain the oatmeal thing. Rolled oats are sometimes called instant oats. They come in a cardboard cylinder box. They are plain and you can add good healthy stuff to do them, anything from dried fruit & honey to peanut butter to cream cheese to salsa! They take a minute to cook, you can use any liquid, milk or water or juice.

    Then there are these little packets of instant oatmeal, that have tons of sugar added. That's what you want to avoid.

    Last there's oats that aren't rolled, like steel cut oats. Those take an hour or more to bake or boil or whatever. Not all grocery stores carry this.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,952
    Subway now carries salads - though this may not be new. I didn't take enough food to my mtb/camping event this last weekend and was scrambling to find some food in a small town. I don't normally eat processed meats, and their "chicken" is probably pretty much anything but real chicken - but I was thankful to have the option!

    That night I went to one of the local restaurants and they were willing to work with me on my menu choices to come up with a good meal that I would eat without it costing me $30. My server got a good tip

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,365
    Don't discount whole cooked chickens or a half a chicken which you can usually get at a supermarket. Pair that with a microwaved bowl of spinach or Zatarain's red beans and rice... that's what we usually do for dinner when we travel. For breakfast, depending on what I'm traveling for (and don't laugh, but it used to be alpaca shows) take fresh fruit, a bagel or oatmeal, and yogurt. Gives you plenty of fuel for walking around those arenas. For snacks, pack nuts and raisins and sesame seeds with peanut m&ms for a modified gorp to keep you from buying food from the arena food stand. Drink lots of water. If you plan it right, you will have plenty of options.

    If you do end up going out, take time to google local restaurants on yelp.com. What might look like a dive or a hole in the wall in Thumbtack, Maine, might very well be a hidden gem of a bistro with all kinds of good-for-you and tasty meals. We always take a peak at yelp, tripadvisor, groupon (for local coupons in other towns - yay!) and plan out (when we can) where and how we'll eat in advance to save money. And then when we WANT to have a spontaneous meal out, we don't feel so forced to go through the McDs drive-through.
    I can do five more miles.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,560
    Taco Bell has a new "Cantina Bell" menu which I plan to check out.

    I don't eat meat, so when doing hotel/microwave cooking I have used pre-cooked rice from Trader Joe's to make beans and rice.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    A long thin country
    Posts
    392
    Another note on oatmeal--I like to add a spoonful of powdered milk for a fuller flavor. When I'm traveling, I'll make up little baggies for each breakfast, with the oats, powdered milk, raisins, and a bit of brown sugar. Just transfer to a bowl and add boiling water.

    ETA: Another thought--if you are eating fast food, some of the weight gain might actually be water retention from eating saltier food than normal, especially if you're fluctuating so quickly over the week.
    ~Jen
    2008 Trek Madone 5.1/compact double/Terry Butterfly
    My family's food and winemaking blog is www.flahertywines.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Quote Originally Posted by PamNY View Post
    Taco Bell has a new "Cantina Bell" menu which I plan to check out.

    I don't eat meat, so when doing hotel/microwave cooking I have used pre-cooked rice from Trader Joe's to make beans and rice.
    Huh. That actually looks interesting. I see lots of chicken - I wonder if they're willing to make it veggie friendly (my preference). I'll have to give it a shot - if you do, please report back!
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

 

 

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