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How to not screw up everything while traveling

Posted by Joel Marion
I write this blog to you from the passenger seat of my car, as my wonderful wife drives and my little booger sleeps in the back seat.
We’ll be on the road for the next 4 hours, and then “out of town” for the next 2 weeks…bringing us to the topic of today’s post:  eating on the road.
And I’ll be completely honest here—eating healthy while traveling can be a real challenge at times.

Just think back to the last time you had a business trip or were required to be away from home for a few days-what did your diet look like?

If you’re like most, the term “healthy” isn’t anywhere in sight.

Fortunately, though, eating healthy while on the road doesn’t have to be an impossible task, and with a little foresight, it can actually become quite painless.

It all comes down to planning.

With a plan in place, if you know you’ll be in a situation where access to healthy food may be scarce, you already know how you are going to handle that situation (instead of winging it once you’re there, which almost always ultimately leads to poor food choices).

Before your next trip, look into the various situations you will be in, and devise a plan of action. Here are a few tips for some of the situations you are likely to encounter:

  • Travel: If taking the train, pack a healthy meal to enjoy on your trip. If flying, check with the airline in advance to see if they offer any healthy options on board, or you can pack something easily portable such as a sandwich, fruit, etc.
  • Long Days: Sometimes you’ll have back to back to back meetings with very little time to eat. If you know this will be the case, plan your course of action in advance. The solution may be to just ensure that you have a local place to enjoy a healthy lunch or to even bring a few healthy snacks along as you go through your busy day.  For these types of situations, I love Prograde Protein (all natural, stevia sweetened protein powder) and their ultra convenient fruit flavored protein packets, Prograde Fusion (pour directly into a bottle of water and shake…couldn’t be easier).
  • Downtime: Even on the busiest trips, there will be some downtime in which what you eat is up to you. Before you leave, check out the restaurants in the area (many websites have online menus) and pick a few places that you’d like to eat. Additionally, scope out the area for any grocery stores close to your hotel where you can do a little shopping for your stay; just be sure your room is equipped with a refrigerator beforehand.
  • Back-up Planning: Things don’t always go as planned, so it’s best to always have “safe” back-up, alternative choices on hand. Throw a couple healthy snack bars (I recommend Prograde Cravers – the best tasting, all-natural organic bar you’ll ever taste), Prograde Fusion packets, or pieces of fruit in your bag just in case you get held up longer than expected.

As the saying goes, fail to plan, and you might as well plan to fail. So, instead, plan to succeed and take a few minutes to incorporate the above tips into your holiday travel plans.

Find this post helpful? Have any additional tips you can share with our members? What are some ways that help you stick to your diet while on the road?

Post your reply in the comments section!

Talk to you there,



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65 comments - add yours
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@Dick – It’s best to go the low carb route when eating at a fast food establishment (skip the bun, etc) or go with a salad. Most of these places do offer several decent options, you just sometimes have to look to find them :-)


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It’s the eating at someone else’s house that I find the hardest, where they control the food! Especially when they make a special effort to cook desert!

My sister once said as I arrived, I especially cooked a gluten free cake for you! – I have an intollerance to wheat, and this usually covers me not having to eat too many carbs, but her dessert was packed full of sugar (which is even worse for me than eating wheat), and she had made a special effort to make something she thought I could eat and enjoy.

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One thing I find is that most restaurant meals are just way to many calories to eat at one time. THE FIRST THING I ASK FOR IS A TO-GO BOX – I do this before I even start eating. THEN – I take 1/2 of everything in the meal and pack it up to-go. After that I only eat what i have left on the plate. WHEN YOU TRAVEL this allows you to enjoy the good food and HAVE A MEAL FOR LATER or the NEXT MORNING – it can really ave you some $$ too.

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Is beef jerky a little to high in salt for us transfomers?
@Joel Marion

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I remember back in March when I started my fitness journey. I had a ton of weight to lose and I was traveling for business. I found myself on an early flight and the only thing in the airport that early were greasy egg and cheese busicuits … no way was I going to eat that. I searched hard and found a green salad with chicken. The hard part was getting over the paradigm that breakfast couldn’t be a salad with chicken … stupid right? My body doesn’t know meals … its my brain and and it had to be told another story. I got some weird looks, but then, I look a lot better than most of the people giving me a weird look … HAHAHA.

One other planning tip … make sure there is an exercise option where you are going. Nothing like a work out to releive some of that holiday stress that can result in emotional eating!

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I do not care about eating when I go to visit my friends for the Holiday.I try to get more fun and eat everything they are cooking.My friends do not eat cereals or Hamburgers.They are cooking at home.So, I know that the tasty food is expecting me and my Family Members.
The same I do when invite my friends to me.We are cooking and try to put the best food on the table. It’s tradition in my back home and we do not change it in America.

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My number one tip is always pack healthy snacks for all trips. My two favourites are my water bottle and almonds (put into one oz baggies for easy portion size). These get me through a lot of situations like flights and meetings when I get hungry.
I also sometimes use 24 hour fasting (Eat Stop Eat) at each end of business trips to avoid poor food choices while flying and manage my calories over the week. Fasting is not that difficult.
Plan and schedule your work-outs as part of the trip finding out where the local gyms are located or doing a bodyweight program in the hotel room.
If attending business meetings where food is being brought in ask for them to include fruit and veggies so you can eat those.
When ever possible buy fresh fruit and vegetables and eat it during your travels. I have been traveling on business for over 20 years and options have changed greatly. Now many airport and gas station shops have fresh fruit – just look around for it. Salads have also increased even at fast food outlets so buy those to eat.

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Hey Joel:

Where about in South Carolina are you going to be traveling through?

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That’s a good post, I haven’t taken too many trips lately, but will remember these next time I do! :)

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Hi Joel,
I myself will be taking a business trip to Germany this weekend. There’s all kinds of food temptations there (including the fantastic beer…), but definitely I’ll try to plan ahead this time.

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i recently travelled from Canada to Holland for 10 days and I had such a hard time eating healthy. None of the restaraurants really offer any healthy alternatives. Luckily I was staying in an apartment with a small kitchen and was able to stock up on yogurt and fruit and managed to come back from my trip w/o gaining any wieght, but I sure will plan better for next time (now that I know where the grocery store is in Amsterdam!)

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When car traveling we often stop at a grocery store and buy hummus, already cut up carrot sticks and celery, nuts & string cheese. I also make homemade beef jerky sometimes when we’re going to be in remote places without a lot of food options. I don’t think it’s that hard to find healthy options at most places eating out. I also avoid the carbs and stick to proteins and try not to sweat whatever fat they may have “sauteed” it in. Seafood is always a winner and you can usually always order it more lightly cooked. Or go to a nearby grocery store and buy peeled plain shrimp & get a salad.

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@Joel Marion@patty – I actually have that problem with alcohol but I LOVE that idea for the sugar/fats! I know that most people think I’m an extremist but I feel so much better cutting out all the junk…wheat, sugar, bad oils.

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I take small baggies of oatmeal and protein powder. Bottled water usually available to add protein pwder to as is hot water for oatmeal. I also carry salmon and tuna in small foil packs, spoon, and small mustard packets or a small lime juice in squeeze bottle.

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@Joel Marion
I just go on and say im on antibiotics, that way I can avoid alcohol the whole night and avoid packing calories since when I drink I drink like a madman

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Am leaving on a trip on Thursday, and plan to pack a cooler box with lots of water, crudites (cucumber, carrot sticks, tomatoes etc), humus, grilled chicken pieces, nuts and fresh fruit. Eating this way, you don’t get as tired and sluggish while driving as you do when stopping for greasy takeaways, coffee or eating sweets & chips, and you arrive at your destination feeling fresh and perky!

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as starting with unhealthy means i won t stop, i pack ricecakes/oatcakes with turkey and a variety of fruit..if i haven t got anything prepared i drink a lot of water, spot someone fat that is eating and I tell myself ‘it is worth not eating at the very right moment if I wait till i ve got a healthuer option that won t make me turn into him!’..maybe mean but works for me hehe

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Hi Everyone

I actually sent this question directly to Joel but then I thought “why not ask others what they experienced and if they have some advice?”

Here is the problem

I am doing the cheat your way thin program and I am in the first week of the core phase. I have had very little results as far as weight loss and inches lost. I am a personal trainer and pretty active and fit and also eat a very healthy diet but i am having a hard time getting rid of those last 10 -15 lbs.
I thought I would try this program to see if it works and hopefully share it with my clients as well. But I am feeling frustrated at the lack of “movement” in my fat loss.

Does anyone have a similar story or something that they can share that will help me out?I am a vegetarian so I get most of my protein from fish,eggs and nuts and seeds.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated



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Hi Joel, I have been on your programme for only two weeks and already I have had possitive comments on my appearance. I wanted to say was that I am encouraged by your interaction and info updates, it makes me feel I am not alone and I feel encouraged in my venture. Thank you

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Whenever I leave home for longer than a shopping trip I pack a box of apple wedges and another of carrot sticks, nuts and/or almonds. When I have fresh whole rye bread in the house, this is another trip-staple since really filling. This is sure stuff that I know everyone in the car will enjoy and I can toss them guilt-free into my boys’ screaming mouths and welcome silence into the car once again. :)

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No matter where i go or what I’m doing I pack a portable soft “cooler bag” with cut up veges, fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc (usually in seperate plastic containers)and put an ice brick in it. It lasts and stays cool all day and when i reach my destination i refreeze the ice brick and put the leftovers in the fridge. I usually freeze a water bottle as well as it acts like an ice brick and gives me extra cold water for the trip. I also did this everyday for a year while i was studying. i never bought lunch or snacks or drinks, i always had them on me ready to go. (including cutlery and napkins). If it is important to you will make the time and effort and feel better for it.

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I like to make my own tortillas, and fill them with vegetables, meat and some sort of low calorie dressing that isn’t too watery. They stay dry, and make excellent packed meals.

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@maria – Maria – I too am on the first week of the core phase and before starting cheat your way thin I ate healthy and excercised every day but I am also struggling to loose those last few kilos. I have lost 1kg (about 2 pounds) since starting the program and after two weeks I had expected to loose more and like you are feeling a little frustrated that not much is happing as I have followed the program as Joel has suggested.

I don’t really have any answers or great advice but wanted you to know that your not the only one feeling the way you do.

I guess it is a matter of just sticking to it and trying to keep a positive attitude and as much as I would like to loose those few extra kilos I know that I am healthy and fit and doing all that I can.

Best of luck and don’t give up.


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Water is the key to road travel for me, coz if I stay hydrated, I am much more balanced when it comes to eating and I stay alert at the wheel. So I pack several 600ml bottles of icy filtered water (a couple frozen) into a cold bag and bung them into the car. Then I can sip them one by one as I drive and when I get to my destination, or I can add protein shake to them for a fill up. It is a really cheap and green way to have good water. Of course, we girls also need to know where the public loos are on along the way!

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Thanks for the tips Joel, I’m heading on a road trip to visit my family this weekend and instead of the usual lollies/chips that accompany this I’m going to pack some good old carrot and celery sticks and nuts so I still have something to eat AND it’s good for me :)

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