Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Travel Meet Eating Tips

Traveling to swim meets (and even on business and/or for pleasure) can easily throw our general dietary regimen out of whack. The comforts of our own homes are lost. No longer do we have the refrigerator stocked with all our essentials, a pantry where we can find healthy snacks, nor do we even have the option to cook our own meals. The reality that our eating habits at times of travel are going to be a bit different is not necessarily a problem. What's important is that we have a plan for how we are going to manage the situation.

For those of you who know me, you'll know that I'm not much of a planner. Logistics and thinking ahead on travel is not always my strong-suit. However, I generally do a pretty good job of bringing along some of my essentials that I know help contribute to my healthy diet. Here is a list of some ideas I try and do during travel:

  • If you're really on your game you might want to scope out a few places to eat before you arrive. Find some healthy spots. Ask around or even tweet a question to followers about where to go.
  • Hydration is a big issue when traveling. Sometimes we don't even realize how dehydrated we become during travel until it's too late. If you're on your way to a competition then you'd better be thinking about hydrating throughout the trip. I like to pack something called ElectroMix and mix it into my water to help keep my body full of electrolytes.
  • Packing snacks is easy and will make your life a lot easier. Some of the things I bring are dried fruits (apples, mangos, strawberries, cranberries, prunes, cantaloupe, and blueberries), nuts (walnuts and almonds), and energy bars (Cliff Bars and Powerbars).
  • My workouts always include a sport's drink during exercise and a post-workout drink after exercise. Be sure to pack enough of these with you so you don't run out. I always try and pack more than I need in case something time a Black Bear snuck into my room and was eating my recovery powder right out of the bottle...we got into a fight...naturally I won.
Most meets include dining out at restaurants. The ultimate is to have meals prepared for you which are in keeping of what you ate in training. At the Olympic Trials in 2008 and the World Championship Trials in 2009 my parents prepared meals and brought them to the meet for me. What a lucky guy I am! If you are going to dine out it's important to have some things in mind:
  • Go for things that look the least processed. If I have the choice of a whole baked sweet potato or sweet potato casserole I'll always chose the whole food. No need to mess with nature.
  • Ask for your veggies steamed without salt. Most places will heavily salt them as they saute them in oil.
  • Always ask for whole grain and whole wheat breads.
  • Do your best to stay away from the desserts...if you're competing you surely don't need them.
  • Keep the sodas and heavy sugar drinks out of your hands. Drinks high in sugar will spike our energy levels suddenly but will then drop dramatically and put us in a valley. At meets it is important to keep our energy on a level playing field. We want our adrenaline to pump us up, not sugar.
Trust me when I say it's hard to do all of these correct. We're are all humans and sometimes we make mistakes and need cheats. The important thing is to be mindful of the good habits to have during travel and put them into action whenever and wherever we can. Keep up the good work.


Melissa G said...

"one time a Black Bear snuck into my room and was eating my recovery powder right out of the bottle...we got into a fight...naturally I won." Naturally! LOL :D

P.S. Responded to your tweet from last night with some suggestions about where to eat in Columbia. I have a friend who's a local and recommended them.

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