By Gigi Amurao
In today’s busy world, we’re always on the go-go-go. Whether it’s work, play, or rushing to the gym; business travel or vacation; chasing the kids around the house or chauffeuring them around town, or any of a myriad of things that keep our schedules full, we’re always away from home. That’s great, but it wreaks havoc on our efforts to lose weight and stick with an eating plan. It’s a challenge to eat right when you have so many restaurants, fast-food outlets, grocery stores, and bakeries available. It’s easier to just grab something and go. To fight those impulses, I’ve come up with a 20-point list of tips to help you get the most out of your efforts, no matter where life takes you.
Gigi’s Guide to Eating on the Go
1) If you’re planning to be away from home for several hours, eat a healthy meal before you go. Make it something satisfying so you don’t find yourself hungry and reaching for junk.
2) Pack several healthy snacks, like nuts, granola, fruit, peanut butter and celery sticks, hard-boiled eggs, and/or a tuna sandwich. It will help you stick with your plan better than if you have nothing with you, and you reach for that candy bar.
3) When a convenience store is your only option, don’t sweat it. Choose the veggies or carrot sticks or a packaged salad.
4) In general, aim for better, not perfect.
5) If you’re on a plane and have to purchase something to eat, opt for the healthiest snack. I find that the “tapas boxes” or similar offerings are the best choice, as they usually include nuts, olives, cheeses, and meats you can pick through.
IN A HOTEL
6) If you’re going to be staying at a hotel, consider booking a room with a kitchenette.
7) If you do have a kitchenette in your room, head to the nearest grocery store as soon as you check in, and stock up on boxed salads, veggies, hummus, deli meats, fruit, waters and anything else that is on your diet plan. If there’s a stove, you can cook your meals.
8) If you don’t have a kitchenette, ask the hotel to empty out the minibar fridge, or see if you can rent a little fridge. Most hotels have them available for a small fee. Then stock up at the grocery store. Also, most hotels have microwaves you can rent for an additional fee.
9) If you’re at a restaurant, the food can be heavy and served in large portions, but there’s usually a workaround. Have the chef modify your meal to make it as cleanly as possible. Then eat half and save the other half for later.
10) Again, don’t aim for perfection when you’re in a restaurant; just pick the menu item that’s the best for you.
11) Look for places where you can build your own meal, like Chipotle, the Whole Foods salad bar, or Pret A Manger. That way you can monitor what you eat.
12) If fast food is your only option, get creative. Order a sandwich, preferably grilled, hold the bun, and instead of fries, see if you can sub a side salad or a fruit cup. ON LONGER STAYS
13) If you know ahead of time that your week will be busy and you won’t have time to cook, make a plan. Dieting takes effort, so you need to do whatever it takes to stay on track. One tool at your disposal is to order your groceries from a local store or a service like Fresh Direct, and have them delivered—or plan to pick them up—in time to prep your food for the week on the weekend. If that’s tough too, try using a company that will ship ready-to-heat meals to your home.
14) If you’re staying somewhere for a more than a few days, ship yourself a box of cheap kitchen gadgets and nonperishable food items—a knife and cutting board, a shaker bottle for your shakes, and some healthy snacks.
15) If you’re traveling, decide ahead of time whether it’s worth it to stick with your plan or take a break. Understand that if you do take a break, it will be harder to get back on track, and be prepared for that.
16) Don’t stress. Always remember to aim for the better choice if you can’t have the perfect one. That mindset will help you avoid the screw-it mentality.
17) Pack your portioned home-cooked meals in a cooler, and bring it with you wherever you go. That way you will know exactly how your food was prepared and what’s in it.
18) Hunger is not the end of the world. If you’re getting ready for a contest, missing a meal by a couple hours won’t destroy your prep strategy. If you don’t like your food options, it’s okay to wait until you can get to your healthy meal.
19) Drink tons of water! Water helps curb hunger, and it’s good for you.
20) Be patient, and know that you will get there. Your journey to a healthier, fitter lifestyle is not a race. Take it one day at a time, one meal at a time, and do your best to stay consistent. If you stray, get back on track the next hour or the next day. You don’t have to wait till Monday to start fresh.
You got this!
As an IFBB bikini pro, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, online coach, fitness model and TV host, Gigi Amurao blasted onto the competitive bikini scene in 2012. A lifelong athlete who excelled in collegiate lacrosse and gymnastics, she earned an MBA in marketing and an advanced certificate in sports and entertainment management and enjoyed a career in network advertising before finding her passion in helping others achieve their fitness goals. As a model, she’s appeared in Muscle & Fitness Hers, Inside Fitness, and Flex Magazine. DigitalMuscle.com is proud to feature Gigi here in her own featured blog!