Q&A Tuesday:
How to CRUSH Your Nutrition While Traveling

Welcome back to our “Q&A Tuesday” series, where each week we take a question that we get asked all the time and share our expertise.  In case you missed it, last week we covered, “What is Better for Fat Loss – Cardio or Weight Training?” In case you missed it, you can catch it HERE.

We are back with another nutrition topic this week and a super popular one.  In fact one that almost all of our clients struggle with to some extent – nutrition and travel, particularly when it comes to work travel.  Today we bring you some tried and true insight on how to set yourself up for success on the road and not come back heavier 🙂

how to crush your nutrition while traveling

It can be super easy to fall out of a nutrition routine when traveling.  For starters, your routine is no longer your routine. Your schedule, surroundings and available options are all different.  For most people, these changes can be enough to throw them off track.

Throw work travel into the mix and it becomes even more difficult.  Long, busy, hectic days filled with meetings where catered food choices can become limited (pizza, anyone?) or 5-course corporate dinners where the wine flows freely.  These situations are common and while they can certainly make healthy eating much more difficult, we are here to show you how it can be done.

Regardless of whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for work, our 4-P Travel System can set you up for success. Follow along below as we lay out the 4 P’s.


Our first P, is no secret.  Preparation alone can get you really, really far and it’s the first step to setting yourself up for success when it comes to nutrition and travel.  The best way to prepare for an upcoming trip is to take a look at the specifics of your trip, beginning with…

  • how long with you be gone for – days, weeks, even a month?
  • where will you be traveling – a remote area with limited or no access to stores or more of a metropolitan area?
  • where will you be staying – will there be a kitchen or mini fridge in your room?

travel nutrition

These are all great starting questions to ask yourself that will help lead into the following 3 P’s.

Pack Ahead

Once you have your trip specifics laid out, or as much as you can solidify, next comes the packing.  Even if you’re staying somewhere with access to great food stores, it’s never a bad idea to go into your trip with healthy go-to snacks on hand.  

Sometimes flights get delayed, traffic happens, schedules shift and your free time becomes non-existent.  In these instances, you’ll be super happy to know that you have packed some friendly options that can either be thrown together for a small meal or be used as a snack.

Some great non-perishable healthy food options that are all packable are:

  • fruit (apples, oranges, bananas)
  • dried fruit
  • mixed nuts
  • beef jerky
  • nut butter individual packets (Justin’s makes yummy ones)
  • low sugar, high protein bars (Quest and Think Thin are a few of our favorites)

crush your nutrittion while traveling

If you will have access to a kitchen or mini fridge in your hotel and you’ll be flying, make a plan (next step) to locate and hit up a nearby store once you get to your destination to stock up on some perishbale healthy options such as:

  • plain greek yogurt
  • baby carrots and hummus
  • cottage cheese to be mixed with fruit and/or nuts
  • small milk or non-dairy beverage for instant oatmeal

These items are also great to have on hand to act as snack or small meal such as breakfast in case your morning is too rushed to go out or the hotel/nearby choices are sub-par.

Plan Ahead

As Benjamin Franklin once said,

“if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” 

Taking a page from Ben’s book, this is certainly translatable when it comes to travel and nutrition.  There are certain elements when it comes to travel that you can’t plan for – delays, traffic, work meetings, events, food options, locations, the restaurant that your boss chooses for dinner, etc.  However, there are always things that can be controlled, such as your CHOICES.

learn to crush your nutrition while traveling

If you are traveling and a restaurant has been picked for you, take few moments on your way to your meal to pull up the menu ahead of time.  If possible, select your meal before you get to the restaurant. Having a plan in place is super helpful before arriving to a restaurant. Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost in the french fry aroma and make a less than stellar decision when it’s your time to order.

Also worth mentioning, don’t be afraid to order off the menu or customize to your preference.  Most restaurants are happy (or at least willing) to make accommodations. Opt for dressings on the side, light on oils or sauces, grilled or broiled over fried, etc.

Portion Control

While portion control is something that should always be practiced, particularly if you’re trying to lose body fat, it will be your best friend when traveling.  Portion control requires a conscious CHOICE, but again, it’s one that is there for you to execute…

Work meeting only serving pizza for lunch?  PORTION CONTROL
Fast-food your only option on the road? ⇒ PORTION CONTROL (and menu choice)
5-course dinner meal entertaining clients? ⇒ PORTION CONTROL
All you can eat buffet for every meal? ⇒ PORTION CONTROL

nutrition and travel

A good tactic when it comes to portion control is to eat slowly and to 80% full.  While both strategies can take some (or a lot) of practice, they are both winning strategies when it comes to portion control.  However, if taking your time during your meal isn’t feasible or tuning into your body is not your thing, here are some other tactics that can help with portions…

  • only eat half of your plate
  • ask the server to box up half your meal before it reaches your table
  • order an appetizer for your main meal

Fast Food (a quick note)

Fast food is the ultimate convenience and can go hand in hand with travel.  While many airports are beginning to offer healthier choices to travelers, on the road the options tend to be more limited.  So if a fast food stop becomes your only, dire option, here are some tips to come out a winner…

  • salad with grilled chicken and dressing on the side
  • grilled chicken wrap over fried chicken
  • opt for wraps instead of buns or bread
  • swap out fries for a side salad or fruit cup
  • keep the portions small, no super-sizing here!
  • opt for water over soda, juice or a shake

    travel and nutrition

While fast food isn’t notorious for healthy eating, it’s quite possible to order well just about anywhere there days.  It may take a little willpower and some better choices (there’s that word again!), but it’s totally possible 🙂

Do you have more questions about nutrition and travel? If so, drop us a line and let us know! And make sure to tune in next week as we will be answering our next question…

Written by Sophie DeHenzel
How to CRUSH Your Nutrition While Traveling

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Bigstock (tommaso79), igstock (artursz), Bigstock (abscent), Bigstock (_jure), Bigstock (hannamariah)

nutrition coaching for women sophie dehenzel copy

Hi, I’m Sophie. I’m Co-Owner of DeHenzel Training Systems, Precision Nutrition Level 1 ProCoach, Certified Personal Trainer and Pre/Post Natal Specialist. I’m also a wife, mom, tennis beginner and ice cream lover.

Most importantly, I love helping people just like you gain control of their health for good. If you’re tired, frustrated and still struggling to rein in your diet and get moving, check out our nutrition and personal training services and take the first step today.

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park. We also offer Nutrition Coaching and Online Personal Training services worldwide.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Gainesville, Great Falls, Haymarket, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge. Don’t see your city listed? Contact us today to find out if we service your area!

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