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Healthy Nutrition on the Road

Swimming, soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, and just about every other competitive sport means traveling.  Sometimes that means a few hours in the car to Indianapolis, sometimes it means flying to Orlando or even traveling internationally.  One thing it shouldn’t mean is bad eating.  Here are three tips to help you keep healthy nutrition on the road.

Even during travel, it is important for athletes of all ages to boost their bodies with proper hydration and nutrition.  The occasional indulgence or “cheat” is expected, but when a weekend tournament means eating fast food five or six times and drinking more fountain drinks than usual, that’s when it can become a problem.

Most parents and athletes want to feel that whatever they’re eating is healthy, nutritious, tasty choice and not just a last resort.  Here are a few tips to ensure that you and your young athlete are consuming nutrients that will provide fuel.

It isn’t enough to “want” to eat healthy or to promise yourself that you’ll try to avoid fast food.  As with most things in life, have a plan of action and do a little homework beforehand.  This forethought will go a long way in helping with your nutrition goals.  Even something as simple as bringing a water bottle (empty if you are going through a TSA screening and then fill it at a water fountain past security) can go a long way in encouraging hydration and proper nutrition.

1. Pack Snacks. Lots of snacks.

This may seems like an obvious point, but the easiest way to avoid a desperate situation where a Big Mac is your only food option is to stock up on healthy snacks.  Carrot sticks, fruit, trail mix, beef jerky, Clif bars, almond butter, and similar munchies are all TSA friendly options.  The hardest part is remembering to pick them up at the grocery store before you leave.  If you’re driving to an even, packing a lot of healthy snack options is even easier since you won’t have to worry about TSA restrictions.

2. Don’t Fear The Lunchbox.

It’s not embarrassing to pack your lunch.  In fact, it means you planned ahead—great job!  It also means instead of buying a cheeseburger or nuggets from a fast food option, you and your athlete will enjoy a healthy, nutritious option instead.  Salads, sandwiches, rice cakes… the possibilities are virtually endless!  In need of carbs?  Consider bringing pasta!

3. Hack Your Hotel.

If you’re staying in decent accommodations, you probably have a mini fridge, ice bucket, and coffee maker in your room.  If there is a continental breakfast, you can usually find a toaster there.  If it’s convenient, you can usually make a quick grocery store run to stock your mini fridge with boxed salads, fruits and veggies, oatmeal, whole grain bread, and other healthy options.  If the entire team is traveling together, it’s easy to coordinate and have different families provide various items.

If traveling solo, you can mix up salad in the ice bucket, brew hot water for oatmeal of hot cereal in the coffee maker, and keep sliced fruit fresh in the mini fridge.  If you need a knife, spoon, can opener, or other utensil, the front desk will usually be able to accommodate.

It’s not always easy to eat well on the road.  These are just a few simple tips to encourage you to plan ahead or improvise!  The old phrase “garbage in, garbage out” is true when it comes to nutrition.  We want to do our best to help you and your athlete stay healthy and hydrated on the road!

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