Surviving the Travel Challenge

Regular eating schedules ensure proper nutrition and hydration for athletes. Traveling frequently disrupts this schedule and exposes the athlete to foreign food and water which may lead to gastrointestinal distress.  However, by planning ahead, researching your destination, determining what foods to pack and remaining vigilant of energy balance and food safety you can greatly mitigate the negative consequences of travel.

 

Plan Ahead

Once you account for time differences and jet lag, aim to keep food and meal times as close to their regular times as possible. Do not assume that what you normally consume at home will be available, particularly if you are going to a foreign country. Contact event organizers, travel agencies or embassies to help determine what food options will be available once you reach your destination. Most markets will carry items such as fruit, yogurt, string cheese, puddings and cottage cheeses.

Find out if refrigerators, microwave ovens or even blenders will be available. If electricity will be present, consider taking a mini hand-held blender with you.

Bring Backup

  • Protein and energy bars are great snacks that transport easily and don't perish. Make sure you pack an adequate supply.
  • Oatmeal and other instant hot cereals only require adding hot water and most hotels have a coffee pot or microwave available for guests to heat water.
  • Snack packs such as Pretzels, animal crackers and Fig Newtons taste good and don't go bad.
  • Protein powder packed in sandwich bags saves space and can be used for meal replacement shakes. Buy fruit at the local market and mix it up with your blender wand. 

If by Air

You are more likely to receive a lower fat, higher carbohydrate meal if you request a vegetarian meal on the airplane.  Make sure this is part of your pre-planning check list. Some airlines even offer a sports nutrition meal. 

Reduce the stress associated with travel by readjusting to time changes for both sleeping and eating as quickly as possible. Make sure to eat meals when the locals are eating and sleep when the locals are sleeping. 

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