Pack For Transit. You have less control over what and when you eat on travel days. So if you want to make smart nutrition choices while in transit, "you can't leave home empty-handed," Foods that are high in protein are satisfying and help keep you feeling full. Remember to also bring a snack such as a bagel with cheese, to tide you over once you land or while driving to your hotel.
Stock Up. Rather than stress over where your next meal will come from, pack food that will last for most of your vacation. "Too much mental energy can be spent overthinking food,". For road trips, Dikos suggests filling a cooler with sturdy snacks like apples and oranges, cheese, bread, hummus, carrot sticks, and even sliced turkey. Dry goods like energy bars, granola, trail mix, crackers, and peanut butter will keep in your car trunk or checked luggage. Hit a local supermarket once you arrive at your destination or to restock midway through your trip.
Remember the Drinks. According to a 2008 review article by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, the dry air onboard planes causes a gradual fluid loss, so if you rely on the airline's tiny (and infrequent) rations of water, you're likely to land parched. To avoid dehydration, have at least one energy drink on your travel day. Sports drinks contain sodium, which aids fluid retention. To navigate pesky airport liquid restrictions, pack an empty water bottle and a stash of single-serving sports drink powders and hit a water fountain, or ask the flight attendant to fill it once you're on board.
Have a Plan B. If the airline loses your luggage filled with your pantry stash; if your favorite restaurant has an hour-long wait; if your spaghetti arrives smothered in spicy sauce — don't let the snafu rattle you. To avoid a food panic, try to remain flexible — and choose easy-to-find foods.
Got Snacks? Check!
Heat water in the hotel coffeemaker.
Top your yogurt with cereals.
Honey: Snag single-serving packets at any fast-food joint.
Fruit: Apples, oranges, and bananas hold up well.
String Cheese: A good source of low-fat protein.
Hard-Boiled Eggs: Be sure to peel before you leave.
Chocolate: Portion control with individual squares.
Plan for acclimatization.
Altitude: If you're racing at an altitude above 3.100 meters, ideally you should arrive two weeks prior to the race. If that's not possible, arrive a day or two before the race, as you'll feel your worst from days three through 10. Heat: The consensus is that you should allow two weeks for acclimatization to heat, but you shouldn't train hard in hot, humid conditions in the few weeks leading up to the race. Ideally, complete some of your earlier and critical training days in warmer conditions to help the heat adaptation process. Proper heat adaptation includes improved control of cardiovascular function (expanded plasma volume, reduced heart rate), increased sweat rate, conservation of sodium chloride, reduced perceived rate of exertion and better hot-weather performance.
Let your fingers do the walking.
Instead of a last-minute scramble to find the things you need for race day, do an online search of the area where you'll be staying. Look for the best local (and nearby) running trails, bike shops, gyms, pools, carbo-loading restaurants, grocery stores and entertainment. Find out which restaurants serve your ideal pre-race foods, like pasta, and whether you'll need reservations. Book ahead if possible. If you arrive early, consider trying out the restaurant to make sure it meets your standards. The chef/restaurant may be aware of the race and the increased demand for high-carb dishes, so a special menu may be available or the chef may be more receptive to special requests. Check the local grocery store for your favorite foods, and if they don't carry them, be sure to pack your pre-race foods -- the last thing you need is try new foods or spending unnecessary time or money seeking your pre-race foods. Ask the hotel if there's a mini-fridge available for your room for stocking your favorite pre-race foods.
| Healthier fast food options
Arby's: Sourdough sandwich with ham and eggs
Burger King: Frozen yogurt, BK Broiler chicken sandwich, chunky chicken salad, plain hamburger
Dunkin Donuts: Bagel, low-fat milk
Jack in the Box: Chicken Fajita Pita, chicken teriyaki bowl, garden chicken salad, Breakfast Jack
KFC: Tender Roast Sandwich (without sauce), Honey Flavored BBQ Sandwich with sauce, 5.5" corn on the cob (no butter), mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans
McDonalds: Fruit and Yogurt Parfait, Apple and Walnut Salad, plain hamburger, English muffin, soft-serve cone, Chicken McGrill (no mayo), Egg McMuffin (no butter)
Starbucks: Fruit and cheese plate, low-fat muffin
Nando’s: Bean burrito, pinto beans, chicken enchirito "fresco style"
By Melissa Wagenberg Lasher • Runner's World
Catherine Chremou, Ms