7 Easy Steps for Clean Eating On The Go

Sailing Nutrition, Sailing Diet
Feature Photo: SPT Coach Mike Kuschner and 49er Olympian Francisco Andrade

Sailing athletes have busy lifestyles and travel often, which makes clean eating difficult. To help keep SPT's world travelers on target for their goals, I've created 7 easy steps for eating while on the go.

When it comes to being busy, one of the first and most common things to “go” is your nutrition. It's easy to get by with on-the-go breakfasts from coffee shops and snacks that you happen to find in your desk or at the bottom of your sailing bag. Going from meal to meal with whatever you happen to find along the way when hunger strikes and attempting to make the best choices possible in the process is unsustainable and leads to unhealthy habits.

No matter how much you try to eat clean and healthy while traveling, eating out is straight-up just not the same as home-cooked meals, prepared with your own two hands, with ingredients you know and trust. Therefore, one of the best ways to keep eating well is to plan ahead with meal preparation. 

Here are 7 Easy Steps For Clean Eating On The Go to support your busy lifestyle and training.

1.  Invest in an insulated lunchbox or small cooler:

If you are going to prepare and travel with good healthy foods that you’ll have on hand all day, start with something to keep it fresh. Take a trip back to your elementary school days and pick up lunch box with a color or design that inspires you. Don’t forget to purchase several re-usable ice packs you can take in and out of the freezer every day.

2.  Throw in some Tupperware & packing supplies:

Glass based Tupperware is ideal for health reasons. You can find these practically anywhere – Target, Wal-Mart, the Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon. You can use your own silverware from home, thrown into your lunchbox, or purchase some plastic ware if needed.

Image via Shape.com 

3.  Pack that lunch-bag:

Before your busy lives consume you, make a shopping list and go to the grocery so you have the resources at hand to succeed. If you are gone from sun-up to sun-down, plan to eat your last meal (dinner) at home. Then pack that bag with the other two meals, and plenty of snacks. For these on the road meals, look to create a well-rounded balance of all your energy needs (protein, fats, veggies, some fruit, some starch as needed based on activity), while keeping the quality of food high. Here at SPT we help our athletes understand what types of foods are important to eat for optimum performance, with a consideration towards what foods they like.

Here are some ideas:

H20: Staying hydrated through the day is one of the most important practices to promote recovery and ensure proper digestion. Stow a case of your favorite bottles in your car trunk or office fridge. Conversely, practice sustainability by taking your reusable, filtered water bottle!

Proteins: Hardboiled eggs, homemade egg muffins, turkey meatballs, Applegate farms chicken sausage/turkey sausage, egg scramble/bake, ground meat, pulled chicken or chicken breast, pulled pork, grilled fish, tuna-canned, chicken/tuna salad (with Primal Mayo or Dijon Mustard), homemade meatloaf muffins.

Veggies: Power Greens, spinach, kale (or other greens of choice), cooked or raw, steamed broccoli, brussel sprouts, roasted asparagus or zucchini, greens cooked into your eggs or other casserole dish.

Fats: Coconut butter, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil (just as light dressing), olives, nuts/seeds (place in small Tupperware container, or keep a bottle on hand).

Fruit and Starches: Banana*, apple, orange, berries, sweet potato*, potato*, butternut squash*, spaghetti squash*, white rice*, quinoa* (*limit higher starch items to more active periods of the day, week, etc.).

Snacks (2-4 items depending on activity level): Hardboiled eggs, nuts/seeds, Lara Bars, Rx Bars, Protein powder, piece of whole fruit, veggie sticks (carrots, celery, zucchini, cucumber), avocado, Paleo granola, beef jerky, chicken or tuna, turkey roll-ups/ham roll-ups, chicken or turkey sausage links (Applegate Farms).


4.  Cook in bulk:

Every night that you make dinner, make extra to pack for lunch (and sometimes even breakfast) the next day. In essence, you only have to cook once per day, while making things that are fairly simple and easy to make in bulk. On that end, you can also prepare meals for the entire week and freeze them to make your cooking load during the week lighter. I’m sure you have heard of it before: those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Don’t be one of those people. Choose one time at the beginning of the week, and perhaps another at the mid-week to make ahead some of your favorite staple meals to have on hand (And the best part? Many of these can cook while you do other things! Just turn the oven on and let them do their job. Bonus points: Get a crockpot!).

5.  Always be prepared:

You train to be prepared for the unknown and unknowable right? So shouldn’t your eating be the same? The next time you are at the store, stock up on some staple snack items to keep in various places that you frequent to have on hand (outside of just your lunchbox). Some of these could include: raw nuts and seeds (almonds, macadamia, hazlenuts, walnuts, etc.), almond butter and coconut butter packets, tuna packets, Rx Bars or another clean bars, your protein powder of choice, fruit and raw veggies to keep in a fridge at work, even the condiments you like (balsamic vinegar or coconut vinegar are awesome on salads, a jar of nut-butter or coconut butter, salsa, even hot sauce – anything to keep you from resorting to less than optimal choices on the food front).

6. Grab & go wisely:

Some days you just don’t get to preparing that cooler – for whatever reason. But you know, not all is lost! You can continue to make good food choices wherever you go – no matter the temptation for chili cheese fries or a bacon-cheddar burger. Practice the KISS philosophy, and you can’t go wrong (Keep It Simple Stupid means: stick to meats, veggies, and some healthy fats – which you, preferably at least have some of those in tow, like nuts/seeds, coconut butter, coconut oil, or your preferred fats of choice).

7.  Eating Out? There’s an app for that:

When all else fails… and you’re on the go...

Image via Food Tripping 

… there’s an app for that (especially for those times you are traveling outside of your comfort locations). Check out Food Tripping (a GPS-based app, focuses on finding local, sustainable food at spots that are convenient to swing by while you’re on the road).

By taking these simple steps to fuel your life, you will have plenty of good sustenance to allow you to do the really important things you want to do in your life.