As coaches, we hear all the excuses. Work, travel, family, money, etc, etc.

As athletes and trainees we rationalize those excuses in our own heads.

As humans, it’s simply a behavior that we must consciously decide to overcome.

One of those dietary excuses is the lack of time, the busy schedule, and traveling. I’ve written before about how I would plan my meals for a road trip. But today, I’m going to share a strategy for eating out ALL DAY long without blowing your nutritional plan, no matter what it may be!

  • Breakfast

This may the toughest meal to find adequate protein without excess carbohydrates and fats. If you’re traveling, most hotels TRY to help you out, but those FREE continental breakfasts often lack anything other than processed and refined carbohydrates. Skip the Belgian Waffle maker and go for one of these options.

Subway has a surprisingly friendly menu for breakfast. I recently had breakfast there while traveling and I had a 6″ sub with 2 “egg whites” 1 “whole egg” and some turkey with loads of veggies and a bit of cheese. It tasted awesome and I survived! Seriously, this may become my “go-to” breakfast “safety option” because I know that no matter where I am, I am no more than 20 minutes away from one of these!

You could also go to any sit-down restaurant that serves breakfast and order a bottled water, plain oatmeal, some nuts and chase that down with your own protein shake you had in your car. Oh wait, that was Starbucks, not a sit-down restaurant. And it only took 5 minutes.

Or for a low-carb option, you could simply down an omelet loaded with veggies. You can customize the ratio of whole egss to egg whites to suit your needs and these can be found almost anywhere nowadays. Even the aforementioned subway can hook you up with protein and veggies, without the bun!

The more creative you are, the more options you have. Start thinking and exploring, but you have to keep an open mind and remember 1 thing…you’re not searching for the PERFECT MEAL, just the least bad option for right now!

Great teams know they can’t score TD’s every possession, so sometimes you just have to play the field position game and live to fight another day.

  • Snacks (mid-morning & mid-afternoon)

Again, be creative and keep your eyes open. Gas stations now sell Muscle Milk, EAS Myoplex, and other RTD protein shakes. These are a never-fail, safe option to help you make it to the next meal. You could even swing into a local gym and order a protein shake customized to your liking. No doubt they’ll have oats, peanut butter or nuts, to go along with your protein bump.
You could always keep a few ziploc bags in your travel bag or car containing protein powder, oats, and nuts specific to your needed macronutrient ratios. Hell, most gas stations and convenience stores even sell oatmeal and bags of plain nuts, so you could pick those up if needed.
Jerkey and some trail mix is another alternative. If you need a low-carb option, the Muscle Milk RTDs or the jerkey by itself can suffice.
  • Lunch

This can be easier than you think. Sub shops are everywhere these days and if you can’t find a healthy option at a Subway or Quizno’s, you may have bigger issues. No, they may not be ideal, but they’ll get you through the day without falling off track.
Even places like Wendy’s now serves baked sweet potatoes, which along with their chili and a plain chicken breast will satisfy even the hungriest athlete.
  • Dinner

This should be the easiest option, considering that even when at home, most people go out to dinner more often than any other meal. You should be familiar with options here already.
Lean sirloin steak, broccoli (no butter), and plain sweet or baked potato. Chicken, rice, and veggies with salad and olive oil are standbys.
I always suggest a place where no matter what else happens, you know you can get one of those options. Then peruse the menu and see if you can find something unique that still fits your needs. It kind of like a security blanket. You know you can always fall back on that steak & potato, but maybe you can find something awesome like Smokey Bones’s pork tenderloin, broccoli and baked potato.
Low-Carb option: Salad with any lean protein source like chicken breast, shrimp, lean steak, tuna, turkey, even salmon (wild-caught, no Atlantic farmed junk!)
  • Late-night/Before Bed

Sometimes I have nothing but whole eggs at this meal. That can be tricky on the road, but if your hotel has a kitchen, problem solved – boil your own from a local grocery store. Some areas even have stores that sell pre-boiled eggs. Even better for lazy, excuse-filled people!

Most people are going to want a high protein, low-carb option here. So you could have that extra bag of jerkey you picked up at the store earlier, or maybe you ate the jerkey and trail mix earlier, so now you drink that Muscle Milk RTD.

See how this works? Plan ahead, and actually THINK about your meals. I know, it’s a novel concept, but staying on track doesn’t just happen…you have to put some energy, thought and effort into it. You have show some mettle, some discipline and some willpower. You have to want to succeed.