This isn't directly related to cycling, though it is tangentially. I travel a fair amount for work, and as anyone who travels can tell you, it's really hard to find ways to stick to a diet when you're traveling. It's hard when you have to entertain customers at restaurants, but there are usually a couple of healthy choices on the menu, and if you're disciplined about carving out a reasonable portion before you start eating, you can manage.
What are harder to manage are the solitary meals - the stuff you eat on the plane, or by yourself in the hotel room. I've been kind of lucky in the last 6 months, in that a lot of my trips were to the D.C. area, and I've been driving. That allows me to bring a cooler with my own food in it, and my diet can be basically the same on the road as it is at home. Even when I take the train, there aren't restrictions about fluids, etc to deal with, so it's easier to bring stuff.
But flying is another story - weight and restrictions become issues. Airport food is horrendous from a dietary point of view, as are most fast options in the corporate jungles that I usually find myself in.
I've been trying to come up with a repertoire of foods that I can carry that will allow me to stick to my diet (currently about 1200 calories/day, balanced at about 50/30/20 between carbohydrates, protein and fat, with about half the carbs coming from dietary fiber). The requirements are:
- I should be able to package up foods in roughly 100 calorie increments, to put together meals of varying total calorie content.
- No refrigeration required. The first night is easier than later nights - most cooked foods will tolerate a few hours of no refrigeration.
- No violation of the fluid restrictions for airports
- No cooking. Can, in some cases, benefit from warming up in a microwave. (A lot of hotels will supply the microwave.)
- Tolerant of getting knocked around in a carry-on.
- Not heavy or bulky.
- Not really heavy on the sodium (that lets out a lot of convenience foods).
I know - it sounds like I'm planning to provision a spaceship
So far, the foods that have worked ok have been:
- Individual boxes of organic raisins. (100 calories).
- Raisin bran cerial, packed in snack bags in 1/2 cup increments (95 calories)
- South Beach Diet Protein bars. (130 calories, 9 grams protein.)
- Tuna, though this tends to be pretty high in sodium.
- Fat free pre-wrapped cheese slices. (30 calories, 0 fat, 5 grams protein). High-ish sodium.
- Microwavable individual servings of rice dishes. (About 220 calories).
- bread in appropriate portions. (80 - 100) calories
- Granola bars. (100 calories)
Not an exciting diet, so I'm looking for additional suggestions. In the meantime, I keep repeating my mantra: Food is Fuel. Food is Fuel. Food is Fuel...