By Denis Faye
Because the outside world can be cruel for those trying to eat the P90X way, the easiest way to do it is to retreat to the safety of your own kitchen, where you can throw out the junk and stock your shelves with good stuff. Your fridge becomes a safe haven for fresh fruits and veggies. Your freezer stores healthy soups and stews you’ve made in advance. The bread you reach for is whole grain. The cuts of meat you grill are lean.
But what happens when you need to travel, when you need to step outside that kitchen? Sure, a weekend getaway’s worth of indulgence won’t matter. But what if we’re talking about an 18-hour flight followed by a 2-week hotel stay?
While you’re never going to achieve complete nutritional Zen in these situations, you needn’t fall completely off the (organic and locally grown) apple cart. Here are a few tips for maintaining some semblance of the P90X Nutrition Plan when you’re on the road.
- Go for the P90X Portion Plan. There’s just no point in trying to whip up an island pork tenderloin salad when you’re eating out of a hotel bar fridge without even a hot plate at your disposal. The Portion Plan was designed for flexibility. Just about every section in the P90X nutrition guide has at least one thing you don’t have to cook or refrigerate.
- Create a stash. It’s so much easier to avoid succumbing to a Snickers® at the ampm when you have snack packs of raw almonds or a protein bar at your disposal. Beachbody® also sells both Results & Recovery Formula™ and Shakeology® in single-serving packets, so you can always have those on hand too. If you’re really averse to all the packaging, get yourself a box of mini-Ziploc® bags and make your own snack packs.
- Cut yourself some slack. It’s brutally hard to follow any kind of diet on the road, so you’re not always going to nail it. As Tony says, “Do your best and forget the rest.”
In a restaurant
- Check out pages 102 to 103 of the P90X Nutrition Plan for tips on fast food restaurants.
- A P90X Restaurant Guide. Read “A P90X® Restaurant Guide” in the Related Article section below.
On a plane
- Pack a lunch. Most airlines don’t serve meals anyway. Furthermore, while it might be a slight pain to schlep it on the plane, you’ll finish it before you land, leaving extra space in your carry-on to bring back souvenirs.
- Water up. You can’t bring fluids from home, but once you get past security, all bets are off. Grab yourself a couple bottles of water, or if you want to avoid bottled water, bring your own receptacle and fill it up at the drinking fountain. If you remembered your snack stash (see tip #2), you can pour a pack of Shakeology in one of your bottles so that you have—wait for it—Shakes on a Plane.
- Special meals. On longer flights, most airlines offer special meals to suit most needs. Some offer low-fat or low-cal options and most offer vegetarian options. Even if meat-free isn’t the way you roll, vegetarian meals are often much healthier than their sauce-laden meaty cousins.
- No nuts for you. It almost seems mandatory to get a drink and a bag of junk food from the refreshment cart when it passes by. Guess what? You can say no—or you can ask for water.
In your car
- Plug it in. A mini-fridge that plugs into your lighter is a great way to keep perishables fresh for several days on the road. Or you can simply bring your beach cooler along and fill it with ice each morning. If the first phase of your journey was a flight, pack an insulated hot/cold bag in your luggage. You can get them cheap at most grocery stores.
- Albertsons®, not ampm. There was a time when gas station and truck-stop food were the only options on the road, but nowadays you can’t throw a stick without hitting an Albertsons, or even a Safeway or Vons. True, you may have to drive an extra 5 minutes off the freeway ramp, but if that’s the price you pay to get access to fresh, affordably priced produce and meats, are you seriously going to whine?
- Bottle your own. There’s nothing easier than grabbing a Coke® or Pepsi® at the checkout counter when you’re filling up your tank, but you’re less inclined to do this if you’re not thirsty, so bring plenty of water. Camping stores sell huge multi-gallon tanks meant to fit in your trunk. Plus, if you have your faithful snack stash with you, use the water to Shakeology it up.
In the hotel
- Rearrange the fridge. You buy your groceries, you check in, you get to your room, and you open your fridge—and it’s already filled with junk! Tempting, overpriced junk! Here’s the fix. Empty out your grocery bags. If you don’t have any, grab a dry-cleaning bag from the closet. Put all the hotel’s sodas, mixers, and mixed nuts in the bag and shove it in the closet. Out of sight, out of mind. Fill the fridge with your own healthy goodies. Just remember to return the junk to the fridge before you check out. At most hotels, you can also ask the staff to empty out your fridge when you check in, which can help you avoid unwarranted charges.
- Upgrade to a kitchen. Hotel suites with full kitchens are fairly common nowadays. Yes, they may be a little pricier, but the money you save from not eating out quickly balances the checkbook.
Most experienced travelers depend on three things for a successful trip: planning, ritual, and improvisation. In that sense, it’s not that different from a round of P90X. When you look at it that way, merging the two together isn’t all that tough. You might trip up during the first few trips, but after that, it’ll be easy to find nutritional success inside and outside of your own kitchen.
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