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On-the-go. To-go. Pokemon-Go (WTF? Is that still a thing?). Fast-casual. Amazon-telepathic-checkout.
I think you’ll agree with me, we’re moving faster than ever. Bustling around to try and do it all. Work, kids, school, activities, play dates and they are all fueled by our technology-enabled ‘FOMO’. (fear of missing out).
We could argue pros and cons of this “Fast & Furious” lifestyle all day- but I think one thing we can all readily agree on is that this ‘go-go-go’ lifestyle is certainly allowing us less time to find high quality fuel for our bodies!
Which is tough. Because when you are “on the go” is when you use the most energy and when it is absolutely vital that you get proper nutrition in your body to keep you going.
The question is, how do you eat healthy meals and snacks when you are traveling, on the road or running around trying to get your kiddos from one activity to the next?
The easiest answer to this question is to be prepared. If you know that you will be out and about for a big chunk of the day- make sure you grab a prepped meal or at the very least a single serving of QUALITY protein power ready to mix up before you leave the house. Easy, right? And we can end the article right there.
<Sigh>. It’s not always that simple, is it?
Sometimes the LAST thing you are thinking about as you leave the house is your next meal. And sometimes bringing your food along just isn’t an option. Have you ever tried trying to convince a TSA agent that your protein shake is so thick that it no longer qualifies as a liquid? I have.
Let’s just say it didn’t work.
So. here are some of my tips to help keep you from becoming the incredibly hangry person without resorting to quick and easy junk food…
1. Protein and Produce.
Protein and Produce. Say it again – PROTEIN AND PRODUCE. If possible, try to base your on-the-go eats around SOME form of protein and some type of produce (fruit or veggie). Both of these will keep you energized, and the fiber in veggies and skin on fruits will keep you full. Don’t fear the sugars in those fruits. If you’re body is truly in need of fuel, those sugars are being put STRAIGHT to use keeping your brain sharp and your body movin’.
2. Don’t Wait Until the Last Second.
Try to prepare for these times so that you don’t end up in desperation mode. If you are like me- when you are in that hangry mode all you care about is finding the first edible thing you can hands on. And that typically will be junk. TRY to get a plan rolling in your mind so that when the time strikes, you aren’t grabbing for that Snickers (PS – been there done that and it is nothing like the commercials. I’m still cranky and left with a sugar buzz).
How to Prepare:
Always, and I mean always, have a Blender Bottle on hand along with a ziplock filled with single servings of protein powder and individual packs of raisins dry fruit, nuts and or peanut butter in your car or bag. This rule is just for my special secret potions. Muah ah ah ah!
3. But it Is the Last Second.
Ok so the planning didn’t happen and now you’re hangry. JUST SAY NO to candy, junk and fast food. Meals on the go do not have to be bad for you. It may take a little creativity and thinking outside of the box, but you can find nutritious treats and eats. And always remember…
4. Something is Better Than Nothing.
Accept that in a pinch, your meal might not be perfect. It might not hit those carefully planned macros. It’s easy to just NOT eat because the choices aren’t optimal. But keep in mind that fuel is fuel. Sometimes putting 89 octane in the tank of your Ferrari (you ARE a Ferrari) that prefers 93 octane is better than putting nothing in it at all!
So let’s take a look at what your best options are at two of the more popular ‘on-the-go’ food.. er.. ‘destinations’.. for said 89 octane fuel…
Your Best Options at Kwik Trip or Equivalent Convenience Store:
They’re convenience stores and not health food stores- but you CAN find fuel in here that won’t totally compromise your gains! Look for:
- low fat cottage cheese
- low fat yogurt
- string cheese (don’t fear the fat! It will satisfy your hunger much more effectively than a ‘low-fat’ bag of pretzels or chips)
- fruits and veggies (better yet if they are washed and cut)
- If the store doesn’t have a cold section, you can’t go wrong with gas station staples like beef jerky (look for lower sodium) and nuts (non salted and raw if possible).
- Protein bar
Your Best Healthy Snack Options at Starbucks:
They might not be fresh off the deli counter, but you can usually find pre-made, semi-healthy sandwiches and salads that are cheap, easy and right at your finger tips. Try to avoid those colorful frosted pastries calling your name from behind the shiny glass cases!
When choosing a salad, pick one with cooked (not fried) protein, a variety of leafy greens, a ton of veggies and dressing on the side. Go towards sandwiches on whole grain bread or wraps, no mayo or sauces and lots of lean protein and veggies. And if they have coffee there – BONUS SCORE. Why, well, just because I love coffee. And I mean coffee – not fru fru mocha latte cooler a chinos. Those are no bueno on the waistline.
If the coffee shop has instant oatmeal, stir in a single serving packet of protein powder and top it with the peanut butter form your stash. Or better yet – shake any flavor of protein powder into cold press coffee and you have Protein-A-Go-Go To Go.
So. to summarize. Not every meal is going to be perfect. But now that you are armed with these hacks and tricks – YOU CAN stay fueled on the go.
The next time your body is running low on power with no plug in in sight, at least you have a back up plan to keep you going on the go.
What do you get when you mix honey, peanut butter and plain greek yogurt together? I promise this isn’t a riddle or the beginning of some lame “dad joke”. What you get is the most delicious, protein packed snack in the whole wide world. Seriously! It doesn’t really sound that impressive, but I promise it will be your next go-to snack. Even my clients with super picky pallets like this treat.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup PLAIN greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
- OPTIONAL – 1/2 scoop any flavor protein powder that you like
Stir, stir, stir and viola!
On your mark.
You’ve signed up. You trained your tushy off. It’s race day and all you have to do is just show up and run right? Isn’t running a race is just putting one foot in front of the other and repeating that until you cross the finish line? Wrong and nope! Running, like anything else in life has “rules” – both said and unsaid. There are the rules that you have to follow like you can’t hop a bus at mile 1 and ride it to the finish line and expect to be crowned the winner and you can’t cross the line and kick over the timing clock no matter how mad you are at your time. Some races have time limits, gear restrictions and corrals where you have to check in to in order to even start a race. And then there are actual laws that will get you jail time if you break them. PS – running clothed is NOT just a suggestion.
Wow. Who knew there was so much info one had to remember in order to pay to run?
Well that’s not all folks.
There are also the unspoken rules that you should follow when doing a race. You won’t be handed a citation by the running police and taken to runner jail if you break these “laws”, but you may be called some colorful words by your fellow runners if you don’t abide by them. Side note: what would runner jail be like? Would you have to wear crappy shoes and shorts that give you the ultimate wedgie, run for hours on the dreadmill and have all of your carbs taken away? Anywhosers….I decided to put together a list of the do’s and don’ts of running or what I refer to “if you do these things around me while I am racing I will call you an ahole and put a hex on you so you develop the world largest blisters”. Here is my running etiquette list so your next race doesn’t consist of an angry mob chasing you down to take your running shoes away from you and revoke your running club membership.
Do: Go to the bathroom even if you don’t think you have to go.
Don’t: Stop at mile .23 and pee along side of the road.
This rule is mostly for dudes although I have seen women do it too. Guys, I know you are super proud of what the Good Lord gave you, but that doesn’t mean that the whole running community wants to see your junk. If you seriously can’t hold it, then please find a bush or a tree and mark your territory there.
Race Line Up
Do: Get in the corral in which you were assigned or line up near your pace marker.
Don’t: Get into a faster corral or get in the front of the crowd and run (or gasp walk) slower than those around you. Bumping your placement closer to the start line will not guarantee that you will finish sooner. It just means you are going to clog up and slow down the faster runners that have to fight to get around you. Rule of thumb: get near the pacer of a pace that you know you can run. If you pass them and finish faster then yay you.
Running With A Buddy (or buddies)
Do: Run to the side of the road and get as close to each other as possible. Don’t: Spread out as far as humanly possible and take up the entire road. I get that running with a friend may motivate you and push you to do your best, but obstructing the path for a faster runner may motivate them to push you and your friend(s) into a mud puddle…face first. (Note: did I mention that you don’t ever want to piss a serious runner off? They typically run to relieve stress and anger issues)
Do: Gradually and safely make your way to the side of the road and stop there.
Don’t: Stop dead in your tracks and hope for the best. This action typically happens with young kids running races and is my BIGGEST pet peeve. If you have to stop for whatever reason, then do it safely for yourself and the other runners around you. I was at a race right after finally being cleared to run again after breaking my foot and a young boy (like 10 or 11) took off sprinting. Well of course after a minute of this he had to stop and he put the brakes on right in front of me. I ended up stumbling over him and tripping. NOW remember, I was just coming back after weeks of not running and I was deathly afraid of hurting myself again so maybe I yelled at him a little too much, but the bugger deserved it. Not only could ne have hurt me but he could have been hurt himself. Also – if you need to look at your phone or change up your music, move off to the side and dilly dally there if you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
Eliminating Bodily Fluids
Do: If you have to spit or farmer blow, be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t: We have all been there so if you are all “ewwwwww….that’s gross” then you aren’t a real runner. Blowing snot rockets and hawking loogies is a part of running so when, not if, you do it make sure no one is in the path of your booger beam. No one wants a spit shower so look before you blow.
Do: Watch for them and gradually make your way to that side of the road.
Don’t: Dart in front of another runner in order to quench your thirst. At most large races you can see the water stop coming up for quite a while. If you need to get a drink then slowly and safely make your way to that side of the road. Once in the water stop, reach out for a water and walk if you need to. This is the time when it is expected for runners to walk so if a runner gets pissy at you for stopping, then break the previous rule and spit on their foot.
Running in General
Do: Run in a straight line unless you are maneuvering around other runners.
Don’t: Unless you are drunk (which may be breaking an actual law), don’t zig zag all over the road. If you are passing, be respectful of their space. Don’t bump into them or cut them off. THIS ISN’T NASCAR. If you are just looking for a smoother part of the road and want to move, again watch where you are going and safely move to that part of the road.
Do: Cross the finish line and keep moving.
Don’t: Stop as soon as you cross the finish line and rest there. The only time this is ok is if you are at a race where they need to take off part of your bib (then they remove it and your move on) or if you are having a medical emergency. When you are done racing, move out of the way so other racers can finish too. I have been guilty of this a time or two, but once I found out that the food was down a ways from the end of the race, I never made that mistake again. There are 2 reasons I run: For cool medals and for post race food.
Do: Whether you are a seasoned runner or a newbie, if you see another runner struggling – encourage them. Say “looking strong” or “nice job” or, my favorite, yell “free high fives” and give them one. Sometimes getting a little pep talk helps you push through the rough parts.
Do: Also, don’t forget to thank someone who unknowingly carried you through the race. Many times I keep my eye on a runner in front of me. When I struggle, I use them as my motivation to keep moving. If I see them after the race I will always thank them for pushing me. It may be a little creepy as I am gasping for air and shoving post race treats down my throat, but hey I gotta give props when props are due!
Do: Thank the police officers as your run by for keeping you safe. It is because of them that you are able to do what you love…or love to hate. Either way, their protection is a God send.
Do: Thank the volunteers and race staff. They put in a lot of blood, sweat, tears, sleepless night and hella amounts of work to help put together the race. As a race director, you will never know how much a thank you means.