Roll Out: Eating Well While On The Go

Top o’ the ‘marnin’ to ya!

This post is dedicated to Cherie who sounded the battle horn and let me know she wanted to hear. Thanks again for the participation and hopefully you get a chance to take some helpful tips away from this post before you get started with your day!

I Got A Story To Tell

Back when I was in college, I had what could be considered the holy grail of on campus jobs – circulation assistant. This is just a fancy way of saying that when you wanted to check out tomes of sacred knowledge and wisdom from the library, you had to come see this guy first. Not only did this position allow me to meet some pretty cool people, but it gave me time to catch up on some pretty epic  reading, one of my favorites being You Are Going To Prison, which made sure that I never went.

Another perk was that we had a fridge in the back.

This was around the time that I started gobbling up everything that I could relating to nutrition and fitness, and one of the first dogmatic principles spoken down from the heavens is that you must eat every 2-3 hours or else you are forever banished to the land-o-fatness**. Clearly this scared me to death at this point in my life, so I suited up.  I cooked up my chicken breast. I steamed up my veggies. Forget bagging up my protein, I brought the whole damn tub! While we’re at it, why the hell should I use a shaker bottle to make them when I can annoy everyone and BRING THE ENTIRE BLENDER TO WORK?!

It hurts me to say it folks, but I was that dude.

If you saw me walking around campus during those bleak days, you would’ve thought that I was going to war with my huge bag filled to the brim with food rations, electronic gadgets and clanking bottles of ridiculousness. All for a 4 hour shift.

Right Idea, Wrong Application

I will say this about those days: I was pretty lean only because having all those meals handy kept me from walking over to the student union and snatching ice cream pops and french fries right out the mouths of hungry children and scarfing them down with reckless abandon, but I went about the process all wrong and made it a lot more difficult than it needed to be.

Tip #1 – Prepare a one or two I.S.H. meals

Preparing meals in advance can go a long way towards keeping you out of the gas station food isle lurking for inglorious foodstuff. I call these my “in case stuff happens” meals. If you know you’re going to be away from home base for a significant amount of time, it would be silly (and more expensive) to venture into the world and just leave your food choices to chance.

This is one of the most practical and easily implementable tips you’ll find, but many don’t like to do it because it takes planning in advance. Do you remember (hopefully) long ago when your parents used to ask if you had to go to the bathroom before you all left the house? Of course the answer was no, until 10 minutes later you were screaming for them to pull over before you drowned everyone in the car. It’s kinda like that, because you’ll be pissed at yourself for not taking the time to prep some meals after you find yourself eating the same crappy meals day in and day out instead of solving the issue before it became a problem.

Most work places these days have a fridge that you can store your most perishable food in, so make sure to take advantage of this. If this isn’t the case, you could also buy one of those precious lunch boxes that can hold an ice pack inside and keep your meats and such cool. I recommend going for the Sailor Moon lunch box.

Tip #2 – When in doubt, go for protein.

It’s hard to go wrong with this recommendation. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient around town and will help keep hunger at bay longer than the other macronutrients (in isolation, of course). Every Sunday I’m away from home for a good 12 hours, so I like to cook up some burgers and veggies and take them to work with me and crush them about halfway through my shift to keep myselfsatisfied for the next 6 hours or so.

Tip #3 – Shake it up

I love protein shakes like Donald Trump loves money. When I know I’m going to be on the go for awhile, they are the road dawgs of my tummy satisfaction, plus they’re pretty simple to make. Here is a good guide to go by in terms of getting the most bang for your buck:

Base liquid - Water or milk. (the less water, the thicker the shake. You can add ice too to sass it up).
Protein - Casein or Casein/Whey blend. (the more scoops, the more protein you will have and the thicker it’ll be).
Fruit - Blueberries, Strawberries, Bananas, Apples, etc. Pretty much whatever fruits fit your taste desires.
Extras - Veggies, nuts, olive oil (yeah, I’ve gone the olive oil route before – fun times).

I like to drop a good 2-3 scoops and 1lb of strawberries and blueberries. All the protein plus the carbs and fiber from the fruit help stave off hunger and sidestep the problem that most liquid nutrition runs into – it runs right through you with not much long term satiation.

Tip #4 – Fend for yourself

I like this one because once you do it and are successful, it takes all of the excuses out of not being able to eat right while on the move. Today you’re not packing a single item in your lunch box, because you’re living off the fat of the land, baby! Simply leave the house in the morning and plan to find all of your meals outside of it, doing the best that you can with the options available to you.

When you set out on this mission, your mind will automatically begin to search for options that satisfy your objectives, which are as follows:

- Contains mostly protein.
- Is minimally processed.
- Has some fiber in it.
- Grew out of the ground or something growing from the ground.
- Some dude in a lab didn’t make it.

Surely there are foods out there that meet these requirements. Cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store? Check. Slightly bruised banana on the counter at the gas station next to the honey buns? Check. Baked Potatoe from Wendy’s? Check.

I’m not part of the food gestapo, so I realize that some other food is gonna make its way into your mouth – and that’s completely fine. The goal here is to make the bulk of your intake fit meet the above requirements and not to sweat the small stuff. Some Cinnabon sticks won’t kill you, but I might if you don’t let me have a bite.

Heh. Just kidding.

But seriously, can I have a bite?

** – Please note the sarcasm in this sentence. You do NOT need to eat every 2-3 hours to achieve your body composition goals.

What strategies do you all use to eat well while going about your daily business? Did I leave out something that you’ve found useful and would like to share? Leave a comment in the comment section and I’ll see you there!


Photo Credit: ElDave

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Comments

  1. Toni says

    Question: So, if I’m eating every 2-3 hours, when do I have my “real” meals, Like lunch and dinner? And what should those meals look like, opposed to what someone normally eats for lunch and dinner? And if that is the case, should I expect to have a snack before bed? Thanks!

    -TJL

    • says

      Short answer: Whenever you’re hungry for them. And in general if you’re following some kind of template, your bigger meals be similar in composition to your snack but just more of it (I.E. more protein, more fats, more veggies, carbs, etc).

      Long answer: It all depends.

      Question – do you find it hard to follow the eating every 2-3 hours?

      • Toni says

        I do! Mostly because my day doesn’t really get started until about 12noon, when I’m getting ready for work. I sleep in, tend to forget to eat before work, and I’m busy most of my time there. Then when I get home, I have to contend with another person as to what/when we eat. What would be most helpful are some good, concrete examples of what I should be packing for snack, since I’m moving around a lot in the late afternoon.

        • says

          Alright, lets do this!

          First things first – If it is difficult for you to adhere to the “eat every 2-3 hours” business then go ahead and drop it. It isn’t necessary and is making things harder than they need to be for you. Simply make a point to get at least 3 meals a day in and adjust from there.

          As far as packing goes, don’t limit yourself to thinking of them as “snacks” as that tends to get people thinking that they have to be small and insignificant.

          Do you have access to any kind of fridge or some kind of “home base” when you’re moving around? If not, that rules out meats. Anything non perishable will be your best friend – fruit, measured out portions of nuts, raw veggies if thats your bag. Don’t be afraid of a good ‘ol fashion peanut butter and banana sammich either – while not a favorite of mine, I’m sure Elvis would give you some props.

          Was that helpful? Sorry for the quick response but I’m about to roll out myself. Lemme know and we can chat some more as this discussion is probably useful to a lot of people.

          - Rog

  2. says

    All good tips – thanks!

    My biggest struggle is sticking to my diet on the weekends. I eat at higher calories on the weekends anyway, but it’s tough to stay on track. I find myself getting distracted/busy, and then realizing I’m ravenous and eating more than I should.

    • says

      No problem Bonnie!

      Isn’t it wild how most people do really during the week only to take a few steps back over 2-3 days? I think it has a lot to do with that lack of schedule in terms of work/home life + the socializing that goes along with it.

      • joay says

        That’s exactly what the case used to be, for me at least.

        Saturday comes and…. no work…

        I used to live a binge Sunday vs 0 Kcal Monday life for a few months.

        It’s a good way to balance things out, but your Tuesday workout never had good things to say about it.

        Eventually I got it right, calm down and get a life someone told me.

  3. Cherie says

    This whole article was super awesome and I’m totally going to put those tips to good use. I’ll have to print this article and carry it around in my back pocket as a reminder.

    I especially LOVE the idea of doing the protein shake! Where would one acquire Casein or Casein/Whey blend?

    • says

      I’m glad you liked it, and I hope you weren’t at the Bruce during my blender carrying days lol.

      If you click on the words “Casein” and “Casein/Whey blend” in the article they’ll take you to the products that I recommend, but here are some more options.

      I personally create my own Casein/Whey blend by mixing 1 or 2 scoops of this (the whey) with 1 scoop of this (the casein).

      Vanilla tends to rock pretty hardcore in terms of flavoring, and everything is better with milk.

      If you want some customization check out this website where you can create your own protein powders on the cheap – http://www.trueprotein.com/

      P.S. – NEVER buy in supplement stores because they jack the price up and take advantage of your wallet. It’s always cheaper on the web.

      Lemme know if you have any more questions!

      • Cherie says

        I think I do remember you carrying a blender around every now and then, but it just shows dedication. ^_^

        Thanks for the tip about supplement store vs online pricing!

  4. Andrew says

    The description of you during your college days mirrors my experience almost exactly. I remember bringing two and sometimes three meals to campus even though I was only going to be there for eight hours. I was under the belief that if I did not eat every 2.5 hours that in terms of bodycomposition and health, well, game over. I can remember myself heating up grilled chicken, sweet potatoes, and veggies in the microwave in the cafeteria and choking the stuff down before or after a class.

    Luckily, in my final year someone turned me onto Lyle McDonald’s work, which eventually led me to reading stuff by Alan Aragon and then Martin Berkhan. The three aforementioned authors completely changed my mindset with regard to nutrition and helped break me of all the “rules” that I had learned prior to reading their work.

    • says

      Yeah man, I felt like a huge turd once I figured out that not only was I going crazy for no reason, but my results were no better by sticking to arbitrary rules and guidelines. Luckily everyone else around me was doing the same thing, so I never reached the point of being overcome with rage and jealousy by seeing someone get better results by being less anal and with a lot less work.

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