There’s no doubt that student-athletes have hectic schedules. Trying to juggle classes, homework, training AND trying to have a social life is quite a feat.
It gets even more complicated when you throw traveling for the weekend with your team into the mix.
It can be fun taking a weekend trip with your teammates. But it can also throw a wrench into sticking with your nutrition plan.
You don’t always have access to the same foods you would if you were local.
Or the support from your family who makes sure there’s plenty of healthy food choices around.
(Shout out to all the parents out there whose schedules are as crazy as their athletes. High school sports is definitely a family affair.)
You know how important proper fueling is for your game.
So what can you do when you’re traveling with the team, staying at a hotel for the weekend and have limited options?
Here are my top 5 tips to fuel for success while staying at a hotel.
1. Control your environment
Ask for a hotel room with a kitchenette. Having access to a microwave or refrigerator opens up a lot of possibilities. If there’s a local grocery store around, stock up on some staples. Fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat bread, crackers, pretzels and tuna packets are good options.
2. Pack a cooler
Having your own food gives you the ultimate control over what you’re eating. It allows you to choose items that fits your unique needs as an athlete.
Pack a cooler with your favorite performance foods to make it easier to stick with your plan.
3. Get the coach on board
Talk to your coach before an away game about having access to healthy options. Your coaches want you to be playing at peak performance and will often be one of the biggest advocates for you. If focusing on nutrition is a team-wide effort, it will be much easier to plan your trip and stick with your goals.
4. Continental breakfast
Staying at a hotel that offers a continental breakfast gives you a few options. The goal is to get a combination of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat from a variety of food sources. This will ensure you're energized and ready to give 110% come game time.
Limit foods such as doughnuts, croissants, danishes and strudels. They're high in saturated fats and added sugar. It's also a good idea to avoid large portions of fatty breakfast meats like sausage and bacon. These options aren't great fuel sources and can leave you with a stomach ache.
Instead, go for a starch such as a bagel, English muffin or whole wheat bread with some nut butter. Other easy options include cereal or oatmeal with milk or yogurt and a piece of fruit.
Many foods contain both carbohydrate and protein sources. Most starches, dairy and nut butters have a combination of both. For more protein, hard-boiled or scrambled eggs are good staples.
You can also think ahead and grab a piece of fruit or a bagel to take with you for later in the day
5. Portions matter
If you’re not mindful, it can be easy to overeat when you’re travelling. Portions at hotels and restaurants are bigger than what most student-athletes need.
Keep your portions the same as how you would eat at home and be mindful not to eat too much before a competition. Large amounts of food sitting in your stomach right before a competition can leave you sluggish or worse.
A little planning goes a long way! Take a few minutes to map out your travel schedule and plan ahead. This will lead to less stress, consistent performance and provide a competitive edge.
What other tips do you or your student-athletes use to eat well on the go?