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On the Athlete’s Plate: Healthy Travel Tips

By Emma Andrews on October 23, 2014

On the Athlete’s Plate: Healthy Travel Tips

I have the privilege of traveling all over North America for my work at Vega. Whether I’m educating our many amazing retail partners, or meeting with community groups and organizations interested in health and wellness, I consider being on the road a definite perk of my job.

However, it doesn’t come without elements of stress, both physical and mental: time zone, climate and altitude changes, flight delays, pathogens in highly trafficked public places, different routine (bed, food, fitness), and of course being apart from my loved ones.

After several trips where I didn’t recover or adapt well, and experienced subsequent delays in training for goals I had on the radar, I realized how much more proactive I needed to be about maintaining a routine on the road.



Today’s wakeup call is horribly early. I am flying to Dallas, via Houston, and it will be a full day of travel from the West Coast. I don’t have an appetite what-so-ever this early in the morning, and considering it’s at least 2 hours earlier than I would normally wake up, too much food may be a big shock to the system. One key on day 1 of any travel itinerary is to avoid additional stress.

I start the day with a simple glass of lemon water, and 5 grams of Vega® Chlorella (10 tablets).


Through security, customs (and the coffee shop line-up), I’m now in the air. The first drink cart comes around, and I opt for just water. I’ve come prepared! Snacks for the first leg of my flight include:

  • Dried tart cherries (an alternative if you have a sweet tooth).
  • Vega Sport® Protein Bar, with 15 grams plant-based protein, in Chocolate Mint flavor (my favorite)
  •  A trail mix without added sugars


I arrive in Houston with a couple hours to wait until my connecting flight. With all the travel I do in a year, I am luckily able to qualify for frequent flyer lounge access. If I don’t have access to the lounge, I usually scope out a restaurant or café serving fresh salads and make a Vega Sport® Performance Protein shake with water. Ask nicely, and they’ll usually give you ice for your shaker cup at most restaurants too.

Today, I check in to the airline lounge and snack on some of the fruit and veggie options (gratefully, these are consistently available no matter which airport). I have a couple packages of baby carrots and a sliced banana with almond butter. I pack travel-sized almond butter packets with me in my carry-on. I pack an apple for the road, and when it’s time for my flight, I make a green tea to-go. Sometimes I mix Vega Sport® Sugar-free Energizer in hot water instead.


On board my second flight, with just enough time for a glass of water, and one of the only exclusively plant-based snacks on the plane: hummus and crackers. If you eat a plant-based diet, are gluten-free, or sitting in the back rows of the plane (where snacks have usually run out of stock), I would highly recommend packing your own!


As I check in to the hotel, I ask for dinner recommendations in the local area (if I am not heading straight to a training event). Tonight I am meeting up with colleagues at the nearby Mexican grill (I had mushroom tacos, and a side of steamed greens with guacamole). Good cultural cuisine options when eating out include Mexican (rice and bean based dishes), Italian (non-egg pasta with tomato sauce), and Asian (tofu and rice, noodles, or sushi).


I try to stop in a nearby grocery store if I am staying in the same hotel for a couple nights. When you make your reservation, ask for a bar fridge in your room to store some basic supplies. I always buy almond milk (for shakes, granola and tea), granola or instant oats, some fruit or veggies, nut butter (goes well with both celery and apples), and kale chips for munching on while catching up on emails. I pack herbal tea with me, and usually make a cup each night.

One of my travel essentials is my Vega fuel. It’s my no-excuses motivation. My goal is to come home without any single-serve packs left, which means I completed all my intended workouts. I am realistic about how often I will wake up for a morning sweat session given the time changes.

I try and get in at least two workouts if I am away for 3-4 days, and I pack additional protein powder for throughout the day. Because I am often delivering education sessions well into the evening, my free time is limited. I focus my workouts on maintaining fitness versus making gains while away.

I usually integrate a combination of running outdoors or on the gym treadmill (anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes), a weight training circuit (full body), or exercise DVD in my room. Resistance bands, TRX suspension systems, and body weight exercises are also great options.

If you’re a road warrior too, I’d love to hear what some of your plant-based essentials are. How do you eat well and stay fit on the road?

Emma Andrews

Emma Andrews is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, certified in Plant-based Cooking. An endurance runner and cross-training addict, Emma believes the kitchen is your playground. She loves exploring new and innovative ingredients, recipes and food trends almost as much as she loves beating a personal best in trail and road races all around North America. Her motto? “Live a life that’s anything but average!” Learn more about her work as a public speaker and wellness educator at emmamazing.com or join her on social @emmamazing_life
Emma Andrews