Tips to Travel Smarter: TSA, prep, and staying on track
Planning a trip to get away, but not trying to let your diet get away from you? Calm your nerves. With a little extra planning and preparation, you and your food will make it through security checkpoints with ease.
TSA: Know the Rules
Make sure you’re familiar with what is allowed on an airplane. According to TSA, you can bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, gels and creams inside a carry-on bag.
Here’s where TSA get picky. The containers “are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item.” Basically, just because your yogurt fits inside a quart-sized bag, doesn’t mean it will pass through TSA.
Here’s what you can pack with ease:
- TSA allows food items, including protein, like: chicken, tuna pouches, rice, nuts and any cooked solid foods.
- Travel Tip: Make sure if you use a freezer pouch to keep your food cool, it is completely frozen. If not, it will be taken.
- An empty water bottle
- Single serving packs and ready-to-eat food will save your life:
o Peanut butter packets
o 100 calorie almond packets
o Oatmeal packets
o Tuna pouches
o Protein bars
- Travel Tip: make sure to cook food ahead of time, and let cool completely before packing. I’ve had issued with condensation, leading TSA to search my chicken and rice. While they didn’t confiscate it, the searching added an extra 15 minutes of security time I didn’t have.
- Travel Tip: bring a single serve oatmeal packet with you and ask the flight attendant for hot water to get easy carbs in.
While you’re allowed to bring supplements, medications and pills through TSA, I’ve had instances where I haven’t been as fortunate.
If you need your protein with you, pack a single serving in a Ziploc bag with you, and put the rest in your checked luggage.
The same rule holds true for BCAAs, pre-workout and any other powdered supplements you have. After you’ve had a full container of creatine thrown away, you’ll never test the waters again.
Additional Travel Tips
It’s always good to keep a few staples in your checked luggage, too. This is where I pack my food scale, sugar-free syrup, peanut butter and usually oatmeal packets.
Travel Tip: pack a few Ziploc baggies with you so food storage is easy when you’re on the go on vacation.
When searching for a hotel, find one with a kitchenette, or a microwave at minimum. This will help you cook a few staple foods you need, depending on how long you are away from home.
Travel Tip: have meals sent to your hotel from a reputable meal prep service. While it might be a little pricey for shipping, having quality meals (if you’re on prep) will take the stress away from planning.
Finally, remember it is not rocket science. No matter how well you plan, life happens. Be ready for anything, including your luggage not to make it. If you’re dieting to stay healthy, don’t forget to indulge a little bit. Memories made are always more important than macros. If you’re on track every day, a week or two off will not harm you. Stay in control of your choices, treat yourself and enjoy the time you have off with loved ones.