Travel: Eat Like a Triathlete While On the Go

August 6 2012, 3:50 PM

Olympian, World Champion, and Ironman triathlete Julie Dibens has eating down to a science. The rest of us, not so much. But traveling is the one variable that can muck things up for just about anyone. Long layovers, flights or desolate rest-stop restaurant choices can make it tough not to snack or justify a plate of chili fries. We asked the uber-fit Boulderite for a few tips on how to make it through a long travel day with our integrity and waistlines intact.

Pack snacks or your whole meal. Dibens doesn't leave much to chance after a difficult flight early in her career. "I was flying from the UK to Sydney on Singapore Airlines, and I didn't know what they offered me for dinner and had no idea what was on the plate. When we landed, I was starving because I couldn't bring myself to eat it." Now she makes turkey sandwiches or buys one from the airport for international flights (which is a great way to avoid eating an airline's mystery pasta) and packs healthy snacks like nuts or energy bars for mid-flight cravings. If you forget, though, order kosher. The meals go through an intense rabbinical approval process, and you'll avoid mass-produced meats and most likely get organic food.

It's all about Itza Wrap! Itza Bowl! The DIA restaurant is a good choice for pre-flight meals. Options like salmon spring rolls, Udon noodles with tofu, and vegetarian wraps will tide you over without weighing you down.

There's always Subway. "I can't tell you the last time I've been to any of the big fast food restaurants, but I'll go to Subway. It's the same no matter where you are in the world, and I love sandwiches," Dibens says. Plus, people forget that the sandwich chain also offers salads. Just make sure you skip the croutons, cheese and dried fruits, which can make your salad unhealthier than your dessert.

Always, always hydrate. It's one of the best ways to feel better and more energized when you step off a plane or out of the car after a long drive. "I'm such a heavy sweater, I always need to make sure I have enough water with me," Dibens says. Bring a water bottle, but also consider packing something with electrolytes—like Nuun—that can make drinking all of that water a little tastier.

—Image courtesy of Kelly Magelky