Healthy eating on the road

August 30, 2013

whole foodsIt’s not always easy to be healthy while traveling for work. It’s hard to motivate yourself when off your schedule, and long days, room service, and office donuts don’t help! I have definitely fallen off the healthy eating bandwagon lately (as well as the regular exercise bandwagon, but that’s a story for another day). It’s just simpler to eat whatever is readily available, be it on the airplane, or at the hotel or office, rather than plan ahead.

Recently, I went on a trip with a super healthy guy. You know the type–gets up to go to the gym at 5am even though his flight didn’t get in until midnight, eats salads for every meal, constantly hydrates, and of course has tons of energy. He is also a vegan, so it’s not always easy for him to find restaurants when he travels. One of his solutions is to go stock up at a local health food store–usually Whole Foods–and get enough food for his trip. I know lots of people who do something similar, as it’s much cheaper than eating out for all meals (and of course offers a big range of healthy foods to choose from).

Initially we went into Whole Foods to pick up a few things for my coworker–fruit, hummus, etc. And as an aside: even though I recognize that getting food from a grocery store is most likely going to be healthier, and it will save time for me in the morning, I don’t often do it. This time, however, it was really fun. Normally grocery shopping is a chore that I have to squeeze into a limited amount of time, fighting through the busy hordes. On this evening, the Whole Foods was almost completely empty, and I wasn’t on a time crunch. I got to take time to look at everything I wanted, smell the flowers, taste samples, and admire the gorgeous produce. I picked up a few things for myself (cherries, dark chocolate, sparkling water—yay treats!)and headed up to check out. My coworker was already there, but suggested that instead of getting our food and then heading to a restaurant, we just take advantage of the Whole Foods café. Of course I’ve eaten at the Whole Foods a few miles from my house, but it’s never occurred to me to eat at one on the road.

My food was so incredibly delicious. I had corn chowder and a brie and pear pizza, plus my treats. Besides being reasonably healthy, it was very affordable—around $10. There were all kinds of options, including Asian, Indian, a massive salad bar, soul food, hamburgers, and of course, pizza. If you are traveling and want something quick and healthy, Whole Foods and other health food stores are great options.

Readers, do you go to the grocery store on business trips?

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  1. Amber said,

    I usually try to pick up stuff for breakfast, because I’ll always choose sleep over food in the mornings. I usually research what’s nearby before I go, so if there aren’t good grocery options within walking distance, I make sure to pack a couple apples, granola bars, and some shelf-stable meals (I like the gopicnic line).

  2. Laura said,

    I’ve been travelling weekly for 9 years now and usually try to make a point to shop for healthy foods for the week. Having a Whole Foods nearby is a plus, but usually most grocery stores have a healthy food section if that’s not available…What I’d like to know is what my fellow road warriors find to be the most effective way to maintain fitness while traveling. I do Crossfit when I’m home and seek out Crossfit locations to drop in for a workout or two in my travel city. I can’t stand a lot of hotel gyms and find this is the most effective for me.

  3. Derek said,

    I often grocery shop when I’m on the road. Especially for breakfast items. I hate the free continental or hot buffets because everyone there in line is like a savage. Its as if breakfast will be their last meal. Plus the food options are not terribly appetizing. So I grab milk, cereal, fresh fruit and often snack foods and a case of water for the day. I’ll grab a couple bottles of wine as well so I can relax in my room in the evening.

    @Laura – there are some hotel gyms that are good, but more often than none its hit and miss. Fortunately for me my gym has locations across the country so I can always find one to work out at. I don’t mind paying to get into another gym that is close by if my gym is not in the city or nearby. I’ll walk to the office, i tend to take the stairs in the hotel especially during busy times and one thing that I enjoy is renting a bike! Its a great way to discover the city while getting exercise in. Recently I was in Vancouver and did the local Grouse Grind (mother nature’s stair master). Always nice to participate in something physical that is done by locals.

  4. reeder said,

    I seek out local grocery stores when I travel internationally. It is pretty fun to browse the aisles and look for new things to try. Or attempt to decipher the foreign labels.

    I also pack some shelf stable breakfast foods like oatmeal, granola bars. Like Amber, sleep often trumps breakfast in my book.

  5. AJ said,

    I have been on the road for over 20 years. For many years, my company only paid $10 per day for meals if we weren’t entertaining a client. I started staying in extended stay hotels with kitchens so that I could go to the grocery store and buy for the week – usually frozen lite dinners and something to have for breakfast. That has changed now, but I still often go to the grocery store.

  6. Melissa said,

    I will often seek out a Whole Foods/Trader Joes when on the road, though sometimes I have had trouble getting these meals reimbursed! (Really? And it’s MUCH cheaper then if I go to a restaurant)

    @Laura–I maintain fitness on the road by running. It’s a great way to see a city/gain a different perspective on the local surroundings. I will try to do research on the area before I get there but if not I will generally just ask the hotel if it’s safe for runners and what route they recommend.

  7. ASuburbanLife said,

    Always! I travel to corporate headquarters, outside of a major city, at least twice a quarter. I quickly got tired of bad restaurant food. Now I look forward to heading to the local Whole Foods after work – depending on the season I get soup or kale salad. And of course always some delicious cookies!

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