Andi is a travel lover, foodie, writer, and Francophile who writes the fabulous blog Misadventures With Andi.
If you travel a lot for business you may not realize that you are particularly susceptible of falling into bad eating habits. You risk not only unnecessary weight gain, but also health problems such as indigestion.
There are a myriad of ways to make sure that you maintain a healthy eating routine while traveling and I am pleased that Road Warriorette has invited me to guest-post to share a few with you.
First of all, preparation is key.
Despite the fact that most domestic airlines are now offering healthier choices when it comes to for-purchase meals, the best way to ensure that you have a nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner during a flight is to make your own. I promise it is easy to do and does not take up that much space in your carry-on.
Easy food to pack:
- A sandwich – my favorite is wheat bread with hummus, basil and tomato, for extra heft I add slices of sesame garlic tempeh. Be careful not to bring anything too smelly, like tuna!
- A small bag of nuts or trail mix, or better yet, grab one of the million granola or nutritional bars that are out there.
- Slices of cheese and/or meat such as salami; again be cautious to not to bring anything too smelly. I also often bring chunks of cut up dried tofu.
- Fruit like a banana or a Ziploc bag of grapes.
- Vegetables like carrots or celery.
- A bar of dark chocolate.
The best part, you know you’re going to like it because you made it!
You always have a choice.
When it is not practical to pack a meal, your next option is to grab something at the airport. This can be tricky, but I hold firm to my belief that you can always find something healthy. Granted you may have to search through a whole lot of fast food and quite frankly, bad food, to find it, but you can.
Make wise choices. Grab a to-go salad. Pick up a sandwich and piece of fruit. Whatever you do, don’t be lured in by the smell of fried food, sliced pizza or sugary drinks. You’ll feel far better if you select something that is more nutritious. Trust me.
Also, if you are flying out of airports such as Boston or JFK, pick up a container of coconut water, it is a tasty, highly hydrating drink and will keep you from getting too thirsty on the flight.
At your destination, the hotel room service conundrum.
You’re tired. You’re hungry. And you’re alone, maybe even lonely. That room service menu is beckoning you. It’s an easy and convenient choice for dinner. And while there are many healthy choices, there is always, always, comfort food. You know what I’m talking about. The good stuff. The food that reminds you of home, or that feels like the right way to treat yourself when you are feeling a bit hungry and a bit blue.
But you will feel much better if you eat a little wiser. Have a salad. Personally, I am not a big fan of green salads unless they have a lot of interesting things in them, but there are usually other salad choices that you can select such as fresh tomato with mozzarella. Pick something like that, with a bowl of soup. If that doesn’t appeal to you, select a main course that is light, nothing fried or smothered in sauce.
Now, from time to time you just may want that fried chicken, cheeseburger, or individual pizza. I say go for it…as long as you aren’t making comfort food a go-to order all the time. You will be “comforted” in knowing that you will not put on the extra pounds that go along with comfort food as a regular staple.
A word on restaurants.
Like everything else I have mentioned above, you have a choice in what you eat when dining in a restaurant. It may be a little trickier sometimes when it is a business meal with customers or clients. Generally, you’ll want to let them order what they want, even if that means sharing fried or unhealthy appetizers.
But fear not, take small portions and save your appetite for your main course whether it is a salad or something as equally as healthy. Remember, if you do choose a salad make sure it has a protein on it such as chicken so that you won’t feel hungry an hour after eating it!
You won’t always be able to have a healthy selection, but you can always choose the healthiest of what the restaurant has to offer.
If forced to eat at restaurants for several meals over several days in a row consider having an appetizer as your main course, it is typically smaller in portion than if you chose from the entrees.
In all instances, between meals drink plenty of water to flush your system as well as avoid over-caffeinating. Staying hydrated will make you feel better and less hungry. One additional step you can do is to take digestive enzymes before meals to prevent upset stomachs from too much grease, etc.
Last word – other things you can do.
Not associated with eating, but something to consider anyway is to keep active and moving as much as possible. When traveling for business there is a lot of sitting, whether on the airplane or around a conference table. So whenever possible, move.
For example, many airports offer tram services to get you from your arrival gate to baggage claim or the airport exit, but did you know that most of the time you can walk as well? It may be a long walk but it is just what you need after being stuck on a plane.
Also don’t use escalators or people movers…walk up the stairs.
While waiting at the gate, stand up and walk around, why sit when you are about to be forced to sit for an hour, or two or five?
Those extras calories you burn could be used towards treating yourself with a nice glass of wine to go with that tomato salad later on in the day!
Once you find a healthy eating routine on the road, choosing nutritious and tasty food while avoiding junk and fast food will become second nature. You’ll enjoy the side benefits of better skin and hair, maintain a healthy weight and most of all, you’ll have tons of energy.