I’m trying to eat right and lose weight but I travel almost every week. Sometimes I’m in the car for several hours and other times I’m getting on a plane and flying across the country. How can I improve my diet when I’m away from home? -Brett
Hi Brett, eating well and in a timely manner can sometimes seem nearly impossible when you’re out of your element. The following tips will help you take control of your diet when you’re traveling and away from your kitchen.
Do your homework. Once you know your traveling schedule, go online and check out restaurants and grocery stores in that area. Many restaurants have healthy options if you know what to look for. Ask your waiter how the food is prepared and request modifications if necessary. Stay away from sauces, breading, and heavy dressings. A lean meat and a side of vegetables with water or iced tea is obviously a better choice than a combo meal at the fast food drive-thru. Many grocery stores also have lunch or dinner options available as long as you choose the right foods.
Preparation is key. Healthy eating requires you to have food options available so you don’t skip meals. Poor planning and skipped meals during the day will increase your chances of eating too much or the wrong kinds of foods at night. Once you get settled into your hotel, do some grocery shopping and pick up some healthy snack options. Nuts, fruits, and protein powders require no refrigeration and can be taken along in your bag or purse. If you have a small refrigerator in your hotel room, you can pick up some fresh vegetables, Greek yogurt, or sliced deli meat to have around for breakfast or snacking. You could even pack a cooler and take snack options or a salad with you during the day if you know you’ll only have a small window for lunch. If you just go through your day without a food plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Avoid temptations. You may find options like bagels, doughnuts, and other pastries available when you walk into early morning meetings or someone may have ordered pizza for a lunch meeting. If you go into these situations on an empty stomach, it’s hard to resist these unhealthy foods, especially when everyone else is eating right in front of you. If you stick to your plan and eat healthy foods every 3 hours, you won’t be taken over by these unhealthy temptations.
Hydrate. You should always have a bottle of water with you at all times. Staying properly hydrated will keep you performing at your best and will make you less likely to reach for a coffee in the middle of the afternoon or a can of cola as you walk by the vending machine. A bottle of water and a healthy snack will keep you energized and productive.
Don’t skip the workouts while traveling. People who exercise regularly also eat healthier. An early morning workout gives you a positive mindset which will keep you focused throughout the day on what’s best for your body. If your hotel doesn’t have an exercise room, get outside for a 30 minute walk or jog. If you’re driving a car for several hours on a day trip, take time to stretch and focus on a few deep breathing techniques. Give your mind a break by moving your body.
So if being away from home is a common part of your job, some careful planning and dedication will help you keep your health in check.