We hear it all the time – My traveling work schedule is destroying my diet. How can I eat healthy when I’m on the road?
Being out of your element can definitely hinder your attempts at eating healthy. But, with a sensible game plan, you’ll find that you can do a pretty good job of eating healthy even when you’re away from home for days or even weeks at a time.
Try the following tips to stay on track on your next trip.
Do your homework. Once you know where you’ll be traveling, 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 your food is prepared and request modifications if necessary. Stay away from sauces, breading, and heavy dressings. A chicken thigh 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 a salad bar or hot bar for grab and go lunch and dinner options.
Be prepared. If you want to eat healthy you must 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 breakfast and snack options. Oatmeal, nuts, fruit, and protein powders require no refrigeration and can be taken along in your bag or purse. If you have a small fridge in your hotel room, you can pick up some Greek yogurt or sliced deli meat to have around for breakfast or snacking. You could even pack a cooler and take options like this 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.
Hydrate. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Staying 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 cola as you walk by the vending machine. Drinking a bottle of water and having a balanced snack will help control your blood sugar and allow you to make rational food choices throughout the day.
Avoid temptations. Many traveling clients find options like bagels, doughnuts, and other pastries available when they walk into their 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 2-3 hours, you’ll be less affected by these unhealthy temptations.
Don’t skip the workouts while traveling. Studies show that people who exercise consistently also eat healthier. An early morning workout puts you in the right frame of mind 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. A healthy body craves healthy foods.
So don’t let traveling sabotage your diet. Plan accordingly and have a great trip.