Traveling for business can be challenging with extended hours on a plane or in a car, hectic agendas and long meetings with colleagues. You barely have time to sleep let alone think about how you will find healthy food. However, there are some steps you can take to eat right while you are away so you can power through your busy days. By planning ahead and putting a little thought into your meals, you can eat healthy, avoid gaining weight, and stay within your budget.
Keep these 7 tips in mind and remain flexible so you can eat well in any situation while you are traveling.
Tip 1. Bring Food with You
When preparing for your trip, be sure to pack healthy snacks and water to have while you are en route. If you are flying, you can pack food in your carry-on bag as long as items such as nut butter are in a 3.4 oz. (or smaller) containers and put in a quart-sized clear plastic bag; and you will have to buy your bottle of water after you go through airport security. Over time you will find your favorite version of portable snacks; meanwhile here are some examples of my favorites:
- Cut veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, peppers, and grape tomatoes
- Unsweetened dried fruits
- Unsalted nuts; portion your own or use a pre-packaged brand
- Plain popcorn; air-pop and portion your own or use a healthy pre-packaged brand
- Whole grain crackers
- Unsweetened dry cereal like bite-size shredded wheat
- Single serving (no sugar added) almond butter or peanut butter
- Naturally sweetened Fruit and Nut Bar
- Low-sugar nut and seed mix; portion your own or use a pre-packaged brand
If you are driving, take a cooler with you in the car. This will allow you to bring sandwiches and other perishable items such as yogurt, string cheese, hummus, and hard boiled eggs. Any of these can serve as a quick grab-and-go breakfast, lunch, or snack. You can also take along canned foods with a flip top for easy opening such as of tuna, salmon, and soups. Be sure to pack a reusable container or a few small zip-lock bags so you can take food with you to your meetings.
Tip 2. Call Ahead
If you will be staying overnight, call ahead to find out if the hotel serves breakfast and what options are available. If you have a choice, stay at a hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast bar.
When you take a quick scan of the buffet, you’ll see sweet cereals, donuts, pastries, white bagels and yes, the do-it-yourself pancake machine. Refined carbs, fat, and sugar! But if you look between the junk you’ll see a few healthier options including fresh fruit, unsweetened oatmeal and dry cereal like Cheerios, whole wheat bread, and yogurt; go for those. If eggs are available, have one for some extra protein to keep you feeling satisfied longer. Make it a hard-boiled or scrambled egg; and skip the cheese omelet, bacon, and sausage.
Tip 3. Stock Up on Healthy Essentials
Many hotels offer rooms with a mini-fridge and a microwave. Call ahead and make this request if possible. As soon as you arrive at the hotel, find a nearby mini-market or convenience store like Wawa and stock up on healthy essentials such as low sugar whole grain cereal and milk, fruit, veggies such as baby carrots and grape tomatoes, nuts, low sugar yogurt, low fat string cheese, whole grain crackers, and peanut butter. These can serve as an on-the-go breakfast or healthy snacks between meals so you don’t feel famished and tempted to eat junk.