Traveling for work can definitely have its perks: exploring different cities, learning about different cultures and meeting new people to name a few. However, many individuals who travel consistently for work report that their nutrition suffers due to inconsistency in schedule, what may or may not be available, and difficulty in finding wholesome meals on-the-go.
This article explores how to eat mindfully on-the-go, how to balance business dinners/outings, and how to set yourself up for success, not letting health goals fall to the wayside.
1. Balance is key
Often times, client dinner and outings are scheduled ahead of time, as travel arrangements are being made. On the days that these meetings are scheduled, aim to make more health-conscious decisions throughout the day, allowing yourself room for a couple of drinks and a more indulgent dinner with a client. Make sure to eat a balanced breakfast that includes protein soluble fiber and healthy fats and that is low in sugar and to eat balanced meals every three hours to keep blood sugar stable and metabolism elevated. If your feel like you don’t have time for a full meal, a high quality protein shake can be a solid option.
If you are wanting to choose more health-conscious items when out to dinner with clients, opt for a meal that includes lots of vegetables, lean sources of protein and healthy fats. A couple ideas may be salmon with roasted vegetables and a side salad, an entrée salad with a lean source of protein (dressing on the side) topped with nuts/seeds and an oil-based dressing, or a veggie burger with ½ the bun, vegetables and avocado. Click here to see other tips for how to identify healthier options on a restaurant menu.
2. Prepare for the airport
While airport food tends to be trending towards healthier options in some cities, this may not be the case everywhere. If you have an early morning flight, prepare by bringing a filling option – banana with some nut butter, some oatmeal with nuts/seeds or a high quality protein powder. You can mix the powder in with water or milk for a filling and protein packed shake or add it to your oatmeal. Easy grab-and-go options, like those above, that are healthy and balanced will help to ensure that you are not starving at the airport and forced to settle for an option that does not support your health goals. If you have an afternoon or evening flight, prepare by hitting the local market ahead of time and bringing meals to the airport with you.
If you have lost track of time and can’t stop ahead of time, choose healthier snacks at the airport. Some examples include unsweetened trail mix, a nutrition bar (5 grams of sugar or less), dried beans (edamame/chickpeas), or whole-wheat crackers. Make sure to always buy a 1-liter (or larger) bottle of water at the airport to avoid dehydration. To avoid having to purchase these items in the first place, it can be helpful to always have one of these smaller, non perishable snack items always in your bag. Pre-packaged protein powder is a great option here as well – taking up little room, convenient, and portable.
If you have time to sit and enjoy a meal while at the airport, choose a restaurant that has healthier options. If fast-food is your only choice, opt for a grilled chicken sandwich, a burger without the bun, or a salad with the dressing on the side. If there are sit-down restaurants available, don’t be afraid to order from the menu, modifying as desired to fit your health goals.
3. Create a realistic travel routine
Often times, aiming to follow a routine while traveling can help ensure that you feel your best. If you are someone who enjoys exercise while at home, try to make exercise a part of your travel routine. Using an online/app-based exercise program that you can do in the hotel room or at a hotel gym, aiming to hit a certain step goal by walking around a city, or trying a new workout class in the city that you are in can help keep you active while traveling.
If eating healthy is a priority for you, try to eat healthfully while traveling. Researching restaurants ahead of time, asking locals for recommendations and modifying menu items as needed are helpful tools. You can also meal prep. Bring a few meals to keep in the fridge and warm up for dinner. If your room does not come with a microwave, don’t hesitate to ask the front desk.
4. Bring your supplements
If you take vitamins and/or supplements, make sure to bring those along on your travels as well. If you find yourself often not wanting to bring them along due to inconvenience or space, try pre-portioning your supplements or opt for a combination of foundational supplements that are pre-packaged for you, ready to grab and go. If you do not take any yet, know they can be a powerful tool to boost immunity and your body’s ability to bounce back from the tolls of constant travel. Click here to read more on the few specific supplements almost anyone can benefit from.
Prioritizing exercise, choosing healthy food options, and staying hydrated can help to ensure that travel doesn’t take a toll on your overall health, allowing you to succeed in both your work and personal life.