Eating healthy can be a challenge when you traveling for business, and many people find when they return, they’ve gained some weight. That extra weight can really add up if you take business trips frequently. It’s easy to make the wrong food choices when you’re in an unfamiliar environment unless you plan ahead.
Here are some tips for eating healthy when you’re on a business trip:
Research restaurants before you go
Once you know where you’re going, look up restaurants around your hotel online, and preview their menus. Look for ones that offer vegetable side dishes rather than the requisite starches like white rice and potatoes that typically come with entrées.
Restaurants that offer lots of salads are also good choices. Avoid restaurants that serve lots of fried foods and entrees with heavy sauces. Plan what you’ll order before arriving to avoid hasty decisions made out of hunger. When ordering an entrée, ask the waitress to replace starchy side dishes with a serving of steamed vegetables, and hold the bread basket. Drink tea or water with your meal. When you drink sweetened beverages the calories add up quickly. Think twice before ordering alcohol. Two glasses of wine will add 180 calories to your meal.
Take advantage of the hotel refrigerator
If you’re staying in a hotel that has an in-room refrigerator, stock it with healthy snacks to avoid trips to the vending machine. To stock your hotel fridge, stop by a local supermarket and pick up single-serving containers of yogurt and some fruit. Use these as healthy late-night snacks when hunger strikes. They’re a better choice than grabbing a bag of chips or crackers from the vending machine. You can also use them for a quick breakfast if you’re pressed for time.
Bring along snacks when you fly
Airline food isn’t always healthy, so bring along some better-for-you snack options in case you have an unexpected layover and need a quick bite to eat. Good choices are protein bars that are low in sugar, small bags of mixed nuts and fresh fruit.
Don’t pass on breakfast even when you’re pressed for time. Research shows that people who begin the day with a healthy breakfast consume fewer calories later on. Start the day with a combination of protein and fiber-rich carbs. Good choices are a veggie-rich omelet, oats with fruit, yogurt with fruit and nuts or whole-grain toast with a boiled egg. Pass on croissants, pancakes, bagels and muffins. These carby foods are rapidly digested and absorbed and will raise your blood sugar levels rapidly and drop them just as quickly. This causes your energy levels to drop and sends you running to the snack machine before lunch. If you’re too rushed for a sit-down breakfast, grab a protein bar from your take-along stash. Just don’t start your day on an empty stomach.
Drink enough water
Many people are mildly dehydrated because they don’t drink enough water. Carry a water bottle with you when you travel to sip on throughout the day. Mild dehydration causes headaches, fatigue and irritability and makes it harder to concentrate. Don’t rely on thirst to be your signal to drink. The urge to drink only strikes after you’re already too dry.
The bottom line
Eating healthy when you’re traveling is more challenging but still doable. Use these tips to ensure you feel your best when you travel for business and that you’ll return weighing no more than when you left.