How to Eat Healthy When Traveling for Business
“Up with the sun, gone with the wind, she always said I was lazy.
Leavin’ my home, leavin’ my friends, runnin’ when things get too crazy,”- Bob Seger
Hey travelin’ friend–we aren’t talkin’ about Bob Seger’s kind of traveling. We’re talkin’ about the business kind of traveling.
The kind that sends you to places like Paducah Kentucky for 2 weeks solid and challenges your dedication to eating clean and catching your goals.
So how do you do it? You know—stick to your diet when you’re flying, sleeping in hotels, tempted by room-service, business luncheons, night caps and free ‘hot’ breakfasts?
Well, let’s talk about it. It has a little to do with planning, and a lot to do with….you.
We wrote up the Business Traveler’s Guide to Eating Healthy just for you. You’re welcome.
Like a naive traveler with a heart-shaped hot tub in his seedy motel–let’s jump right in, fit friend.
Scope out Your Destination
Seriously, GOOGLE is like the planner for any event. The personal assistant, the gopher, the caddy, the bar back, the bell hop—you get our drift. It’s there—use it. Google where you’re going on business. Scope out the grocery stores and food chains in the area. See what your options are for picking up some clean foods while you’re traveling for business.
Now, you’ll likely only have a microwave, so we’ll keep that in mind when we suggest some items on your list. Unless your business gave you a pair of fancy pants to wear in your hotel room equipped with a kitchenette. Even if they did, that’s not typical. Soooo we’re going to guess you got stuck with the microwave like the majority of us.
Make a Grocery List
After you’ve identified the restaurants you can count on to get you some lean protein and steamed veggies, if applicable, don’t fall prey to the snack attacks that come on during those long afternoon meetings. You know—the ones in the conference rooms where they have bowls filled with a hodgepodge of candies and chocolates, bags of chips and diet-wrecking snacks? Oh no.
Pick up some almonds, fresh fruit or freeze-dried fruits (watch the sugars), celery sticks or carrots, fat free or low cal/natural dressings, and trail mix. Pick up some snack sized Ziplock bags to portion out your snacks and stick them in your laptop backpack or your briefcase for easy access.
While you’re at the grocery store, don’t rely on only restaurants to keep you honest with your diet. Pick up some canned tuna, lean fresh deli meat, brown bread, canned veggies or fresh veggies. Go to the whole food aisle and look for all natural low sodium snack foods like granola or skinny pop.
Don’t forget to pick up a pack of bottled water and some tea/electrolyte drinks. While your front desk may have some, do you really want to pay $5 for a bottled water? That’s a big fat negative.
Arm yourself with these items so you don’t ‘excuse’ yourself into the meatball panini with a side of cheese-stuffed pasta, a buttery baguette and bigger love handles.
Be Smart at Restaurants
Listen, like that omnipresent morning person popping up from a cubicle—it’s impossible to avoid a group dinner, luncheon or breakfast while you’re traveling. You can’t be that guy—the one that says ‘no, I’m on a diet’ every time you’re asked to join. People will start talking—they’ll avoid eye contact, and you’ll be weeded out as a ‘weirdo.’ Don’t be a weirdo.
It’s not hard to go out with them and still eat clean. Get lean beef or steak. Order steamed veggies—hold the seasoning. Go through the menu and find side items that align with your nutritional plan and stick to it. Period.
Bring your Protein Powder
Shake things up with your shaker and make your protein powder your go-to quick breakfast meal and/or snack. It’s simple enough to make and will fill you up since it takes your body longer to digest it.
Be Proactive About Inevitable Sleep Disruption
Traveling for business takes its toll on sleep schedules and patterns. This can throw off hormones, moods and alter your superhero-esque ability to say no to those cheese-smothered soft pretzels at the gas station.
It can also impact your fluid balance. So—drink plenty of water while traveling, replenish lost electrolytes with some great drinks.
Take Advantage of the Hotel Gym
While your hotel may not have an in-room chef or kitchenette, unless you’re in God’s country, your business hotel should have a workout facility. Keep your eye on the prize by hitting the weights. With the endorphins released during your workout, it will keep your motivation cup filled to the brim to avoid temptation.
It’s really easy to give in when you’re on the road. “I’ll just eat better next week” is a common blow to a great diet. But when you’re traveling for a week or more at a time, or traveling often—that excuse can EASILY become a way of life. Don’t give in.
When we said it’s a little about planning—and a lot about you—we meant it. You control what you put in your body. You control whether you give into temptation. If you travel for business, you need a lot of discipline if you want to see the results you’re targeting. So set your sights and stay engaged. Need help? Muscle-building pre-workout with BCAAs and aminos can keep you on track, focused and motivated throughout your long days. Equip yourself and be a healthy travelin’ (wo) man.