When it comes to making healthy meal choices while traveling, temptations and convenience tend to overcome our goal to eat healthy. When you're out of your normal routine, it's so easy to make not so great food choices. On one of my first business trips, my colleague, friend, and mentor suggested the importance of setting guidelines when it comes to nutrition. Here are a few of my "traveling rules" for nutrition on the road.
1. Bring a reusable bottle. Having a reusable water bottle makes the choice to drink water that much easier. There are plenty of drinking fountains, filtered water stations, water in pop machines, etc. that make it easier to bypass sugary drinks and help keep you hydrated. Having a reusable water bottle can also help you save money by removing the need to buy pricey bottles of water at everywhere you stop. It's also environmentally friendly!
2. Eat your breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day (and definitely my favorite meal!). Take advantage of your hotel's continental breakfast or grab a quick bite to eat at a coffee shop. Choose something from the menu that includes eggs and veggies or oats and fruit. These choices are high in protein and good carbohydrates that will keep you feeling fuller longer. Breakfast goodies like pastries are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. They'll satisfy your hunger for a short time until the hunger pangs begin to kick in and send you searching for a snack.
3. Focus on lean proteins and veggies. Lunch is a great time to get those crunchy veggies in your diet and a perfect opportunity for a leafy salad with protein (think grilled chicken breast, turkey, and tofu). Lunch seems to be the meal where we really search for convenience and sandwiches or wraps might seem like the best choice. Try to build time into your day to enjoy a salad with lots of veggies and grilled chicken breast. And of course, pay attention to the dressing on the side to help control those sneaky calories.
4. Set boundaries during dinner. In a career with traveling and social events, dinner seems to be the meal where there are the most temptations and indulgence takes place. Dinners with grilled, lean protein such as chicken breast and fish are great options. Accompany these proteins with grilled veggies and a side salad and you’ve got a satisfying meal. Say no to the dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, pasta, fried jalapeño poppers, and yes, it pains me to say it…the fabulous desserts, even if that tiramisu is really calling your name. When it comes to beverages, I draw the line at one glass of wine and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
I hope these rules help you stay healthy in your professional (and personal!) travelling life.