Business travel can put a real strain on trying to eat healthily and not pack on the pounds, especially in more remote areas where choices are limited. It can easily turn into the cooked breakfast, carb overload/deli sandwiches and French fries diet not to mention drinking more than usual. It’s still difficult to travel, eat healthily and nutritiously but these few things can make a big difference. If you’re lucky enough to have a fridge in your room then that’s a huge help, even better a microwave too! Stock it up with water, fruit and vegetable plates and hard boiled eggs from a grocery store or coffee shop. That way if you’re working in your room you’re more likely to reach for that than order room service.
Rather than eating a hotel breakfast, ordering room-service or skipping it completely a few options are:
- Protein shake-when packing for your trip, pack your powder such as Labrada’s Lean Body MRP and scoop in a zip-lock bag (double bag to be safe) and a blenderz bottle. I use water instead of milk in my shakes which is the easiest thing when traveling. I also pack my powder in my hand luggage rather than checked luggage so it doesn’t get opened by security for looking suspicious. It’s also easy to get to then if I want to make a shake whilst I’m flying/and or taking a break from driving.
- Fruit cup-from a grocery store or coffee place. Many coffee shop chains now also sell protein plates which makes a great breakfast, lunch or snack.
- Superfood Cereal- I pack this raw, vegan cereal by Living Intentions (available at Wholefoods) in my suitcase, pour it into the cups provided in most hotel rooms and eat it without milk. It’s also a great snack.
- Room service- egg whites, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal are all good choices. Avoid anything fried, processed or highly processed and sugar laden.
Try not to skip meals; if you are on the go with work it can be easy to forget but it’s super easy to take a meal replacement bar or protein shake with you. It’s important for your metabolism, energy and overall health to not miss meals.
If you’re ordering a burger, order it ‘Protein Style’-wrapped in lettuce rather than a bun. Skip the fries and order a side salad with the dressing on the side. Dressings-avoid anything cream based; balsamic vinegar with or without olive oil works great.
Sometimes things aren’t listed on the menu but if you see chicken breasts, fish and vegetables on the menu then normally you can order it grilled or steamed and a side of steamed vegetables (ask for no butter or oil as often they’ll add these) or a side salad.
I love Mexican food and guacamole but I always ask if they have celery and/or carrot sticks wherever possible instead of chips. Remember, although avocados are a complete food and good fat, they are still high in fat and calories so go easy on the portion size.
If restaurants don’t offer organic produce I tend to order fish or vegetarian options rather than chicken or red meat. Or I’ll order a vegetarian dish and and get my protein from a protein shake instead.
It blows my mind how unhealthy salads can end up. Often by the time you’ve ordered no croutons, cheese, bacon, dressing, wontons, etc you’re left with nothing but lettuce! If I’m ordering salads I’ll normally order a Cobb salad with no bacon, cheese or dressing. That way I’m still getting plenty of protein (chicken, eggs), fat (avocado), and vegetables (lettuce, tomato) without the excess fat.
If you’re a pasta lover see if they offer wholegrain options and always go for the tomato based sauces rather than creamy ones. I’ll often order an extra side of grilled chicken to go with the pasta dish and only eat half of the pasta to make it a more balanced meal.
Leave the bread basket alone! The occasional small roll is ok but don’t tuck in at every lunch and dinner. Ask if they have olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the bread rather than using butter.
If you’ve already done your workout earlier in the day and there’s not much to do in the evenings besides hit up the hotel bar, try and stick to wines and leave heavy beers and cocktails alone. A 90-120 calorie champagne or wine is going to do a lot less to your waist line and sugar consumption than a 500 calorie, sugar laden margarita or long island iced tea. Or you could order a decaf coffee or herbal tea. Don’t be deceived into thinking that the low calorie cocktails with diet-sodas are any better for you; they are laden with artificial baddies. I’m not saying abstain, just be sensible; it’s all about finding a balance rather than complete abstinence. I’m a big believer in having your cake and eating it, just not every day and then getting your behind in the gym. You could also look for an evening yoga class to unwind and stretch out or watch Netflix or order a movie. There’s lots of options besides happy hours and dinners unless it’s an obligatory business dinner.
On the Go
I always pack snacks and food that don’t need refrigerating and is a go-to if I’m on the road and all that’s on offer is fast food restaurants which I won’t go near with a barge pole. These are my staples:
- Labrada Lean Body Gold protein bar, these are so delicious and a great dessert or sugar fix replacement (put them in your cooler if you are in the car so they don’t melt!)
- Living intentions ‘Superfood Cereal’ – a yummy raw, vegan cereal in several flavors.
- Raw, unsalted Cashews and Almonds.
- Unsalted or lightly salted rice cakes (pack on top so they don’t get crushed), you can also mix them into your protein shake and eat out of a bowl like cereal.
- For a treat: 100 cal bags of popcorn (a lot of hotel rooms have microwaves or ones you can use if you ask).
Wishing you happy, healthy traveling. Feel free to ask me questions regarding traveling healthy, I’ve been doing it for 16 years so have learnt a lot over the years!
About the Author
Eve Dawes is an accomplished fitness professional and NPC athlete with international experience as a dancer, model, host and personal trainer. You can visit Eve at any of her following: