Work Travel: Success with Meals on the Road

My job for the past 5 years has involved a large amount of travel, both flying and driving. I find that most salespeople and travelling professionals in general find the same weaknesses: airport food options and alcohol. For those that don’t drink, they usually happen to enjoy the dessert menu.

So, as a salesperson traveling 50-80%, what is it that makes my food choices “work”? I’m not going to say I’m an expert meal planner or bring my portion containers on the road because that’s just not the truth, I’m realistic. I have found the world of travel is finally at a point it is catching up with this trend and most of us can finally find SOMETHING. Now, whether or not we choose to still get that Sbarro’s pizza and Auntie Anne’s while running through Newark airport? That’s on you!

Here are some calorie/content safe items I feel are relatively available:

  1. Replace the chips with popcorn. If at all possible, a low salt and non-flavored variety. I find popcorn is a food that is great for satisfying the act of eating and is a great light snack. The calorie savings can be between 100-300 calories versus chips or snack mix varieties.
  2. Skip the soda for a bubble water. I’m a soda fiend. I have struggled with my addiction to the bubbly stuff for years and have only recently found that a La Croix or lime Perrier satisfy this carbonation itch. Thankfully, airport snack shops just recently added more Perrier selections and even Smart Water Sparkling. I can’t express how huge this is. I HATE water without bubbles so this has saved me gallons of soda purchases in only a few months.
  3. Opt for Shake packets and a Travel Blender/Cup for Breakfast. I could go through the healthy options at the Hampton Inn breakfast buffet which are pretty obvious. But seriously, the fact that it is a buffet makes extra snacking and bad choices far too easy. I would eliminate using it all together if you struggle already with food choices. I rely on my shake for a nutritional energy boost in the morning. Frankly, it also tastes better than plain oatmeal or a hard boiled egg. When you get a shake that comes in travel-friendly packet and have an easy to clean shaker packet- all you really need to add is water and some ice from the ice maker down the hall. Voila, Ready for the road!
  4. Dinner Hacks. Facing the fact that you are on the road, you know dinner with customers, bosses and fun colleagues is where every food plan can go awry. I suggest this: avoid an appetizer, pick one alcoholic beverage to sip on (if you are having one at all) and make sure to get plain proteins (fish fillet, chicken breast, steak) and match it with a veggie versus a starch (eliminate the mashed potatoes, breads, fries and pastas). Always skip dessert and if you must indulge find someone that will share!
  5. Get home and get back on the wagon. No matter how good you are at choosing foods on the road, its rarely as good as home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients and limited processed foods. I would even recommend, after long trips or several weeks going back and forth to do a refresh. If you haven’t tried one, a 3-Day refresh is probably one of the easiest and best things to happen to me to get on track. Day 1 and 2 can be rough coming off sugar and carbs, however, by Day 3 you are actually craving the healthy foods and it makes for an easy transition towards an entirely healthier lifestyle.

 

I’m driving the point home now, I am by no means perfect and have failed miserably at consistently eating great. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 principle and find I have great results when I allow myself to have some delicious unapologetic meals on the road and not beat myself up. But this only works when you are eating well most of the time.

Please comment/ add-in any tips you’ve come up with on the road.

Advertisements

The Protein to Include in Every Diet: Shrimp

I know one thing I can always make for dinner and I’m happy, the husband is happy, and its easy to add to almost any dish- shrimp. Luckily, it’s also an amazing source of protein. In my clean eating groups on Facebook I try to highlight this for all the seafood lovers out there. A frozen bag will do but you can usually get a good deal on it at the grocery store if you look! One article I found on a cancer survivor’s meal guide that had these nifty facts:

  • Shrimp are an excellent source of selenium(essential trace mineral important for cognitive function, a healthy immune system and fertility for both men and women)
  • Shrimp are unusually low-fat, low-calorie protein
  • A four ounce serving of shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein (that’s 47.4% of the daily value for protein) for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat
  • Shrimp also are a very good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12

 

Nutrition aside, the variety of ways to cook and prepare shrimp are boundless (cue Bubba from Forest Gump recipe ideas!). Whether steamed shrimp and cocktail sauce is the perfect appetizer or you crave a decadent pasta dish – with healthy trade-offs and portion control you CAN eat that on a diet. I chose a few recipes to share that are both healthy and unique and I look forward to trying a few in the coming weeks so I welcome comments and suggestions as well!

 Shrimp Salad Stuffed Avocados

shrimp stuffed-avocadod

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • 2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. raw, de-veined shrimp (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 c. corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 1/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Basil, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Scoop out avocados, leaving a small border. Dice avocado and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add shrimp and cook until fully cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Let cool, then chop into bite-size pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, toss diced avocado with shrimp, tomatoes, corn, greek yogurt, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide salad among 4 avocado halves. Garnish with basil.

 

Shrimp Curry

shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 (2-inch-long) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
  • 1 to 2 fresh serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low fat)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb)
  • Accompaniment: cooked basmati rice
  • Garnish: lime wedge

Preparation

  1. Pulse onion and ginger in a food processor until finely chopped. Cook onion mixture with salt and sugar in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and chiles and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Stir in water, coconut milk, and lime juice and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. While sauce simmers, peel shrimp (devein if desired) and season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.
Garlicky Grilled Shrimp and Couscous
shrimp-2
Ingredients
Marinade
  • 1½ lbs. jumbo shrimp, cleaned + deveined, shells removed
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp. white wine
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
Garlic butter sauce
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ¼ c. white wine
Couscous salad
  • 1 c. dry whole wheat couscous
  • 2 ears of corn, cleaned
  • ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
Lemon vinaigrette
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ⅓ c. roughly chopped parsley
  • salt + pepper to taste
*Because the couscous salad needs a little time to chill, make sure to start that first before you grill the shrimp.
Preparation
  1. For the couscous salad, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove the corn and place onto a cutting board; do not discard the water. When cool enough to handle, shave the kernels off the cob.
  2. In a large bowl, add the dry couscous. Cover with 1 cup of the reserved hot cooking water. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 5 minutes. When ready, drizzle with olive oil and fluff with a fork to prevent sticking. Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  3. For the vinaigrette, add the lemon juice to a small bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. To finish the salad, add the cooled couscous, corn, and cucumbers to a bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette. Mix well to combine and chill before serving.
  5. For the marinade, place the shrimp, garlic, white wine and olive in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate for up to 15 minutes (any longer and the shrimp will get rubbery).
  6. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes on each size. Grill time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp. Transfer to a platter.
  7. To make the sauce, add the butter, white wine, and garlic to a small pan over low heat. When the butter is melted, and the garlic is fragrant remove from the heat.
  8. To serve, pour the garlic butter sauce over the grilled shrimp. Arrange the couscous salad on the side with extra lemon and olive oil, if desired.

Sources:

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g3235/healthy-shrimp-recipes/?slide=1

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shrimp-curry-231646

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/13/shrimp-recipes_n_1367998.html

Finding Zen: In my Hotel Room

I travel for work 50%-60%, this means around 100 hotel nights a year and I can tell you the ins and outs of different brands, different hotel beds, continental breakfasts, hotel proximity to malls and dining. I can honestly say a luxury hotel is really no different than a
Hampton Inn at this point too, it all just blends together and I often find myself confusing my hotel room numbers with a previous stay.

After several years of too many airport drinks, fast food and many varieties of nachos, I am constantly seeking ways to stay healthy on the road and with that I mean both physically and mentally. I miss my family, I miss home cooked meals and I really miss my own bed. This year, fitting in my workouts on the road has gotten easier for me since finding 20-30 minute workouts online are perfect for my constantly fluctuating schedule. IMG_1983What really helped was setting my priorities straight, since I lost my baby weight and made the goal to make 30 my healthiest and best birthday yet. Once I had a goal to focus on and I had made enough progress to see my results, pressing play got easier and I’ve actually found its now more of a habit and easier to keep it up.

As far as eating, convenience is key. I try to find healthy options to go (sushi, salad, vegetarian, etc). One great find is Snap Kitchen (www.snapkitchen.com) that I use when I’m in Texas; they have prepared meals ready to go in a fridge and offer options for every dietary need (vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy allergy, and so on) and the portions have been perfect. Taking food to go is a great time-saver and it keeps me from impulsively ordering appetizers and drinks that really stack-on the calories.

Most importantly, I like to find some quiet time to myself. I do have a 9 month old at home so a little quiet moment of zen and catching up on sleep is what makes me such a better, more patient and productive person when I get home to my family. Travel often like me? Definitely do yourself the favor of taking care of yourself!

The White Sofa: Mom’s Best Friend

So you read this title and think I’m crazy …right!? Everyone knows white and kids (or dogs or husbands) don’t go together, but I’m telling you it’s amazing. I thank Ikea for the best $850 I ever spent on furniture, the EKTORP. This baby is a knockoff of the $4500 Pottery Barn slip cover sofa seen in many magazine-worthy living rooms and I feel like I stole it.

Here’s mine, shown in the image above- my husky in the foreground lays on this thing more than I do, my 9 month old pukes on it, spills bottles and has spilled juice on it over and over. My husband and I, also guilty, are constantly eating here in front of the TV. Did I mention I’ve slept on this thing for almost a year straight between pregnancy discomfort where I had to sleep sitting up for months on end and then having a baby that doesn’t like to sleep unless rocked and cuddled every hour. So it should be worn out and beige if not dark brown by now

The secret, you ask? Removable slip covers! I was in awe, finding this off of another mom blog and thinking it was a good price and worth a try. I too, feared the hassle of removing the slipcovers and making time to wash them but after 2-3 times of getting the hang of it I can now remove them in 5 minutes, wash them in 2 loads of laundry (they don’t shrink and you can bleach them or sun bleach them) AND putting them back on I can knock out in 10-15 minutes. I’ve washed these every other month for a year and I took this picture last night.. feeling the love for Ikea right here. Happy mommy.

EKTORP IKEA Couch:  http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S89129151/#/S69129152

Make It Work: Working out on the Road

It’s 8pm on a Tuesday night and I’m alone in another Hampton Inn. This time I’m in Houston, Texas but I go all over the country for my full time job as a sales representative. Quite frankly, I love what I do but it’s an odd life. I’ve already spent 7 nights in 2 weeks away from home in hotels and rental cars and I quickly scan through my options as each day ends and dinner time approaches. It’s easy to go to a bar and grab a glass of wine or walk across the parking lot to the Jack In The Box for some deep fried tacos but these small decisions are what I’m fighting against.  I’m no longer a travelling bachelorette, I’m a travelling mom and a wife and I am looking at 30 in less than 2 months, I made a conscious decision only recently that I can’t let that define me when I’m on the road 50% of time because I’ve recently gotten a taste of what it feels like to be at least a little self-respecting and eat better since my pregnancy last year.

IMG_1436

I can’t tell you the excitement I have when I say I fought the urge to go out tonight and eat and drink until I couldn’t feel feelings- it’s the truth. I ate only half of my oversized ginger chicken at PF Changs and I found that my need to catch up with the last two weeks of Game of Thrones was a great excuse to get on the hotel Precor machine down in the fitness room. For the final 10 minutes of the show, while continuing to watch glued to my phone screen, I was too absorbed to feel the usual anxiety and angst I usually do as I did my crunches and planks. This is a marathon people, not a sprint. I realized that more than ever after facing a rough week recently and eating to my hearts’ content. I am focused and every little bit counts. I am excited to start my new workout program as soon as it comes in the mail (22 Min Hard Corp) but until then… every. little. bit. counts.

“Don’t beat yourself up”…I’m mumbling this to myself as I dream about the chocolate I engorged on only two days ago while on vacation…

Join my facebook like page for more =)

Email me for details on joining my challenge groups this month!

#momboss #travellingmamma #travelgym #fitfest #summeriscoming #makeworkwork