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.

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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!