Business trips have plenty of perks — new travel destinations, expense-account meals and an excuse to get out of the office. But road trips have a common pitfall as well in terms of the poor food choices you may make — from indulgent client dinners and unhealthy airport fare to the temptation of room service. All can quickly derail your healthy lifestyle.
The good news is that it’s easier than you think to stay on track while you travel. If you’re actively trying to lose weight or managing a chronic condition like diabetes, be sure to work with your healthcare provider to create a plan that suits your needs. If you’re just trying to maintain your healthy habits while you’re on the go, here are some simple tips to keep you feeling great:
1. Look for real food at the airport.
Avoid packaged and processed snacks. Raw, unsalted nuts and fruits available from food vendors are not only portable but high in fiber, to keep you satisfied longer between meals.
2. Stay hydrated.
Airplane air can be dehydrating, so avoid alcohol and caffeine and drink plenty of water. Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.
3. Stick to your regular schedule.
Plan to eat meals when you know you’ll be hungry. If you must wait to eat with colleagues or clients, have healthy snacks on hand to keep your blood sugar stable so you’ll avoid overeating at mealtime.
Related: How Busy Entrepreneurs Can Use the 4 Hottest Diet Trends to Boost Their Energy
4. Pack your own food.
Airport meals and airplane snacks are often processed and packed with sodium. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, whole-grain crackers, raw veggies, Greek yogurt or string cheese in your carry-on.
5. Look for nutrition information.
Most chain restaurants are required to provide nutrition information for their meals and snacks onsite or online. Check out the counts for calories, fat and sodium before you order.
6. Pace yourself at happy hour.
Many work functions revolve around alcohol, but wine, beer and mixed drinks are all loaded with calories, and even a minor buzz can make it difficult to make healthy choices at dinner. Avoid alcohol, or keep it to a minimum and have a glass of water before having another alcoholic beverage.
7. Customize your meals.
Order deli sandwiches with whole-grain breads, and lean meats, like turkey. Skip the mayonnaise and opt instead for low-calorie mustard or avocado and plenty of extra veggies.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions.
Many restaurants and delis will let you substitute fruit or salad for fries and chips. Always ask.
9. Eat breakfast.
Skipping a morning meal can leave you starving for junk food later in the day. Skip the fried foods at the hotel’s breakfast buffet and opt for a balance of protein, carbs, and fats to keep you full. Hard-boiled eggs, whole-wheat toast, fruit and yogurt are all good options.
10. Choose healthy preparation methods.
Look for words on menus like “grilled,” “steamed,” “baked,” “roasted,” “poached” and “broiled.”
11. Order sauces and dressings “on the side.”
Ask your server to leave dressings and sauces on the side of your meal so you can control the portions.