Anyone who travels knows how easy it can be to let loose and give in to the temptation of food. With the wide variety available in airports and at the final destination, it’s too easy to opt for the unhealthy versus the lighter, cleaner fare.
For someone traveling for leisure, this isn’t so bad. It’s a vacation after all, right? While it might slow them down, in the end it’s no big deal to eat a few cheat meals provided they go back to a balanced diet afterwards.
But for business travelers, eating healthy is key to maintaining focus and productivity for the duration of a business trip. Doing so when surrounded by an abundance of tasty but unhealthy options, however, is another thing entirely.
Below are a few key tips to ensure you eat well on the road so that you’re ready to perform your best no matter what.
Before you even head to the airport, it’s important to keep water at the forefront of your mind because as we all know, it’s essential to stay hydrated on a day-to-day basis. This runs doubly so for business travelers.
To make sure you always have H20 at hand, carry a water bottle — preferably one with a filter — to always have safe, clean access to water no matter where you may be. And if possible, ask for a glass of water whenever you find yourself seated.
Forming these habits will go a long way to keeping you hydrated so that you can stay alert, aware, and ready for whatever your trip throws at you.
Pack Healthy Snacks
Believe it or not, there is a way to practically guarantee that none of the processed foods at the airport will even merit a glance:
Make sure you have something better.
By packing simple, nutritious snacks for the trip, you’ll never be far from good choices. Makes it easy, doesn’t it?
Try bringing along:
- Dark chocolate It reduces levels of cortisol and catecholamine, hormones that kick in during stress and fear.
- Whole grain granola bars They’re full of complex carbs that help produce serotonin. More serotonin means being better able to deal with the possible stresses of travel.
- Fruits, tuna, bananas, or chickpeas Each contains the sleep aiding vitamin B6 for better quality rest.
Keep It Moving
Now more than ever we are connected to not only to each other, but to ourselves too.
With fitness trainers like the FitBit available, there’s never been a better opportunity to know detailed information about just how much we’re moving. And while wearing one isn’t completely necessary, it just might be that extra bit of motivation walk 1,000 more steps and turn an unhealthy day into a healthy one.
Employ a Do-It-Yourself Mentality
If you haven’t noticed by yet, the key to healthy eating on a business trip is taking control of what and how you eat.
One good way to do so is making sure you book a room with a kitchenette and a fridge so you can make your food. With it, you have the freedom to whip up a meal filled with protein and vitamin-rich greens, or a simple addition to something else like baked potatoes, loaded with B6, potassium, and vitamin C, among many other vitamins and minerals.
When you’re finally at your hotel, don’t feel obligated to call room service. Besides being overpriced and generally unhealthy, your employer would much rather pay for healthier options. For this, grocery stores are your best friend on the road.
After you check in and find yourself settled, your first order of business should be to one nearby. There, stock up on:
- Protein bars
- High protein yogurt
- String cheese
By keeping a full complement of these foods and drinks right in your room, neither room service nor the mini-bar will tempt your stomach or your wallet. Not to mention you’ll be full of good energy necessary for meetings and business events.
Enjoy a Breakfast for Kings and Queens
Never leave for a meeting or a business event without a proper protein and vitamin-rich breakfast. By making sure of this, you’ll be prepared for what’s ahead and won’t be tempted to pick unhealthy choices later on.
Breakfast buffets, as divine as they are, make it easy to choose unhealthy options. Instead, stick with foods like oatmeal with nuts and fruits, yogurt, and boiled eggs. This combination of proteins, carbs, and fats is a good, high energy mix. And when you’re done, grab a few pieces of fruits as snacks for later — you won’t regret it!
Smart Dining Goes a Long Way
You obviously won’t be staying in your room the entire length of a business trip, so you have think smart while you’re out and about.
First, pace yourself during happy hour. Not only will it help you avoid bad decisions, it will help you avoid bad food decisions as well.
Second, watch your portion size at restaurants and don’t feel you absolutely must eat everything. Most restaurants serve very large portions, so make it a habit to split those portions. Not only does doing so save both calories and money, you’ll also have leftovers to enjoy the next day for lunch or as a snack!
Third, when you are in a restaurant, ask for substitutions. Instead of fries with that burger, ask for a salad instead. It’s a simple example, but that’s the point: the smallest changes have the biggest effects .
Getting Back to It
If you keep all these tips in mind, you shouldn’t have to change much of your diet when you return, making it easier to jump right back into work without any hesitation.