How to Eat Healthy Food on Business Trips
When you’re traveling for work, food choices are usually limited to convenience foods that you can quickly get from the airport vending machine or the corner store near the hotel. Even when you sit down to eat at restaurants and order a salad to stay healthy, it can come smothered in dressing and topped with breaded chicken chunks. Moreover, you’re traveling for work, not for leisure, so eating healthy is not always the first thing on your mind.
Eating home-cooked meals is the best way to nourish your body with fresh, nutrient-dense food. So what do you do when you’re in an unfamiliar city, rushing to get your presentation done before the meeting tomorrow? Here are some tips to help you maintain good eating habits while on a business trip:
1. Research restaurants in advance
Whether you’re planning to get Indian food delivery when you get to the hotel or take a client out to lunch, looking up restaurants in advance can help you find healthy menu options that fit with your diet and preferences. In doing so, you know exactly what you want to order and how much you have to spend on a particular meal (which is essential for business trip budgeting).
While waiting for your flight or during your downtime at the hotel, spend a few minutes looking up nearby restaurants to plan your meals accordingly.
2. Bring your own food
Packing food for your trip hits two birds with one stone. First, it can help you save money. Second, bringing your own food ensures that you have something to eat when there are no healthy food options available.
Whenever possible, bring fresh food in a cooler or an insulated bag. Examples of fresh food you can bring on a business trip include fruits, precooked meats, cold cuts, boiled eggs, vegetables. On the other hand, you can also bring nonperishable foods such as nuts, jerky, seeds, dried fruits, and light popcorn.
3. Always eat breakfast
As much as possible, eat breakfast before you leave for work. If you don’t have the time to go to the hotel buffet, a simple bowl of cereal or a few pieces of toast will do. Skipping breakfast will not only cause hunger pangs, but it can also increase your cravings throughout the day, so make sure you get something to eat before walking out the door.
4. Avoid snacking
During business trips, you often find yourself with nothing to do, such as when waiting for your flight, resting at the hotel, or commuting to your next destination. During moments like these, it can be tempting to munch on some chips or savor a chocolate bar to have something to do. However, you’re most likely not doing it because you’re hungry, which means you’re packing on the calories just because you’re bored.
Practice this habit: eat only when you are truly hungry. It’s okay to indulge yourself once in a while, but don’t make it a habit to eat when you’re bored. Even then, try to eat healthier snacks, such as fruits, nuts, or pretzels, that are not as rich in calories as chips and sweets.
5. Skip the salad bars
But aren’t I supposed to be eating healthy? Why should I avoid salad bars? Salad bars are not only potential havens for bacteria and food-borne illnesses, but they also contain foods that defeat the purpose of eating healthy. If you want to make a salad taste good, salad bars have an array of fat-rich dressings, cheese, croutons, pasta, and even bacon. With these choices, you might find yourself adding a tiny bit of cheese to your bowl and maybe even a scoop of bacon bits. The next thing you know, your salad packs a whopping 500 calories.
Pack your own salad instead. In this way, you can avoid the temptations of adding a million things to your salad, and also avoid potential food-borne illnesses.
6. Bring a reusable water bottle
And remember to refill it! Drink lots of water throughout the day instead of filling your body with coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas. It will help you avoid dehydration, leading to headaches, fatigue, and feelings of hunger when you’re not hungry.
Eating healthy while on the go is a challenge in and of itself. But when you have your own set of strategies in place, you can easily fall into a habit of eating right, even when you’re rushing to your next destination and stressing about meetings.