Healthy eating and traveling for work are not things that you’d assume go together. And for the most part you’d be right. From both my own experience and from hearing stories from countless others, the challenge of eating well while traveling on business is not an easy one to overcome. But unlike that mission that Tom Cruise went on back in the 90s, I wouldn't say the quest to eat healthy while on the road is “impossible”. You just need to lay down some ground rules to make it work for you.
I’m a firm believer in not going from zero to 100 mph when it comes to any type of dieting. Trust me. I’ve tried that strategy many a time, but ultimately when you do that type of approach, it becomes a bit much for creating sustainable long-term habits. Sure, a cleanse here and there and maybe a crash diet before a vacation involving the beach, but what we are talking about here is being able to continuously eat the right things on an ongoing basis.
Without further ado, here’s the top five rules for eating well while on the road.
Rule #1 – Know your goals
Think about what you really want to focus on when it comes to eating well on the road. Do you need to make sure you’re getting your fair share of leafy greens? Or is it that you want to cut down on your sugar intake so you literally don’t turn into a marshmallow? Whatever it is, just make sure to make the goals clear and manageable. Also, if your goals relate to weight loss, make sure to have a clear “pound plan” to track the LBs you’ll be dropping.
Rule #2 – Grocery shop ‘til you drop
Eating out at restaurants all the time makes it extremely difficult to make the right meal choices. It’s just not easy to continuously choose kale over crab cakes. One little hack that I’ve been able to come up with is to simply cut the temptation out all together by going to the grocery store at the beginning of the week and loading up on fruits, salads, and healthy snacks. Having these foods on hand will help you to make the right call instead of going out and ordering something high in cals.
Rule #3 – Practice the power of “no”
This rule is my least favorite, but it’s a necessary one. As a bolt on to rule #2, you may have to say “no” to going out with the team to dinner sometimes. Even though it’s great team bonding, dinners usually involve unspoken peer pressure to order appetizers, have a boozy treat, or maybe even indulge your sweet tooth. While this part of the rule book is not always doable (for example, you probably can’t just say “no” to a client dinner), there will be opportunities where you can gracefully bow out without offending the others on your team. Go grab a salad instead and put on some Netflix in the comfort of your hotel room!
Rule #4 – Have a backup plan
If you haven’t had been able to hit up the grocery store or weasel your way out of dinner, then make sure you go back to rule #1 and keep your goals in mind while you order. Your backup plan may involve a plan to make tradeoffs if necessary. If you want to share the appetizer with the rest of the team, then make sure you only order the steamed veggies for your side. Or if you’re ordering a glass of wine with your meal, consider only drinking half. Just be ready to have a backup plan in case you feel the urge to have a slight indulgence. Which brings us to the final rule…
Rule #5 – Treat yo self
Unless you’re training for a body building championship or auditioning to walk the runway for Paris fashion week, then don’t put yourself through torture 24/7 while you’re on the road. It’s ok to have something besides quinoa during the week assuming that you’ve made healthy choices during the majority of the time. Personally, if I eat healthy two days in a row and workout at least one of those days, I feel like rewarding myself with a bit of chocolate. I reason that it helps to keep the universe in balance, so really it’s almost like a public service. Make your diet work for you and remember not to take this whole thing too seriously.And that’s it! Five simple rules to make sure you’re eating right on the road. Good luck with your eating adventures and hit us back with any ideas on how you keep it healthy while traveling.