Eating healthy while away on a business trip or family vacation can prove to be a challenge. Differences in regional culinary tastes and time zone changes can make it difficult to eat the foods to which you are accustomed, as well as, to eat at the time your body is ready. These factors can lead to “emergency” situations in which you opt for less than healthy choices just to be able to appease your hunger pains. However, with a little planning before hand, you can maintain a relatively healthy diet while away from home.
The following tips were presented by nutritionist and exercise physiologist, Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RD at the 57th Annual American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on June 2, 201o:
- If you will be traveling by plane, inquire with the airline if meals will be provided and what will be served. If it does not meet your nutrition goals, either pack your own meal in your carry on bag or eat a healthy meal before arriving at the airport.
- Make reservations at a hotel that offers a continental breakfast buffet. This amenity often includes healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, and oatmeal.
- Contact the hotel at which you will be staying to get a list of restaurants and grocery stores in the area so that you can plan meals in advance. If your hotel room will have a refrigerator and/or microwave you can prepare meals in your room, such as oatmeal for breakfast, “just add water” items, and low-sodium, low-fat soups/frozen entrees.
- When packing, include a few small, healthy snacks (e.g., breakfast bar/protein bar, nuts, dried fruit, 100 calorie packs, etc.,) that can be kept with you in the event of flight delays or other unexpected circumstances.
- If you will be staying away for an extended period of time, consider shipping your healthy favorites to your destination ahead of time, especially if you know there will be regional differences in brands of products offered.
Healthy Eating at Restaurants
- Ask the waiter or waitress how the menu item is prepared and ask for healthy substitutions if necessary
- Choose a salad and request the dressing on the side
- When ordering, ask for a smaller portion or a 1/2 size or order off of the appetizer menu for portion control
- Split or share a meal
- Opt for grilled, rather than fried, versions of poultry, meat, and/or fish dishes
- Include vegetables or fruit as a side to increase fiber intake (this is particularly important to prevent constipation that often occurs when traveling)
How to Prevent “Belly Bulge” while Traveling
- Keep indulgence to a minimum. Vacation time is not a license to eat poorly, stick to your regular diet.
- Eat a light breakfast and lunch and treat yourself at dinner (within reason)
- Have a ready supply of healthy snacks
- Increase fiber intake to satiate hunger
A business trip or family vacation doesn’t have to mean an end to your healthy eating habits. By developing a plan and preparing ahead of time, you can enjoy healthy, filling meals without worrying about health consequences.
How do you stay healthy while on a business trip or family vacation? Share with us, we want to know!