Traveling for work can be challenging with delayed flights, abnormal schedules, eating out and long hours. In order to keep sane with decent digestion, I try to plan ahead prioritizing nutrition, water, exercise, and sleep as much as possible. Maybe some of my tips and strategies will help when you have to travel for work or you may finish reading and think this woman is nuts 🙂
Choosing a hotel:
These are the top things I look for in a hotel – exercise room with weights, a refrigerator in the room, reviews on noise, and depending on my length of stay, proximity to a Whole Foods or decent grocery store.
Pro tip on hydration, always bring a water bottle to fill up. Aside from getting a workout in, a hotel exercise room always has cold water. I constantly fill up my water especially before bed and in the morning.
Planning meals for the plane:
Yes, the typical person purchases at the airport and buys on the airplane during long flights, but I especially like to start the trip feeling good. And, I don’t know what it is, but as soon as I get seated, I’m starving. Some food items I pack to eat in flight are hard boiled eggs, chopped veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers and snap peas, nuts, banana, orange or apple. I’m pretty sure that my seat mates aren’t thrilled with me on the eggs, but I need my protein. I also have hand sanitizer before I eat.
Planning meals for trip:
Knowing that I typically don’t plan the meals while traveling, I attempt to find out prior what restaurants will be on the itinerary. This way I can review the menu and come up with a plan before I arrive. This prevents me from temptations or letting the scheduler know if my options are limited. I typically eat dairy and gluten free, and I’m picky on my proteins. If it ends up a bar with fried foods covered in cheese, it’s a no go for me and I’ll eat prior and have a plan.
I have also let the server know that I have food allergies (a bit of a fib) and that I may be a difficult. I try to say this in a fun way and quietly, not to grab everyone’s attention on all the changes I am about to request. Because this is my go to, typically everyone at work wants to know what I ordered and how I completely changed the menu. Some common requests I have are of course dressing the side, no butter and oil to finish off a steak or fish, and steamed or very lightly sautéed vegetables. The amount of butter and oil restaurants cook with is tremendous and crushes my stomach leaving me feel achy and uncomfortable.
Food I pack in serving size snack bags:
Raw oats with cinnamon
Then if I know there will be times on my own for a meal or there’s a prepared meal I know won’t be decent, I try to find a grocery store to grab items. Typically on my list is berries for the oats with breakfast, a non-dairy milk, chopped vegetables, and a protein like hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, smoked salmon or cocktail shrimp. I add the flaxseed on the oats and/or berries, and it’s a good source of fiber and fat.
If a grocery store is out of reach, I will look for a starbucks. The hard boiled egg snack box works great for a quick fix.
Then finally sleep is key to overall survival and productivity while traveling. My rule is no more than 2 drinks and attempt to keep them as early as possible away from bedtime to fall asleep quickly. I also prioritize a workout in the morning before the day starts. Even if it’s only 30 minutes of cardio, the sweat does wonders for my day and energy.
I hope there’s one thing here that you can do differently next time you travel to improve your health on your next trip or even eating out. If you ever want assistance with meal planning or tweaking a workout based on hotel equipment, let me know and I’m happy to help!