Business trips are notorious for being glutton-fests. Not just in my industry but across the board. Google ‘Business Travel Healthy Eating’ and you’ll find a whole slew of articles and blog posts offering tips to ‘keep on track’ while you travel.
I fall prey to these notions too – we have to eat out because we’re traveling (wrong), it’s a special occasion! Get the fries! (wrong), we have to order/drink a beer/wine/mixed drink at dinner (wrong). Eating and being healthy away from home can be done – it takes a bit more planning but it’s very possible.
Because I usually am a bit more lax about what I eat and drink when I travel and I’m going to be away from home for 10 days this trip, I committed to myself before I left that I was going to make smart and healthy choices as much as possible.
To start, I packed some snacks in my bag for the airport and the week.
Last time I traveled, I asked you guys for new travel snack ideas – you said: nuts, apples (Calee), dehydrated fruit, jerky (Rochelle, Lauren) and granola bars (Poptart Yogini). I took heed and this time brought:
- Fruit: bananas, apple, strawberries
- 6 bags of Celestial Seasonings Wellness tea (not a coffee fan!)
- 4 Kind bars
- Sliced almonds
- 2 brownies
Y’all were spot on with your recommendations! I ate a banana and the strawberries at the airport; the second banana held up well for 1 day (ate Sunday morning). Kind bars, apple and almonds have come in handy for a quick, healthy snack throughout the day.
When I got to Nashville on Saturday, our team had to hit up the grocery store for some other provisions and I took the opportunity to grab some yogurt and natural peanut butter cups.
I’m eating the yogurt for breakfast and supplementing with fruit from the hotel restaurant. The peanut butter cups have been excellent for mid-day snacks. (I love that it’s ‘all natural’ peanut butter too – only 4 ingredients!)
The real challenge for me when traveling for work is eating out. I’m really terrible at making ‘healthy’ choices when I’m out to eat. To me, eating out is a treat so I feel like I should treat myself. If I ate out only every once-in-a-while, that’d be an okay mentality to have. But eating out on business trips is a majority of my meals so I need to be more mindful about my food.
On Saturday night, we were busy with work stuff until 9:30 p.m. I was too tired to head out with the others and look for food so instead, I ordered room service (First time ever!). I REALLY wanted a cheeseburger but re-evaluated and ordered the Herb Grilled Chicken Sandwich.
For the same price as the burger, I got 2 large pieces of juicy chicken and french fries. A hotel burger is a hotel burger – I’ll save mine for a really great burger.
Sunday night was another dinner out – this time at a seafood/steak diner. Instead of french fries, I ordered a side of steamed broccoli and a salad for my sides.
Lunch at an Italian restaurant was veggie flatbread and a side salad.
Finally, so many business dinners and deals revolve around a drink – we take clients out for a drink, all of the conference functions hand out drink tickets, golfers were drinking beer on the course on Sunday morning. For conference attendees, these events are their one trip out of the office – a chance to cut loose. I get it and usually I participate – it’s expected. Not to get drunk but to entertain the clients.
I’m realizing it’s possible to pass on the alcohol without making anyone feel uncomfortable (why does it make people uncomfortable to have a beer with someone who isn’t also drinking?! I will never understand this). Full disclosure: I did have a beer on golf course when offered. A Fat Tire and it tasted heavenly on a hot, humid Tennessee morning. And this (non-alcoholic) Sangria flavored push pop.
I’m not writing this to tell anyone how they should eat when they travel – you do what works best for you!
But this trip I wanted to change my usual travel behavior to be smarter and healthier about what I’m eating. And I’m really proud of myself so far – I wanted fries with my shrimp the other night but passed on it for a salad. I wanted a pepperoni pizza for lunch yesterday but knew I needed some veggies instead. I’m choosing better-for-me foods and my body is feeling really great.
Tonight, the real challenge will start – I head to Cincinnati for a weekend of celebrating and wedding appointments! Between my sister’s college graduation, final tastings of wedding food and cakes (yum!) and a bridal shower for me!
I will make smart choices, I will make smart choices, I will make smart choices.