Eating healthy when on the road to attend a conference or event can be a challenge, but, with a little willpower, some prep work and by keeping unhealthy food choices at bay, you will find that you can maintain a healthy diet during your travels.
- Eat Local Foods. Eating local foods is the healthier, fresher, tastier, and oftentimes the less expensive option. Ask the concierge, use mobile apps like Urbanspoon, or visit www.eatwellguide.org, which offers a free online directory to find local restaurants, farmer’ markets, and grocery stores that offer fresh, locally grown food.
- Do your research. Look for local restaurants and grocery stores that are close to where you are staying. Stop at the local grocery store to pick up fruit, nuts, or other healthy snacks to avoid the vending machine. If your only choice for a snack is the vending machine, skip the candy and chips and look for nuts, sugarless gum or microwave popcorn. Being prepared will not only help you to eat fresher and healthier, but you will also make it more likely that you will stay on budget.
- Avoid the lure of a heavy salad. Be watchful of salads loaded with fries, cheese, fried meat and heavy dressings. Salad 101: Grilled meat; hold the cheese and the fries. Take control of the calories by asking for dressings to be, “on the side.” Avoid the creamy dressing to cut a significant amount of fat and empty calories. And remember to use only the recommended serving size for salad dressing, 2 Tablespoons!
- Beware of table snacks. Breads, chips and crackers are very tempting, but these alone can add hundreds of empty calories to your meal, so have them taken off of the table. If you feel you must eat right away, order a small side salad or a healthy appetizer, such as a shrimp cocktail, fruit or broth based cup of soup.
- Start the day off right. Eating a full, healthy breakfast will prepare your body for the day’s activities and also limit the temptation to snack throughout the day. At a restaurant, order an omelet filled with vegetables and a side of whole wheat toast, a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit, or a bran muffin. At a continental breakfast stick with whole grain cereals with low-fat milk, fresh fruits, yogurt or hard-boiled eggs. Avoid the sugary muffins, sweet-rolls, syrups and pre-sweetened cereals.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Even a little dehydration can reduce effectiveness. Mild to moderate levels of dehydration can result in headaches, sleepiness, physical weakness, and dizziness. So drink up! Water is the ideal choice, but tea, juice, and milk are also good options, and, of course, avoid soda, alcohol and sugary drinks. Another bonus is that drinking water is an excellent way to curb hunger until it is time for your next meal.