Let’s see, as a business traveler you take long trips, succumb to change in time zones, spend days at hotels and hours at rest stops, attend meetings, and the list can be endless while requiring you to be at your best. The stress of traveling, however, can cause anyone to make unhealthy choices in eating. You need the proper nutrients to help energize your mind and body and keep you going on your way. Here are 12 tips to get you where you need to be.
1. Establish reasons to eat healthy. Your motivation may be health related (heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, etc.). Therefore, maintaining your health will provide you with enough energy to project a positive appearance. Ultimately, business travel requires stamina and can be maintained with good eating choices.
2. Note this simple rule ,”What you put in is what you get out.” Fat, sugar and salt can make trips become problematic sometimes causing swelling, nausea, headaches and irritability. Avoid or limit the following: fat, in general, especially saturated fat. You can substitute with mono or poly saturated fats such as olive oil and canola oil. Nuts and avocados fall into the good fat category. In addition, avoid refined sugar (such as high fructose corn syrup), found in many lattes, sugary drinks and sodas. Substitute instead with tea and organic sweeteners such as sucanat, stevia and agave nectar or honey. Sugar alcohols such as mailto or splenda are sold in packets. Artificial sweeteners should be used in moderation. And watch out for food prepared with butter, cheese, fried, crispy, basted, hollandaise, rich, creamy type which are unforgiving. Avoid foods with high amounts of salt or msg, otherwise known as mono sodium glutamate – ask the restaurant if they could limit the use of this seasoning. Processed foods generally have high amounts of salt such as processed meats – hotdogs, salami, bologna, processed cheese. If you choose to have these please consume these at a minimum especially if you are prone to swelling and heart palpitations.
3. Free stuff – don’t overindulge. Just because you are on a business trip, it doesn’t give you the okay to overindulge on the free stuff. Eat only if you are hungry and keep within proper portions. Avoid appetizers and overindulging on oversized meals. Pass on the sweets and breads as much as possible.
4. Eat mostly vegetables, organic if possible. In ancient days, Daniel in the Bible was recorded to have such a healthy appearance and stamina compared to his meat and buffet eating counterparts that the King ordered all his top men to follow Daniel’s diet and all because he chose to eat mostly vegetables and multigrain’s. Remember to eat as much vegetables and greens with your meals. And you can have as much as you want and not feel bad at all. You can’t go wrong when these are the main course in all your meals. The nutrient benefits help to rev up your metabolism and add fiber to keep you heart, vascular and intestines healthy.
5. Choose health wise preparations. When choosing your meals look for stir fried, steamed, au jus (in it’s own juices), poached, raw, garden fresh, vegetables. For example, if you’re at a burger joint, order extra vegetables on your burger. Get a salad instead of fries. Try not to order anything deep fried, but if your craving these order the minimum and don’t finish it. Avoid sugary drinks and try some herbal ice tea or plain water instead. The more water you drink the better able your body is able to process your nutrients and keep you energize. Drinks with refined sugar will get you temporarily up and slump you down for a long period of time, not to mention it may even give you a bad headache-avoid these.
6. Follow set eating schedule. Before you embark to your destination, make it a priority to plan when you will eat. Depending on your flight schedule, try not to skip meals. If you do however, always have healthful snacks like trail mix and water along the way. Your body needs to refuel often so try to eat 6 small meals or at least every 4 to 6 hours or so to keep your energy level and metabolism going. Some people like to skip breakfast. If you do so, make sure you have a good snack like yogurt and fruit later in the morning. Just because a continental breakfast is offered doesn’t mean you can overindulge on the sweet stuff. Remember, to choose healthy and it will benefit you the rest of your trip.
7. Plan and prepare for healthy snacks and meals. Airlines nowadays have healthy menu options to choose from. If you plan on having long layovers or long drives bring some healthy snacks. Fruits with thick outer skins that are easy to carry and easy to eat such as oranges and tangelos are best. Trail mixes are great, but make sure to choose the ones with the least amount of sugar and fat. It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the nutrient label and ingredients listing on each package. Also consider packing vegetables such as celery, carrots and yogurt. Water is always your best bet so pack these ready to go bottles when possible.
8. Protein choices are not as complex as it seems. If you plan on eating any meat, your best choice would be white poultry meat like chicken and turkey, egg whites or organic farm raised fish. Going totally vegan can do wonders to your stamina and appearance – adding mushrooms, grains and legumes should help you get enough protein. If you intend to go vegan make sure you have enough vitamin B12 and other supplements to keep your energy level up. Although, you may be at a dinner meeting where all they are serving is steak and lobster – wow! Your best bet is to eat in proper portions. Steak should be no more than 8 ounces, just about the size of the palm of your hand. And take a few bites of lobster without the butter. Absolutely order extra portions of vegetables – make sure to eat these first to help you feel full before dessert.
9. Eat multigrain carbohydrates. Carbohydrates such as rice and pasta should be eaten in moderation, and preferably, brown rice and multi-grain. Avoid the white stuff. I like to use the three carb choice rule that diabetics use. One carb choice is equivalent to 15 grams of carbohydrates or one serving. Each meal should be allowed three carb choices. Snacks should include only one carb choice which can be equivalent to a medium apple, a small banana, or a couple ounces of trail mix. Sometimes, I try to avoid the rice and pasta just so I can make room for the dessert.
10. Dessert should be fresh. If you are gong to have dessert, keep up with the fresh stuff. Fresh fruits with deep colors of purple and reds are full of antioxidants – especially needed during stressful times. Mangoes, pineapples and papayas all have enzymes to help aid in digestion and overall health. If you can’t resist – a taste of pie or a piece of cake isn’t going to hurt too much – just take a few bites and don’t go for seconds. But make sure you fill up with the good stuff first to satisfy your sweet tooth.
11. Avoid alcohol consumption or consume in moderation. Note that an 8 ounce glass of wine is considered 3 carb choices which is equivalent to one meal. Be careful. Also, the by product of alcohol consumption is sugar which then turns into…you guessed it…fat. It can sabotage all your efforts in eating well and maintaining your weight. Consume in moderation or avoid it altogether. Although, wine has been raved to have its health benefits, moderation still holds the key. Fresh grapes are always a better substitute than alcohol laden wine drinks.
12. Avoid eating late at night. The time differences when traveling may take you off course. Just try to remember when you ate last and then catch up from there.
Plan to eat nutrition wise and incorporate with exercise as much as possible. Aerobic exercise and strength training is always a beneficial part of any healthy lifestyle. But for whatever reason, you may not be able to exercise regularly. Good news however, studies reveal that interval exercises lasting from 8 to 12 minutes at a time can be cumulative and just as effective as continuous exercise for 40 to 60 minutes. Make sure to finish off with relaxing stretches. Wherever you go on business be at your best by making good choices. So you will be well on your way to your next destination in good health. Here’s to getting where you need to be.