Eating Healthy On Vacation And Business Trips

Eating Healthy On Vacation and Business Trips
Eating Healthy On Vacation and Business Trips

Hitting the road? I’ve got some tips for eating healthy on vacation and business trips! It’s a piece of cake!
It’s time. The annual family vacation, seminar, corporate bonding session or meet-up with far away friends and family. Or maybe it’s just better than staying home. Whatever your reason for hitting the road, there’s no reason to break with your decision to eat wholesome foods!

Food For The Journey

Road Trip
Road Trio

Air Travel

Airport food is overpriced and never very good. It’s commonplace to spend $20+ on a bottle of water, a teeny-tiny bag of chips and a cold sandwich that was made who-knows-how-long-ago.

The good news? TSA allows a wide variety of food through the security checkpoint and onto the airplane. Meats, cheese, bread, crackers, nuts…basically anything that’s not a liquid or packed in liquid. One caveat: Some fresh fruits and vegetables are NOT allowed, depending on their point of origin.

As for that overpriced water? Bring an empty drinking container and fill it once you get past the checkpoint.

Road Tripping

Hit the supermarket the day before to pick up a variety of healthy food. Road trips can be long and it makes us want to eat out of sheer boredom. Keep this in mind when choosing food. Come up with unusual or fun choices and let everyone in the car have a say on what they’d like to eat while on the road. If feasible, allow for some more expensive foods that may not be in your house on a regular basis, such as roast beef or exotic cheese. Don’t forget snacks that are easy to eat in the car such as grapes or nuts!

Stop for meals and some leg stretching in a park, when possible, instead of a rest area, where the sights and smells from fast-food stands and convenience stores might tempt you to eat junk.

If you find that you have to stop for food, skip the convenience store. Instead, choose a grocery store where there is a wider variety of healthy options.

At Your Destination

Eating Healthy In Hotels
Eating Healthy In Hotels

So you’ve arrived at your destination, checked in and unpacked your bags. Now it’s time to make a meal plan! The first thing you’re going to want to do is hit the supermarket (yes, again) because the easiest way to keep healthy while away from home is to continue to make your own meals as much as possible.

I know what you’re thinking. How are you going to make a healthy meal in a hotel room?

I’m going to assume you have a refrigerator in your room. Depending on how long your stay is (and how big the refrigerator is), you may be able to get all your food in one trip and not have to worry about it again!

I’m going to also assume that you have a microwave in your room. This is good news because microwaves are for more than cooking frozen entrees! You can cook a fresh bowl of oatmeal in less than 2 minutes. Throw some uncooked pasta in a bowl of water and microwave it for 5-8 minutes. Quesadillas, baked potatoes, nachos, scrambled eggs and bacon, steamed veggies, ground beef, rice, and corn on the cob. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

Pick up frozen, fully cooked chicken breasts and a bag of salad greens to toss together with some oil and vinegar for a super-fast salad. Use the chicken that’s left to throw together some chicken salad.

How about a peanut butter and fresh strawberry sandwich?

Make some overnight oats before hitting the hay for a super quick breakfast the next morning. Mix up any remaining yogurt with some fresh fruit or berries for a refreshing snack. How about some guacamole boats or a hummus wrap?

Day Tripping

Day Tripping
Day Tripping

At some point, you’re going to want to (or have to) leave your room. You know, to go to the theme park, business meeting, seminar or whatever brought you to town.

If you’re out for the day, pack a lunch. If you drove from home, you may have brought a cooler for the road trip. If you flew, you can purchase (or maybe you thought to pack) a collapsible insulated bag. Seal some hotel ice in a Ziploc bag and throw it in with your food to keep things cool.

If you’re in a meeting or at an event that includes a buffet-style lunch (or dinner), there are usually healthy options to choose from. If you think this will not be the case, feel free to bring your own lunch because, hey, it’s a free country, man. *flashes peace sign* If someone calls you out, you can cite health issues, which is absolutely true…you’re healthy and you want to stay that way.

Always keep some healthy snacks and drinks close at hand for combating between-meal hunger (and that pastry bar they always have at meetings!). Think trail mix, fresh fruit, peanut butter crackers or popcorn, which you can pop up fresh in a paper bag using your hotel microwave. You’re welcome.

Create a custom healthy drink by popping a teabag and/or a few slices of lemon, cucumber or strawberry into your water bottle.

Eating Clean When Eating Out

Eating Clean While Eating Out
Eating Clean While Eating Out

It’s bound to happen. Maybe it’s a meeting, maybe you’ve been outvoted, maybe you just want to have someone else cook for a change. Whatever the reason, here you are at what always seems to be your downfall — dining out.

Let me assure you that eating in a restaurant doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

The first thing you need to do is fix your mindset. Remember that vacations and business trips are not about the food. They are about taking in the sights, forging tighter bonds with people you know and connecting with people you don’t. It’s about having new experiences and learning new things. It’s all about the journey.

But you still have to order dinner.

Look for “naked” proteins that aren’t covered in sauces or cheese. The same goes for a veggie or potato side. This might be, for example, steak, broccoli and a baked potato. If you don’t see anything that fits the bill, ask your server if the kitchen can prepare something for you.

The salad bar is another great option for your veggie side or even for your whole meal. Stick with fresh veggies, fruits, and healthy proteins such as eggs and nuts/seeds. Skip the (probably premade) salad dressings and ask your server to bring you oil and vinegar to top it off.

For a more in-depth discussion about eating healthy in restaurants, check out my article on the subject!

Falling Off The (Whole Foods) Wagon

Falling Off The Wagon
Falling Off The Wagon

You were fine. Just fine. You were eating well, staying strong and feeling great but the moment you passed through the entrance to the fair, the smell of fried dough hit you. You fell off the wagon and you fell hard. You proceeded to eat your way through the entire fair, reeling from one concession sideshow to the next until you had hit them all. Now you’re feeling guilty, tired, cranky, bloated and more than a little nauseated.

Guess what? It happens to the best of us. Put it in your rear view and climb right back on that wagon!

Here are a few tips to help you feel better fast:

  • Take a walk. A brisk walk will speed up your metabolism, which will help to empty your stomach and shed excess fluid. It’s also a mood booster, Win-win!
  • Drink some water. A steady intake of water will help you lose the bloat, especially if you add a few slices of lemon, lime or cucumber. Coffee and green or hibiscus tea are also natural diuretics.
  • Have a piece of candy. Sucking on peppermint or ginger candy will help alleviate the nausea associated with overeating.
  • Get some sleep. A good night’s rest will leave you feeling strong, confident, energized and ready to get back on track!

Whatever you do, don’t follow through with the promise you made to yourself that you’re “never going to eat again”. Skipping meals will only lead to extreme hunger and another binge.

What are your hacks to survive traveling? Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia
cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

 

 

How To Eat Healthy In Restaurants

A simple menu can feel like a minefield when you’re trying to eat healthily. I hope these tips on how to eat healthy in restaurants help!

How To Eat Healthy In Restaurants
How To Eat Healthy In Restaurants

We’ve talked quite a bit about shopping, cooking and food storage to maintain a healthy whole foods diet.

Sometimes, though, cooking at home just isn’t feasible.

Perhaps you’re away from home for a few days, attending a business lunch or going on a date. Maybe your day really IS absolutely crazy.

It could be that you just want someone else to do the cooking. What the heck, we all deserve to be pampered sometimes!

And then there’s the possibility that your dog snatched your lunch off the kitchen counter at the very moment you’re picking up your keys to leave for work. (What are the chances, you ask? I don’t have statistics—I just know that it happened to me. Bad dog!)

Whatever the reason, here you are…wondering how to eat healthy in a restaurant. You’ve worked so hard to clean up your act at home that it can feel like a step backward to give up control of your diet to a stranger.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to obtain the information you need to make good choices. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Seek The Truth. Or Maybe You Could Just Ask Your Server.

Just Ask Your Server.
Just Ask Your Server.
  • Ask that sauces be left off your dish unless the server can confirm that it’s made in-house from fresh, unprocessed ingredients.
  • Don’t be deceived by side dishes. Even something as seemingly straightforward as mashed potatoes can be loaded with preservatives if it’s brought in pre-made.
  • Let your server know what you’re trying to achieve and ask for his/her help. Ask what they have that is homemade or how a dish can be modified to accommodate you.

Bottom line? If your server can’t tell you (or can’t find out) what’s in it or if it’s made in-house, take a pass.

Be Alert! Be Aware! Proceed With Caution!

Proceed With Caution!
Proceed With Caution!

Entree Salads
“Entree” salads are often loaded with processed items such as marinated meats (soaked in bottled marinade), breaded chicken (often brought in frozen), processed crunchies (tortilla strips, croutons, etc.) and pre-made salad dressings.

If you really, really want one, ask for naked meat/seafood/poultry on top of fresh veggies with freshly mixed oil and vinegar.

Buffets
Buffets are full of cheap, processed foods. Take the time to walk around and look for things that are healthier options, such as meats at the carving station and fresh vegetables from the salad bar.

Large Chain Restaurants
Keep in mind that chain restaurants are supplied by the Mother Ship from a warehouse far, far away.

It’s imperative that their customers know they can get the very same meal whether they’re in Duluth or Dallas as this sameness is what their reputation is built on.

This, of course, means that very little is left to the discretion of the kitchen staff and there is a limit on how much (if at all) they can accommodate your desire to eat healthier options. That being said, some chains are making an effort to accommodate dietary restrictions and that can be helpful.

Fine, Smarty Pants. Where And What SHOULD I Eat?

Making Smart Choices
Making Smart Choices

I’m glad you asked! Locally owned restaurants and small chains will note (and sometimes shout from the rooftops) if they have homemade items on their menu.

Keep an eye out for these blatant, prideful boasters and flock to them whenever possible.

Take a look at the menu before you go to the restaurant so you know in advance what your options are and what substitutes you would like to make.

Even if the restaurant doesn’t have a website, they may have a menu on their Facebook page. There are also websites that post menus from restaurants so it’s worth taking a look. Simply Google “Toms’ Pub Menu” and it’s likely you’ll find something.

Do:

  • Ask if the veggies are prepared from fresh product.
  • Choose naked meats, poultry and seafood that are broiled or grilled.
  • Request freshly mixed oil and vinegar for your salad.
  • Ask if the soups are made in-house with simple, unprocessed ingredients.
  • Order eggs!
  • Lose the saucy second side and double up on salad or steamed veggies.

For Health. For Life. For You.

For Health. For Life. For You.
For Health. For Life. For You.

One last thing: Eating out is not about the stress of what you’re going to eat. It’s not meant to be a torture chamber or make you run the gauntlet of endless food choices. As a matter of fact, it’s not about the food at all.

Eating out is all about GOING out. It’s about hanging with your friends, meeting new friends, being social or doing business.

It’s about treating yourself, making your life easier and more interesting.

As a matter of fact, research shows that being social is every bit as important to your health as what you eat! So get out there and rub a few elbows.

Click here if you want to read more of thoughts on eating away from home.

Have I missed anything? Do you have tips or tricks that work for you? Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia
cyntha@cynthiaeats.com

 

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