Eating healthy is easy, some smug soul will tell you without reading out loud the fine print.
Eating healthy is easy — when you’re at your own house, have no temptations in the fridge, have no plans to see friends and have all the time in the world to whip up a nutrient-packed home-cooked meal.
But when you aren’t in control of your own schedule, your access to food or even your meal times, eating well becomes exponentially more challenging. It’s hard when you’re staying overnight with family. It’s hard when you’re working late. It’s hard when you’re snowed in.
And it’s extra hard when you’re traveling for work, staying at a conference hotel, working 16 hour days and subsiding on vending machines, coffee carts, freebies and (ugh) press food.
That’s right, folks: I’ve just returned from an industry conference and oooh I have the too-tight work pants to prove it!
But even though my week in Detroit wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of health, I did find some small ways to undo the damage living out of a suitcase was doing my waist line. These are manageable tips you, too, may want to adopt before your next business trip. (But not your next vacation. Live a little!)
#1. Check out the whole buffet before filling your plate.
Work conferences are famous for their abundant but bland lunch offerings, in which attendees keep going back for more and more because nothing’s satisfying. To make better choices, instead of going straight down the line like the sucker in front of you, scan the heating trays first to decide what two or three items would go well together. Then fill your plate with the salad at the start, add some roasted chicken or grilled steak from the hot food bar, throw on some veggies, and you end up having a pretty decent lunch. And skip the conference room brownies — they’re never good.
#2. Stock up on produce wherever you can find it.
If you were smart and prepared, you may have packed some dried fruit or carrot sticks in your carry-on — but I wasn’t. And after spending the first 24 hours in Detroit without so much as seeing a vegetable, I knew I had to get serious. So for the rest of the trip, every time I was offered something green, I took it. Banana at breakfast? Check. Side salad at lunch? Check. Individually wrapped apple at checkout? Check. It wasn’t the super-food kale I was craving after several days of sugar rushes, but you take what you can get when you can’t shop for yourself.
#3. Squeeze in a workout however you can.
On long work days, it’s a constant struggle — sleep an extra 45 minutes or work up a sweat in the hotel gym? I did manage to make it to the elliptical once or twice, but the rest of the time, I had to get creative. I did squats in the hotel room while I checked my email. I took the stairs at least a handful of times. I skipped the airport shuttle and hightailed it gate to gate. Pro-tip: if you pack your oldest running shoes that were already slated for retirement, you can leave them behind in the hotel room and make more room for the swag you’re inevitably bringing home.
Don’t get me wrong — for as tough as work travel is, it’s fun to get out of the office for a few days.
But it’s even more fun to come back home again.
Especially when this face is waiting for you. ❤
How do you keep healthy-ish on the road?
2 thoughts on “On the Road Again”
It’s tough on the road, especially if you’re traveling in a group. I’m a little selfish with my time and refuse to go out every night to over eat and drink. I try to use Yelp to find healthy options. I also try to find a Whole Foods or Trader Joes if I can. As soon as I get home I eat as clean as possible to get back on track.
YES! The mandatory social drinking during work travel is especially hard. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to network, but you don’t want to drink all your calories either. I find ordering a seltzer water with lime after the first drink lets me stay out later by looking like I’m still imbibing while I’m really hydrating.