If your job has you on the road a lot, you’ve probably struggled with the problem of maintaining a healthy diet. Airline and hotel food is, unfortunately, not often very good for those who want to keep off unwanted pounds. The servings tend to be too large, and much of what’s available is too high in fat and sugar.
It is possible, though, to travel a lot and still maintain a healthy diet – it just takes a little extra effort on your part.
My job requires me to be on the road approximately 15 – 20 days each month, often on long overseas trips. I’ve developed the following routines over the years that have helped me maintain my weight at a reasonable level, and avoid some of the more common maladies that afflict frequent business travelers.
1. Limit caloric intake. Restaurants, especially in the U.S., serve portions that are much too large. I make it a practice to order the smallest entrée on the menu when eating out, and then eating no more than 50-75 percent of what they serve. It’s also a good idea to avoid the bread. When I eat alone, I ask the waiter to remove the bread plate. In your hotel, leave the snacks in the mini-bar. They’re mostly sugar and fat, and can really throw your diet into a tailspin. On those long overseas flights, when it seems like their serving a meal every time you look up, I make it a practice to skip at least one meal, and drink water or fruit juice instead.
2. Go easy on the alcohol. Especially on long flights, it is important to avoid dehydration. Beer and sweet cocktails have more calories than you think.
3. Establish a regular schedule. Try to get your meals in sync with the local time zone as quickly as possible. At the end of a long flight, especially if you arrive late at night, avoid a heavy meal, and never eat a heavy meal less than three hours before bedtime, to avoid problems getting to sleep or developing acid reflux.
4. Drink lots of water. It’s easy to become dehydrated on a long flight, but it can also happen on the ground as you rush from meeting to meeting. Limit consumption of caffeine and sugar to avoid that middle of the day let down when their rush wears off, and to allow your body to relax at the end of a busy day.
If all this sounds simple, that’s because it really is. Getting into a healthy eating routine on business trips is a matter of applying the same common sense practices to your diet that you apply to your job.