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Similar to the “Freshman 15” when you start college, many consultants will joke about the “Consulting 15” once you start traveling for work. The Freshman 15 is the idea that you gain 15 pounds your first year of college due to unhealthy eating habits; if you are not careful, the same will occur once you begin your full time job. Eating healthy while traveling for work isn’t easy, but the follow tips will make your diet a little less stressful.
1. Watch the snacks you are eating.
If you are traveling for work, you will probably have long hours and are bound to get hungry throughout the day. If you are trying to eat healthy while traveling for work, you will need to be cautious of the snacks that are available to you. If you can only find vending machines full of junk food, consider stopping by a grocery store in the evening to pick up healthier snacks. Opt for veggies or fruit rather than chips and cookies.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Especially if you are spending hours on a plane or in a car, you will want to ensure that you stay hydrated. Bring a reusable with you on your work trips, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking more water will also help maintain your hunger, and hopefully you do not snack as frequently.
3. Avoid dessert and alcohol every night.
While traveling for work, you will typically go out for a few team dinners. Your coworkers may order dessert and alcohol with every dinner, and at every night that may not be the healthiest for your stomach. Skip the dessert or share with a coworker. Only have one drink rather than a few. You may be tempted as the night goes on, but self control will be the key to eating healthy while traveling for work.
4. Use portion control with your meals.
Along the same lines, use portion control to eat healthy while traveling for work. You will be eating out at restaurants for your meals that may deliver some pretty large meals. Only eat until you are full, do not force yourself to overeat. At dinner, especially if you have appetizers, consider limiting yourself to 1/2 or 3/4 of the meal.
5. Consider healthier in-room options.
When your team chooses not to go out for dinner, the default option that comes to mind is typically room service. Room service will not always be the healthiest option available to you. If we are not eating as a team, many of my coworkers will pick up salads from a place such as Whole Foods to eat in the evening. Look at options with Uber Eats or local grocery stores, before immediately picking up the room phone.
6. Add vegetables to your meal.
It will be tough, but aim for the greener choices on the menu. To eat healthy while traveling for work, you may want to aim for having vegetables with every meal. Choose the healthier dish. If the dish you choose isn’t necessarily the healthiest, then order a side of veggies to share with the table. Your coworkers will appreciate it, too.
7. Don’t cave to peer pressure.
Team dinners are great networking opportunities, but if you have been working with your coworkers for a while, consider saying no to dinner and just eating in instead. If your coworkers are getting another round of drinks or ordering that chocolate cake, you don’t have to have any. Every now and then is fine, but feel free to say no if you are trying to eat healthy while traveling for work. Your team members might tease you, but they should give up pretty quickly.
8. Pack food from home.
While I am not a fan of cooking, I have seen coworkers bring food from home, even while traveling. My coworkers that meal prep are committed to it! Your liquids are limited, but you can bring food on the plane. Pack a lunch box, and consider bringing your own snacks or lunches for the week. The office you are traveling to will likely have a refrigerator that you can use.
9. Bring your own snacks and lunch onto the plane.
The meals on the plane are not the most nutritious, and if you are trying to stay healthy while traveling you may not want to snack on the pretzels and chips available. The healthiest option would be to pack snacks and lunch from home. However, even purchasing food in the airport ahead of time would be a better option. Look for salads or sandwiches that can stay at room temperature under your seat until you get hungry.
Eating Healthy While Traveling for Work
One of the biggest benefits about traveling for work is the fact that you do not have to pay for your expenses – meaning that you can try all sorts of food. While a splurge every now and then is fine, controlling the amount that you eat will be the most beneficial for eating healthy while traveling for work. The more you travel, the more you will get used to balancing your diet, and the easier eating healthy on the road will be.
What are your tips for eating healthy while traveling for work? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.