Rules to Eat Well on The Road
HEALTH & WELLNESS
A business trip isn't a free pass to stop exercising and eating right. With these tips, it's easier than you think to keep your healthy habits going strong while traveling.
Travel regularly, and it's easy to live the life of a jet-set glutton and sloth. In fact, your exercise routine is probably the one thing you're always tempted to leave behind, especially since the travel life often means grab-anything airport meals, long hours in too-small seats, and late nights cozying up to the laptop in your hotel room. But no matter where you're flying or how long you're staying, you can wring a fitness plan out of any trip by following these simple guidelines.
AT THE AIRPORT
Don't arrive hungry. Keep your energy up and your frustration levels in check by opting out of the long lines at airport snack bars and restaurants. Start by making sure you have a decent meal even before you leave home. That way, you'll have a head start on a full stomach should departure schedules change and delay your flight.
Bring carry-on snacks. Pack small, lightweight snack-size foods to keep in your luggage and carry-on bags. Try miniature boxes of raisins, dry cereal, fruit cups, fig bars, crackers, and juice boxes. They'll keep for a long time, so you don't have to worry about spoilage. Bananas have lots of energy-boosting potassium, and fresh fruit in general contains water to help keep you hydrated.
Try smart terminal treats. If you have to duck into airport eateries, limit the nutritional damage by resisting such high-fat, heavy foods as hot dogs, burgers, and nachos. Instead, assuage the road warrior stomach by going for bagels, soft pretzels with mustard, or bowls of fruit. Even airport newsstands often carry dried fruit snacks and granola bars.
ON THE PLANE
Stay alert for healthy choices. Once you're on board, pick and choose judiciously when the food cart rolls by. Bored as you might be with the in-flight magazine and movie, resist the temptation to grab for the salted peanuts, soda, or booze. Remember that the air in the plane is extremely dry, so don't mistake thirst for hunger. Drink plenty of water during the flight.
Also look to fresh fruit and canned juices. Both will keep you well hydrated throughout the flight and full without making your stomach feel bloated or upset. Avoid cantaloupe, watermelon, and other gas-producing foods; you can develop a painful gas bubble in your intestinal tract from the changes in altitude.
Order up healthy fare. For your full in-flight meal, it might seem tempting to ask for the steak and vegetables swimming in butter and gravy. But prepared, heat-and-eat airline food can be high in fat and sodium. Outfox the food cart by calling ahead and requesting a low-fat, low-sodium, or low-cholesterol meal; many airlines now accommodate such special orders. Forgot to call in advance? Ask the flight attendant anyway. Airlines typically keep a few special meals on hand and will give them to the first people who ask.
IN THE HOTEL
Check the amenities. Once you've run the air-travel gauntlet and made it to the hotel, it's time to scope out the facilities and find out how your home-away-from-home can help you stay in shape. Many major hotel chains offer amenities such as exercise rooms, pools, and low-fat fare on the room service menu. And if you or your company is paying for the lodging, you might as well enjoy everything the hotel has to offer.
Pack the essentials. Remember to pack both a swimsuit and workout clothes for your hotel stay. Just 15 minutes on a stair climber can give you a good workout. And a few laps in the pool can be the perfect way to relax before you hit the sack. If your auditor decided that this is the trip when everyone should stay at the cheapest hotel in town, improvise an exercise routine by doing sit-ups and push-ups on the floor of your room. Go for a run-or a brisk walk-around the hotel complex, and if the hotel has stairs, use them by walking up and down. Bring along a jump rope; in 10 minutes, you can skip about 800 times, burning some 130 calories in the process.
Don't eat in your room. Finally, resist the urge to raid that honor bar in the room when it comes time to eat. Most everything you'll find in there is full of fat, sugar, or salt and will sap your energy rather than boost it in the long run. Instead, seek out the hotel restaurant or walk to one nearby. Just getting out of your room will give you some exercise, and you'll tend to eat less in public than you might if you're squirreled away in your room. Besides, you might make some new friends in a city you've never visited before. And even on a business trip, isn't that what travel is really all about?
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