Do you travel for regularly work? I have been there. As a former management consultant, I would get on an airplane twice a week, every week. I knew the NYC terminals like the back of my hand. I was at JFK airport so often, the barista at Starbucks was convinced that I worked at the airport. I flew coast to coast regularly and changed time zones on a weekly basis.
I came into consulting as an experienced hire. I was very excited to start my new job, but knew it involved regular travel. A healthy lifestyle is something that I really value so I was concerned about being able to make healthy choices away from home. It definitely took some trial and error, but I learned a few hacks that helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling for work.
1. Pack Healthy Foods
If you fly regularly, you know that the airport doesn’t have the healthiest food options. The food options on the plane aren’t any better. So come prepared! Pack fruits, raw nuts, and even full meals (although make sure they meet the TSA liquids requirements). I like to pack fruit, nuts, or nut butter packets as snacks. For fruits, I’ve found that apples travel well and stay fresh in a bag. On the other hand, bananas tend to brown and bruise quickly and easily. Grapes are another option. I have even used frozen grapes as “ice packs” to keep other foods fresh – checkout my IG highlight, ‘Healthy Travel Tips’ at @wellbymel_ for more details. You can really pack any fruit, it just depends on your preference! For nuts, I like packing almonds, walnuts, or nut butters. Try packing a snack size to keep it to a snack portion. If you buy a full bag of nuts, it’s really easy to overeat them without realizing.
If I have a long flight, I sometimes pack a meal. I like stopping at Whole Foods or getting some sort of salad to go. Not everyone has time to make a special trip to grab a healthy meal prior to flying, but you don’t have to! In the days before you travel, you are likely going to go grocery shopping or going to get some kind of meal. So why not double up? Stop by the salad bar during your grocery run and make a salad for your flight. Add an extra salad to your Ubereats order and bring it with you on the plane. You will be so much happier and relaxed knowing that you have healthy, delicious food with you and don’t have to stress about finding a healthy meal. Try using frozen grapes or another frozen fruit as an “ice pack” and an insulated bag to keep your packed meal cool.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Flying is very dehydrating, so make sure you not only hydrate on the flight, but before your flight as well. I like to bring my reusable, Swell bottle with me everywhere that way I don’t have to purchase bottles of water. Fill it up before you board you’ll be all set for your flight.
3. Research Healthy Restaurants
Before traveling to a new location, do your homework. I spend an hour a couple of days before traveling researching healthy restaurants in the area. I also check for grocery store options. That way when I arrive, I know exactly where to plug into Google maps and can avoid the stress of worrying about where to get a healthy meal. I do the same thing with exercise. I personally like taking pilates classes, so I research local studios beforehand. If they are on classpass, even better!
4. Exercise In The Morning
Work days can me unpredictable. If a workday is running longer than expected, you don’t want to stress about missing the evening workout class you had scheduled. Similarly, an unexpected team dinner or happy hour could come up. So you don’t stress about getting your daily exercise in, try exercising in the morning. Working out in the morning eliminates the stress of trying to squeeze a workout in later in the day.
5. Get Into A Routine
Often work travel can be an excuse to eat out, have an extra glass of wine, and take a week off of exercising. But if you’re traveling regularly, that poses challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The most important thing I like to do when I travel is act like I’m at home. I go grocery shopping for the week or pickup multiple meals at a time from a local restaurant. That way I have a hotel mini fridge full of healthy foods and don’t have to make individual trips to get every meal (which could cause you to skip out on the gym!). Most hotels have mini fridges in their rooms and if not, most hotels will bring one to your room upon request. So take advantage of this and keep meals in your mini fridge so you can avoid the stress having to get every meal.
6. Eat Like You’re At Home
When I first started traveling for work, it may be tempting to tack on a dessert (or two) to your food order. While there is nothing wrong with eating dessert every once in awhile, it may pose challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle if you do this every night. Try to stick to eating the the way you would normally eat if you were at home.
Happy and safe traveling!