Throughout my career, I have encountered many people (clients, friends, even myself) whose workplace is mainly in planes, hotels, coffee shops, and restaurants. The lifestyle of the work traveler is never consistent, and consistency is one of the things I preach the most. So the question is, how can I follow a consistent nutrition plan while travelling?. I decided to write to blog post to teach you how.

We will split this post in a few sections. For the purposes of this blog post, we will assume the traveler’s medium of transportation is by plane.

  • Suitcase Nutrition

  • Airport Nutrition

  • Airplane Nutrition

  • Destination Nutrition

    • Hotels

    • Restaurants

Suitcase Nutrition

 Refers to anything you can pack in a suitcase/carry-on, and you can go through security with.

Snack options (these are options I recommend in waits during the airport, while on the plane, or when you arrive to your destination, to carry around to meetings, conferences, etc.)

  • Protein Bars

  • Energy bars

  • Whole fruit

  • Nuts/Seeds

  • Whole-grain cereals

  • Protein Powders

Meal Options (if microwave available at destination) – Usually for breakfast or night time since you are gone most of the day

  • Tuna-packets

  • Whole-grain bread/bagels

  • To-go Brown Rice packets

  • Canned Chicken

  • Oatmeal Packets

EMPTY WATER BOTTLE – Extremely important

Airport Nutrition

Sometimes you need a nice hot meal in your wait times at the airport. Most airports will have many healthy options available but you always have to take the time to find them. Every time I travel, all major airports (no matter how big they are), will have at least a Subway, or a Starbucks in your terminal. There are healthy options there.

Airplane Nutrition

Whether it is a long flight with meal service included, or a short cruising flight with peanuts and a beverage, it is important to be aware of your choices, and whether or not you would be better off eating your carry-on snacks

My personal recommendation is that you stick to your snacks. Peanuts are usually salty. Salty foods promote thirst, and flying altitudes also increase water loss, so your chances of becoming dehydrated are higher. If you do not have a water bottle, chances are you will not be getting much hydration on your flight, besides the 8 oz clear plastic cups you get (Note: adding ice will get you about 2-4 oz of liquid)

When it comes down to meal services. It varies from airline to airline. I consider meal services in airplanes equal to getting a frozen meal from a super market store. They are filled with preservatives and they typically taste plastic, unless you fly in first class; some of these meals are pretty nice.

Destination Nutrition

Things to consider: length of your stay, appliances in the hotel, nearby restaurants, and/or fresh markets or grocery stores.

Hotels – This depends on the hotel, but most of them have a mini-fridge in the room, and some (not all) have a microwave. When you travel on business, you are hardly on your hotel room, so I reserve the use of those appliances for breakfast and around bedtime.

Breakfast of champions: 1 packet of Quaker Oatmeal, 1 quest bar cut in cubes (with your hands), 1 fruit option (Cut up apples for example) – all of these options can be brought in your suitcase.

Bedtime snack: 1 can of chicken + brown rice packet + 1 fruit of choice. If you are able to go to a local grocery store you could get an avocado!! I would have a Low-Fat Greek Yogurt as dessert.

Restaurants – follow these guideliens

  • Start with a salad to take the edge off your hunger/appetite

  • When bread if offered, avoid the butter or oil.

  • Avoid foods deep fried or cooked in rich creamy sauces

  • When available, choose smaller starter sizes of dishes

  • Go easy on salad dressings, vegetables tossed in butter, and accompaniments like sour cream, butter, and dipping sauces. Choose vinaigrettes and olive oil for dressings instead of the creamy options.

  • Stick to plain boiled rice in Chinese or Indian restaurants. If they have brown rice, ask for it.

  • Drink plenty of water to offset the high levels of salt in many dishes.

  • Only have a dessert if you have eaten lightly, or on special occasions, – substitute with coffee or tea, and you CAN eat the small chocolate that comes with it!

Apply these tips and your travelling schedule will not affect your progress!!

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Tags: Airport Nutrition travel nutrition Food