May 25, 2010

What to eat when traveling

Jet flying over the Guadalupe River Foot bridg...Image by donjd2 via Flickr
Some of the most difficult eating choices are when you are traveling.

I know. For nearly the past two years I have been on the road.

There's a lot of common sense approaches.

Here are eight tips when traveling from the Bellingham Herald. With a few comments from me.

1. Healthier Hotels
Check to see if the hotel provides online menus for room-service and in-house restaurants. Ask the concierge about restaurants near your hotel.

What...the Hampton Inn's concierge is nowhere to be found? Take a look at Eat This, Not That website. Restaurants have good choices. It's just hard to find them without a plan.

2. Keep On Moving
Ask about exercise facilities before you book. What equipment is available? When are the facilities open? Is there an extra charge? Make sure the exercise opportunities match your schedule and needs. If there's no gym or pool, bring a jump rope to exercise in your room or run or walk laps around the hotel. Don't forget workout clothes when you pack.

The most important advice here is pack workout clothes. Walk all the time. Park far from the office door. Walk the extra couple of blocks. You can also pretend you are retired, and walk the mall. If you have your clothes you'll workout.

3. Stay in the Swim
If the hotel has a pool, bring your suit for swimming or water aerobics to get a whole-body workouts.

I love my own pool. Those over-heated, over-chlorined, overly small pools are hardly designed for swimming. Unless you are Aqua-man, stick to more walking.

4. Eat Light In Flight
If meals are available on your flights, request a low-fat or vegetarian meal in advance. Kosher meals also tend to be healthier. It might be possible to bring your own healthier food, but make sure you'll have room in your carry-on bags and there won't be a problem with security.

When's the last time you had a meal on a flight? Anyway, I tried to remember to order the vegetarian meal. It's special. And even if you are not a vegetarian you'll enjoy it better than mystery meat and a candy bar.

5. Avoid the Cocktail Wiener Trap
Stay away from the appetizer table during cocktail hour. If you're trying to combine networking and meal time, fill a plate once with low-calorie apps and don't go back.

Eat as many shrimp cocktails as you want. Skip the sauce made with high fructose corn syrup. Skip the cocktail wiener. New study shows terrible stuff in those processed meats.

6. Power Snack
Snacking on power bars, energy drinks, bottled water, veggie sticks and fruit reduces hunger cravings so you don't overdo at dinner or during happy hour.

Skip power bars filled with calories. Instead I always carry almonds. There's lots of flavors, they are salty and satisfying. I also love veggies and humus. (Tough to find on the road, but it is possible.)

7. Just Say No
Exchange high-calorie alcohol for water or seltzer with a twist. It's healthier and better for your career. Plus, water keeps you hydrated and helps speed-up jet-lag recover. Avoiding alcohol will also leave you more energy for exercising.

I love club soda. But I also like a bloody mary, and gin and tonic once in while. Make sure the bloody mary is made with spicy V8. Anything else has a ton of sugar and no one over 25 years old wants sugar in their bloody mary. Gin and diet tonic has very few calories.

8. Half Portion Meals
Order off the senior or kiddie menu to reduce your portion. If that's not possible, ask about a half portion or the possibility of sharing a dish. If you're stuck at a banquet, slide half your portion onto the bread or salad plate and eat only the food on your dinner plate. Ask the waiter to remove the smaller plate to avoid temptation.

The best advice. Eat half now. Save rest for later.
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