Traveling for work often is hectic and operates outside of your routine, involves numerous time zones, and is missing any home-cooked, well-balanced meals. This could typically make living healthy on the road seem like mission impossible. In actual fact, it’s quite possible and not as difficult as you think, especially when you plan and are committed to healthy living.
Here are eight ways to take this healthy life with you on the road:
- Find the healthiest food choices at any stop: While it may seem like all places just off the highway or at the airport consist of fast food only. However, you just have to look more carefully and you are likely to find some healthy choices among the fat, sugar, and salt. Many of these restaurants now realize that they had to expand their menu with healthier options if they were going to win any new customers, so you can find salads and healthier sandwich options. Even if all there is a burger, then ask for it be wrapped in lettuce instead of a carb-laden bun and hold the French fries and chocolate shake. For breakfast, there are also now egg white sandwiches so try that but don’t go for the hashed browns. It’s just about making smart food choices.
- Avoid certain bad foods and drinks at all costs: There are many foods that make you feel physically bad after you eat or drink them but even worse when you consume them while traveling. These feel bad foods actually suck the energy out of you and can alter your mood. And, since you are most likely already tired from traveling, you don’t need these items, such as sugary drinks or snacks, fried foods, chemical-laden foods, partially hydrogenated items and alcohol.
- Shrink your portions but don’t skip meals: If you happen to be stuck with foods that are not the healthiest choices, just make sure to keep your portions small. It’s better than skipping meals because this only hurts your body and mind by depleting it of the energy it needs to perform. However, eating large portions can also make you feel sluggish. Traveling on planes, changing time zones, and experiencing additional stress that comes with being on the road can do a number on your digestion system, so having smaller portions means you will be less likely to feel bloated or have an upset stomach. You don’t want feeling ill to get in the way of getting your business needs accomplished.
- Stick to water: It’s easy to become dehydrated as much of the transport uses an artificial environment that further dries you out while many of the locations you travel too may also do the same. It’s important to stay hydrated so you are alert and energized. The only drink that can hydrate you is water. It will help flush your body of any toxins you may pick up while on the road plus make you feel fuller so you aren’t tempted by junk food. While you may want to sneak in a coffee or two along the way or a happy hour drink here and there, you should otherwise plan to stick to water as your drink of choice.
- Pack the snacks: If you are not sure when and where your meals might be because you have a packed schedule while traveling, be sure to bring some snacks with you to keep you satisfied, top up your energy levels, and help you avoid picking bad foods. Many items like trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit are allowed on planes while your road trip can mean the appearance of fresh fruit and vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. You’ll find that these offer a satisfying way to fill up without eating large meals or choosing candy bars or other unhealthy food items.
- Make time for exercise: While it may seem highly unlikely that you can get exercise in while on the road, you just need to know where to look. First, the obvious choice is your hotel, which most likely has some type of gym, many of which have 24-hour access to fit your schedule. While it may not be as fantastic as the one you use at home, it has basic cardio and weight training options to get in a good workout. If your hotel doesn’t have that, you can still go online and find plenty of exercise videos that you can use in your hotel room. Second, you can make the most of the city where you are at by finding nearby places to walk, including a park, walking trails, or even just up and around a few blocks near to the office or convention center where you are working. Even if it is just 15 or 20 minutes, you got some exercise in and you can always try the next day to squeeze in more. This has been the biggest impact in my life for becoming a better leader.
- Clock your sleep hours: You need as much sleep as possible to be alert and generate as much energy as possible to keep running on the road while keeping your immune system on high. A good night’s sleep also helps the body and mind cope with any stress related to traveling. Get sleep where you can even if that means making the most of a break between meetings to have a power nap. Learn to sleep anywhere by bringing an inflatable pillow for the plane. Plan your flights to optimize your sleep and minimize any disruption to your internal clock when traveling through time zones.
- Take your vitamins: You are more likely to get run down on the road because you are on a non-stop business trip to pack in as many meetings and events as you can. That sets you up for vulnerability as your immune system plummets from the high level of tiredness. You do not want to get sick while away from home and in the midst of trying to conduct a business trip. Instead, top up those vitamins and nutrients by bringing a multivitamin with you for each day you are away from home. If you forget them, your hotel may have a gift shop that sells them or there is a store nearby.
These suggestions may even sound like you already do at home to enjoy a healthy life. Each one is completely portable and easy to do while traveling. Eating healthy, exercising, getting good sleep, staying hydrated, and taking vitamins are all aimed at increasing your energy and immune system while helping you maintain your weight and minimizing excess baggage that you may otherwise bring home around.