How to Eat Healthy While Traveling for Work

Traveling can lead to bad habits. See our guide on how to eat healthy while traveling for work.

Between plane food, happy hour work meetings, and the breakfast donut spread, staying on a healthy diet while you travel for work can seem impossible.

If you’re trying to master how to eat healthy while traveling for work, we had you covered. From mindless snacking to meal-prepping, we’ll share our tricks on how to find the perfect work-food-travel balance. Once you get the hang of healthy eating while traveling, you’ll feel fueled up and ready for whatever work is ahead.

Avoid Mindless Snacking

Staying healthy while traveling for work means avoiding mindless snacking. When we’re on-the-go, it’s easy to grab a bag of chips or a candy bar from the lobby gift-shop. Instead of going this route, make a point of searching for wholesome snacks. Almonds and nuts are a great option and tend to come in individually portioned bags. If you’re going to snack on a bar, make sure to check the nutrition facts, as lots of them are chock-full of sugar. Plain yogurt and some fresh fruit or pita chips and hummus are good options, too.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep and healthy eating go hand-in-hand. Ever realize that when you’re tired, you’re more likely to go for the cheeseburger at lunchtime as opposed to the white fish with steamed veggies? That’s because a lack of sleep is linked to overeating, particularly in the area of junk food. The two hormones that regular your hunger — ghrelin and leptin—are directly affected by how much sleep you get. Gherlin stimulates your appetite, while leptin decreases your appetite. Those of us who feel sleep-deprived during a day of travel, will see a spike in our ghrelin, a fall in our leptin, and an increase in our hunger. If you find that you have trouble sleeping in a new bed or a new place, create a traveling sleep routine that works for you. Draw the bubble bath, put on your favorite pajamas, then cozy up into bed with a good book. Quality shut-eye is crucial when you’re traveling, as it helps you be in control of what and how much you’re eating.

Drink Water

When you’re on the go, hydration is key. Not only does water deliver oxygen to your body and boost your skin health, but it helps you steer clear of sugary drinks and sodas. As part of your business trip packing list, bring along a reusable water bottle. Lots of hotels have filtered water in the lobby where you can refill it and ensure you’re properly hydrated throughout the trip. If you’re staying in an extended stay apartment, make sure to prep some fun water infusions every morning. You’ll look forward to sipping on your water once it’s flavored with fresh lemon slices, cucumber, or anything else your heart desires.

Pack Your Own Meals

When you’re eating healthy while traveling for business, one of the best things you can do is pack your own meals. If it looks like you’ll have a busy week ahead, meal prep some nutritious lunches on Sunday evening. Think of veggies, protein, and a hearty whole grain. Salmon with a side of broccoli and brown rice — grilled chicken with sweet potatoes and kale salad — tuna over a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes and a piece of seeded bread. The idea with meal prepping is to have fun with it, get creative, and think outside of the box. When you plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to reach for that 12 pm slice of pizza or fast food offering. Filling your body with nutritious ingredients will ensure you’re on your game for your afternoon meeting.

Beware of Sugar

Sugar seems to be the hidden culprit lurking behind all corners when you’re traveling. You don’t have to eliminate all sugar — that afternoon cookie with a mug of hot tea can be one of great joys of a business trip — but just be aware of it. If you go out to a restaurant for cocktails with your colleagues, for example, you might want to forego that sugary piña colada and opt for a glass of red wine instead. If your early morning starts with a cup of coffee, stay away from the refined white sugar and enjoy the flavor of a dash of whole milk or cream, instead. If you must, add in a drizzle of raw honey or some pure maple sugar. Knowing how to eat healthy while traveling for work has a lot to do with being present and mindful. The good news about being aware of sugar is that you won’t experience a midday sugar crash. Too much sugar can lead to brain fog and fatigue. Kick it goodbye, and you’ll notice you have an extra skip in your step throughout the day.

Order Wisely

Many business trips require eating out at restaurants. If you’re going to eat out, it’s important to order wisely and know the healthy option. Choose meals that have a good source of protein and are served with a side of greens. If you order a salad, request dressing on the side or make it simple by asking for olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh lemon juice. Be careful with heavy appetizers, as they can make you full and keep you from filling up on the good stuff. If dessert is a must-have, we get it, but opt for splitting the chocolate cake with a few of your work pals, it’s the healthy choice. Sometimes a bit will do the trick, without overwhelming your body at the end of the meal.

Request an In-Room Fridge

When you’re staying at a hotel, as opposed to an apartment rental, call the lobby and request an in-room fridge. Many of us get wrapped up in taking all the mini-bar essentials out to try to fit in our prepped meals and healthy snacks — which doesn’t work out so well in the end. Even if it seems like a silly request at first, requesting an in-room mini-fridge is no big deal. It alleviates the stress that comes along with bringing your own meals and keeps things organized and orderly.

Find Your Balance

Figuring out how to eat healthy while traveling for work is all about balance. One of the great indulgences of life is to enjoy a rich pasta meal, cheesecake for dessert, and an extra glass of champagne on occasion. But if you travel frequently, you have to find the balance that works for you. Choose to go out on nights when you don’t have to rise and shine so early the following day. This way, if you overdo it, you can go for a brisk walk in the morning to breathe in the fresh air and work off some of that late-night gelato. If you want to have a croissant with butter in the morning, that’s fine, just make sure to have a leafy green salad with some sliced chicken for lunch — instead of reaching for something easy like a sugary bar. Go out at night and order your entree of choice, just ease up on the fried appetizers. Jobs that allow you to travel are wonderfully invigorating — and a perk of the job is experiencing new places and eating new food. Find your balance of healthy eating habits and relaxation — the rest will fall into place.

Tips for Plane Food

Depending on what airline you fly, plane food can range from pretty good to not so good. Luckily, there are some tips for flying that you can implement on your quest for staying healthy while traveling for work. Plane travel is a great time to bring along your healthy snacks. If you have some homemade trail mix, dried fruit or protein balls on hand, you’re less likely to go for the chocolate bars and potato chips the flight attendants offer. Try to skip the salty foods, as they can lead to dehydration and supreme puffiness. Make sure you drink enough water both before, during, and after the flight. Bring some of your favorite tea bags to give you an herbal boost instead of going for the airline coffee and powdered half and half. Have some good protein bars on hand or bring along your pre-made lunch. If you do eat the airline food, skip the bread (unless it looks promising), go for the side salad and lean protein, and forego the dessert. When you land, you’ll feel happy and ready to take on your meeting or assignment. If you’re not flying, you can also figure out how to be productive while driving and eating by following the same food rules — healthy snacking, pre-made wholesome meals, and lots of water for hydration.

Take Vitamins

Trying to work while traveling and eat a nutrient- dense, balanced diet at the same time can be tough. It’s not always possible to get in all the vitamins and minerals that you would at home. That’s why we suggest bringing along some good multi-vitamins. If your digestion and body are telling you that you aren’t getting the adequate nutrition needed, pop your vitamin before bedtime.

Whether you’re meal prepping, creating an optimum sleep routine, or infusing your water with something tasty, we hope this list has inspired you for eating healthy while traveling for business.

From all of us at Zeus, thanks for reading! It’s important to refresh after a day of traveling and there is no better place to do so in one of our fully furnished homes. See our long-term and short-term rentals to find the right fit for your travel accommodations. Happy travels.