Eating Healthy on the Road

airport food court

Believe it or not, there are healthy options at airports now.

I just came back from the BlogHer’12 conference in New York City and I had a great time.  I love being with my people!  While the sessions and fellow attendees were great, the food was a bit spotty, and since I’m on an essentially Paleo diet for the next 60 days, I was forced to forage for sustenance a few times.

Here are some ideas for how to stay healthy even if you’ve got a hectic travel schedule.

Bring Your Own Food

I had nuts and fruit on me at all times so I could snack on something if I got stuck at mealtime.  You can pick these up at a local market or bring them with you from home so you know exactly what you’re eating.  Instead of feeling desperate, this gives you options should you need them.

Talk to the Locals About Healthy Eats

A bartender referred me to a salad place two blocks from the hotel where I was and I had one of the best salads of my life!  If you’re going to be healthy, you have to choose to be healthy even when it’s hard, and if that means dashing a couple blocks out of your way to find healthy food, so be it.  You don’t want to start making the “well, just this time” excuse as it can turn into a slippery slope.  That said, if you’re truly stuck, you’re stuck. Deal with it as best you can and don’t eat dessert!

Consider Staying in an Apartment Instead of a Hotel

Whenever I can, I book rooms with a kitchen.  I’ll eat “at home” for breakfast, which saves a ton of money (often the extra amount you spend for an apartment-type situation) and I have a lot more control over my food.  It also allows me the luxury of eating out by choice, not necessity, and I can plan my schedule around whether I’ll be home or out for my meals.

Airport Food Has Generally Gotten Better

And thank goodness for this. Usually you’re not allowed unwrapped food past security (although I flew a bag of nuts to and from a yoga retreat in Colombia last year without any hassles).  Airports used to be a wasteland of options, ranging from Cinnabon to McDonald’s, but now even those companies have healthier options.  You can snag a salad or maybe some oatmeal without much difficulty these days. Things really have come a long way, so look for the options, don’t just settle.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

If you’re at a conference, ask the planners if there’s a healthy option that can be provided for you.  If you’re with a group of people, let them know about your healthy preferences.  I did that once and saw relief flood over the person I was with. They were also living lean and didn’t want to mess up their diet either, but they were afraid to seem rude by telling me about it.  (It’s not rude, by the way; you have the right to live healthfully!)  Even if everyone around you tucks into pasta while you munch on a salad, that’s fine. Being together is always the most important thing.  Most people won’t remember the meal, but they will remember the great time they had.

So how do you stay healthy when you travel?  What are some of the tricks you’ve developed over the years?  I’d love to have you share some of your strategies.

Cheers,

Lisa

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photo credit: David McKelvey

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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