What are three things that rock stars, over-the-road truckers, hippies and presenters have in common? Give up? Breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of these folks have a tough time finding anything that resembles such simple categories when they are out on the open road.
You may love the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. You may have a thing for map reading and finding out-of-the-way treasures. You may have read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road when you were in college and never quite got over it. Whether you were born to be wild or acquired your wanderlust as a blessing or a curse, there is one challenge we all must face when we are out on that mad, mad road: finding a decent meal.
When you’ve been called upon to travel a presentation, you may be excited. Who doesn’t want a few days out of the office, and who doesn’t enjoy seeing new sights in a new scene? Heck, eating out for every meal sounds like a blast too, especially if you are a bit more than cooking-challenged at home. However, after a few days of eating on the road, you’ll realize just what kind of Devil’s bargain you’ve made.
Watch any episode of Behind the Music and you’ll find that the two biggest hurdles for a rock star aren’t drugs and fame, they’re clean socks and a descent meal. The fact is, most restaurants aren’t very healthy and gas station convenience stores are full of terrible temptations. However, healthy eating on the road is possible if you’re willing to apply some of the rules you – hopefully – already apply at home.
If you think about it, we usually eat badly when our planning breaks down. When there has been no time set aside for making a healthy dinner, we reach for the Hot Pockets. When we get up too late for oatmeal, we grab a candy bar and call it even, and when we don’t take the time to pack a lunch it’s easy to order a slice of pizza and a coke. It really isn’t impossible to eat healthy, but it does require forethought and planning. This same rule applies on the road.
Here are some tips for keeping your meals square while you are making your rounds.
As we all know – and tend to forget – this is the most important meal of the day, and breakfast is especially vital when you’re on the road. When you eat good breakfast, you’re taking care to make sure that you won’t get too hungry later in the day no matter what kind of curve balls traveling throws your way. Simply preparing a bagel and banana to take on the plane or getting up a little early to grab a bite at your hotel’s continental breakfast can go a long way to keep you eating well on the road. Also, if you’re traveling on a budget, breakfast always has the best calorie to dollar ratio. Don’t miss it!
Lunch can be tough on the road as it is the meal that you are most likely to grab on the go. Hopefully, you had a good breakfast and can resist the temptation to make a hasty decision. A big factor in getting a healthy lunch is simply making a wholesome choice. This can be tough even when we’re at home, but the stress of travel compromises your immune system and picking something healthy to eat for lunch is particularly important when we’re on the road. Be sure to read the whole menu and don’t be afraid to ask for special options.
Again, eating a healthy dinner is possible if you are able to resist all the bad choices you are presented. One problem with eating at restaurants is portion sizes and redundant servings like rolls and potatoes. Try to have one meat, one vegetable and one starch with your dinner. By not doubling up on food groups you can keep unnecessary calories at bay. If you have the option, consider staying at one of the new “suite” style hotels that feature small kitchens with your accommodations. Eating in on the road can be fun. It can also be affordable and healthy!
Remember, planning is the key to eating healthy on the go. Always bring plenty of nuts, fruit, granola bars, trail mix and bottled water to get you through the inevitable rough patches, and don’t skip breakfast!
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