By Kendra Bylsma
Whether your job takes you across the country or your kids take you across town with extracurricular activities, we all must eat. With school sports starting back up for our kids and getting back from two weeks of vacation travel, I know first hand how hard it can be, even as a health professional. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet on the road is one of the biggest challenges faced by those who spend considerable time traveling.
The “road warrior” lifestyle is one that can create major health issues over time. In a recent study done by Harvard University, researchers found a strong correlation between the frequency of business travel and various health risks, especially those who traveled more than 14 days a month. From higher BMIs, increased depression and lack of physical activity, traveling creates real barriers when it comes to sustaining healthy habits on the road. One of the biggest challenges is eating out. Choosing healthy foods in an airport, drive through or five-star dining can feel impossible. But… still possible, with a few key strategies in place:
- Power up with protein. Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast that will keep you from being hungry and making less-than-desirable choices later in the day. Whether that means making breakfast at home before hitting the road or enjoying a hotel breakfast buffet, be sure to make healthy, hunger-fighting protein the focus. I love to make an egg sandwich to go or sit down with a scrambled egg veggie hash. Other options could include a greek yogurt with granola or whole grain toast with peanut butter.
- Pack snacks. Snacks have actually come a long way. You can ditch the bag of salty chips for healthy, delicious and filling snacks that aren’t loaded with empty calories. Plan ahead and pack nuts, granola bars, fresh fruit, low-fat cheese sticks or veggie and hummus packs. You may pay a little extra for things to be “pre-packaged” but it’s worth it if it keeps you on track and cuts down on prep time. I love the individual hummus containers for my kids’ lunches or my afternoon driving/ Plus, I love Larabars, pre-cut fruit cups, apples with sharp cheddar cheese slice or walnuts and dried cherries in a baggie!
- Don’t fear fast food. Fast food or fast casual restaurants are inevitable in life. At Allegro, we don’t believe you can eat clean and wholesome 100% of the time. It’s all about balance and a nutrition plan that you can live with long term. When faced with that as your only option, don’t fear the menu. Instead, break it down by entree/sandwich, side and drink and make the best choices in each category. Choose grilled over fried, salad over fries, water over soda, and steer clear of value meals that are only valuable to your pocket book but detrimental to your waistline!