Every year, thousands of us travel for business to attend conferences, presentations and meetings. Meals are often eaten in planes, hotels, and automobiles and may lead to weight gain, constipation, and over-consumption of junk food and caffeine. Here are a few suggestions that will help you make better eating choices on your next business trip and ensure that you're at the top of your game:
On a business trip, most of us have no other choice but to dine at restaurants and hotel dining rooms. Restaurants tend to use different ingredients, heavier sauces and fattier ingredients than we're accustomed to. This results in gas, bloating and fatigue to accompany your jet lag.
Practice the principles of good digestion and proper food combining. Eat slowly and chew foods carefully. When possible, avoid combining animal protein with starch (like meat and potatoes). This slows digestion and may cause you to feel sleepy.
Don't drink with your meals; in particular, avoid fluids with dinner. Fluids interfere with digestion by diluting gastric juices contributing to gas, fatigue and a sluggish metabolism.
Replace the side of starch with steamed vegetables. Thanks to the high-protein diet trend, restaurants are accustomed to customers ordering starch-free meals.
Just say "no" to bread. Ask your server to remove the breadbasket from the table or not bring it at all. If you must have bread with your meal, eat it plain (without butter), or request olive oil (a healthier fat) for dipping.
Order grilled, steamed, or poached rather than fried. Though we know a grilled chicken breast has less fat than fried, restaurants wouldn't offer it if people didn't order it.
If your hotel offers an all-you-can-eat Breakfast Buffet, start your day off right with some protein (like a vegetable omelet without the cheese). Some hotels will prepare fresh pressed fruit or vegetable juices. Avoid calorie-dense, high-fat continental breakfast regulars like croissants and muffins.
Find a supermarket near your hotel and purchase healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or a good granola cereal to snack on.
Until truck stops and roadside restaurants begin offering healthier options (wouldn't a juice bar be nice?), your best bet is to prepare your own meals and snacks.
Pack a cooler with raw vegetables, healthy dips, sandwiches, bean salads, and grain salads (like a couscous or quinoa salad). Healthy snacks like homemade muffins, yogurt, trail mix, fresh fruit, dry figs, dry roasted beans, and wasabi peas will keep you going, and will save both time and money.
Limit caffeine. You may think coffee keeps you awake, but it actually makes you more tired. Green tea, on the other hand, keeps you alert by stimulating your brain without interfering with your body's fatigue signals.
All airlines offer vegetarian and vegan options. These meals can range from white pasta or another refined carbohydrate to grilled vegetables and hummus. Some airlines, such as United, offer a variety of specialty meals:
Low-Fat or Low-Calorie (a sample meal may include chicken and rice with a sauce and some fruit).
Hindu (for example, basmati rice with vegetables and masala sauce)
Asian vegetarian (for example, vegetable curry with salad and fruit).
Keep your body limber with exercise. Stay at a hotel with a gym or pool (don't forget your bathing suit), or find a gym or yoga studio nearby. If that isn't an option, or if you're short on time, bring an exercise CD with you and work out in your hotel room.
KEY SUPPLEMENTS FOR TRAVELING
Digestive enzymes: Take 1-2 before eating to prevent gas and bloating and food poisoning.
Fiber: To prevent constipation a fiber supplement like ground flax, psyllium, Salba or inulin can be added to water.
Probiotics: For digestion, elimination and an immune booster. Store probiotics in your suitcase. The plane's cargo section is cool enough to protect your supplement.
Melatonin: To prevent jetlag and help you sleep while away. Take 30 minutes before bedtime.
(Lisa Tsakos is a regular contributor to www.NaturallySavvy.com, a Web site dedicated to educating people on the benefits of living a natural, organic and green lifestyle. For more information, visit www.NaturallySavvy.com..)
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