Whether travelling for work or pleasure, it’s difficult to food optimise when you have little control over your diet.
I’m away this week on a business trip to the USA. The flying each way takes up two whole days, and the rest of the time I’m staying in a hotel and either eating out at restaurants or in the office. And I know already that my diet is going to be terrible.
Up up and away
Plane travel is tough. You’re tired, you’re uncomfortable, you’re bored, you’re often dehydrated, and the options for food and drink are often limited. So how is anyone meant to food optimise in these conditions?
The meal options at an airport are restricted, and other conditions such as feeling tired or being limited for time mean that it’s hard to find healthy options. Most of the food outlet menus offer the same options – most of which is deep fried. And the options on-board the plane are even worse.
The only real way to stay on-plan is to bring your own food with you, which is a pain. Packing a bunch of healthy snacks in your hand luggage will stave off the temptation to buy meals in the airport or on the plane. Although doing so may require a super-human degree of pre-planning. Particularly as on the return leg of your travels you may not have access to the same sources of healthy food as you do at home.
I’ve talked before about some possible coping strategies for eating out, and some of those might come in handy when eating at your hotel or restaurant.
The biggest problem, however, that I’ve found is in the catered lunches provided in offices. Invariably they will involve sandwiches and wraps, crisps, pastries, and maybe some fruit if you are lucky. Faced with a platter of sandwiches there’s often little option but to tuck in. It’s not like you can bring your own lunch from home, because you’re staying away.
You also may not have the time, inclination or local area knowledge to hunt for lunch from a different – more healthy – source.
So what do you do? Well very little really. Just try to minimise the damage, and maybe ask colleagues if it’s possible to order in a salad for you rather than sandwiches.