Follow these tips from local nutritionist Julie Rhody, owner of Food for Balance and wellness and weight loss specialist at Denver’s Fit:30 gym, to keep from derailing all your hard work when you’re on the road.
The mistake: You skipped your last meal before heading to the airport, and now you’re hungry as a horse.
The solution: “If you didn’t have time to pack some snacks at home—packets of nuts from Costco or Trader Joe’s, Babybel cheeses or little hummus cups by Sabra, for example—then grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs at the airport. The fat in eggs will keep you from starving and maybe even keep you from indulging later in the day. Everybody’s afraid of the fat in nuts, but we need fat to function. Also, bring an empty water bottle that seals and won’t spill in your bag and fill it up at the airport. The more hydrated you are, the healthier, and you don’t want to be tempted to reach for sodas or flavored waters.”
The mistake: You succumb to the hotel’s high-carb breakfast buffet.
The solution: “Travelers tend to pick up whatever is easiest, like a bagel or muffin and a latte to go with it. But those choices are sugar bombs—it’s like having dessert for breakfast and it sets you up to overeat for the rest of the day. Instead, choose protein, and if there are no eggs or yogurt or other proteins, skip breakfast.”
The mistake: Lunch is a “celebration.”
The solution: “Normally when you eat out, it feels like a celebration, so you have a steak or a burger with fries. When you travel, you have to eat out, but that celebration mentality is still there. So you have to decide: Is this a celebration or just a meal? If it’s just a meal, particularly lunch, get a salad! Everyone needs more vegetables, and lunchtime should not be an indulgent time—unless you’re in Italy.”
The mistake: You’re having dinner with clients, and they’re going whole hog.
The solution: “First, avoid the bread basket, which is hard, especially if you go into dinner hungry. For an entrée, order the protein, whether it’s steak or a chicken breast, and get a vegetable on the side. That way, you’re still eating what everyone else is eating, but you’re cutting back on the extras—the bread, the chips before a Mexican meal ….”
The mistake: Everyone’s drinking at dinner—and you don’t want to look like a party pooper.
The solution: “Nobody wants to give up alcohol, so go ahead and drink but order red wine or something like a vodka and soda, which is actually hydrating, and the soda will counteract the alcohol’s effects. Avoid mixers like tonic water or fruit juices; they’re loaded with sugar. And limit yourself to one or two drinks.”
The mistake: You worry you’ll never get your diet on track after returning home.
The solution: “Think of your days away from home like a bank account and assume that if you are in debt when the trip is over, you’ll have extra work when you get back. Deposits would include getting enough sleep, eating vegetables, drinking water and exercising. Withdrawals would be drinking, staying up late, overeating and eating junk. Also, I’ve found that clients who come back from trips where they’ve indulged are excited to get back to exercising and eating well.”
ON THE ROAD
Stow a few of these five easy- to-pack fitness gadgets in your suitcase to make working out in your hotel room or hotel gym a breeze. No excuses!
Practice yoga without hauling around a cumbersome mat with Manduka’s “eKO Super- Lite” travel mat, which, at 2.2 pounds, folds to fit in your carry-on or purse. $42
Heading to the beach? Portable Kettlebell’s new “PKB Standard” can be filled with water or sand, making your kettlebell up to 18 to 30 pounds, respectively. $60
The Elite “Pro Freestyle” jump rope can be adjusted for length, can be used inside or outside and packs down to practically nothing. $10
Brazyn’s “The Morph” is a collapsible foam roller that’s super portable, easy to store and weighs just 1.6 pounds, but still works like a standard version. $68