How many times have you heard someone say “I travel too much to eat healthy”, “I’m always on the go”, “I don’t get to choose what I eat”?

Try this for on-the-go: I stay in a hotel an average of 120 nights a year. That’s a lot of time spent on the road and navigating through all of the unhealthy choices. If I can do it, so can you. Here are my top do’s and don’ts when away from home.

1. Do Plan ahead. Know where you are going and what is there. This is dependent on how long you will be there and what your work hours are like, I understand that. Personally, I am not a super pleasant person if I can’t get a workout in. I always look-up the hotel gym, if it looks like it was last remodeled in 1989, then I check out the running trails around the hotel or gmap pedometer. This means getting up an hour before everyone else, but I know that I will be more alert and less cranky if I break a sweat. On the upside, its such a great way to see a new area.

2. Do bring snacks. You know what though, this doesn’t have to be a granola or power bar. You could just as easily bring small zip-lock bags with an ounce of nuts, some seeds, and dried fruit. If you don’t even feel like doing that though – many companies now make a ~200 calorie back of high energy nuts/seeds/fruits. I love the one pictured from Trader Joe’s.

trader joies handful

Or if you like the idea of customization for a packet but are short on time check out  You Bar. Its AMAZING, as you pick the ingredients the nutrition label per packet gets filled out. Here’s mine:

nutrition label for you bars

You’ll pay about$2 per pack. I don’t have anything against granola bars or power bars, but I prefer homemade packets. I also carry fruit in computer bag – very easy to take from a hotel in the morning.

The key point – if you don’t bring snacks, when you go out for the inevitable team dinner, you will eat a lot. You will attack the bread, along with an appetizer, a huge portion of a main course, and maybe dessert. Keep your blood sugar in check with your snacks, and then dinner will not be a disaster.

4. Don’t be a follower.  Don’t eat or drink something just because everyone else does. Wine is a passion for me, but in moderation. I reserve my wine drinking for nights with good friends. On a night out with clients, I sip on sparkling water. Similarly, if I treated every time I went to a restaurant as a trip to a restaurant, I would be fat. Instead I tend to look at company dinners as a place to find a meal. I don’t need to eat something unique and amazing. I mean seriously- its some random Tuesday night in a random city…before I read the menu I know I am looking for a lean protein with vegetables. PERIOD. I don’t get distracted by all the additional information. As soon as I hit a word like cream, potato, breaded, I stop reading and move on.

4. Do Be Picky. Again, counter-intuitive from what you always hear. But, shhh, here’s a secret, sometimes when I am traveling, I tell my clients I am a vegetarian.  I’m much closer to a flexitarian, but it helps to get the message across that fried chicken is not what I will be eating for lunch. Seriously, people expect you to conform when you are traveling and most meals are ordered for the group. By explaining specific dietary “constraints” no one gets offended when I am searching for a salad. I mean what would someone say to me, “you have to eat this fried animal?” I’ve used other crazy excuses like “lactose-intolerant, might be allergic to gluten, sorry that’s not kosher!”