by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
Eating healthy when you’re at home can be challenging enough with our demanding coaching careers and busy family lives. At least when you’re at home though, you can control what comes into the kitchen and what lands on your children’s plates.
But what happens when you’re not at home – when you’re traveling with your team, recruiting, or waiting at the airport?
If we allow ourselves to opt for the faster and easier options because we are in a rush on the road, overtime poor nutrition can leave us over extended, overwhelmed, and overweight, which is obviously not ideal when we have a lot of people counting on us to bring our best every day.
While sticking to your good habits when you’re traveling can be tough, there’s no need to arrive home from your trip with a junk food hangover and 5 extra pounds. There are some simple, yet effective strategies that will help you continue to eat healthy, it just requires some knowledge and organization.
Here are five ideas to help you stick to your healthy eating habits when traveling.
Determine your food rules: A little planning about what your food rules are can go a long way when it comes to eating healthy and saving time while traveling. Before you leave, have the decision made about what foods are a big “no-no” for you and for your team, and what foods you’re willing to “slide” on. For me, a few no-no’s are chips, pop, hotel cookies, or candy. My “slides” are items fried like sweet potato fries. When you do that, you’ll spare yourself the stressful mental banter when opportunities arise and lessen your chances of experiencing any post-consumption “unpleasantness” the next day (and yes, I speak from experience.) You’ll also be able to plan ahead better about what kind of foods to bring with you and how much you’ll need.
Plan Your Snacks Ahead of Time: Whenever possible, arm yourself with healthy snacks for the car, bus, or plane so that you’re not stuck with the limited offerings available at gas stations, airports, or at the hospitality tents at the recruiting event.
Dried fruits, granola, mixed nuts, apples, oranges, and cereals stay fresh and transport easily – especially with the array of cool, non-toxic containers available. Invest in some reusable glass or stainless-steel lunch containers and pre-prepare your snacks in advance. I also recommend checking out Love with Food. It’s a SUPER FUN way to get a box of surprise organic or natural snacks delivered to your door monthly. And I absolutely love that with each box you buy, they donate a meal to a hungry child. I really love that part!
Technology is your friend
Finding good places to eat that meet your teams or your nutritional needs can be challenging and very time consuming (gluten free or vegan). Although most big corporate chain restaurants now provide nutrition information, independently owned restaurants usually don’t. I don’t know about you, but part of the fun for me when traveling is finding those one-of-a-kind places that you can’t find back home.
There are a lot of apps that can help you locate healthy eating options no matter where you are. If you have some time before you leave home, check out one of these apps- Healthy Dining Finder, Eat Well, or Good Food Near You. With a little research and a GPS, you’re instantly connected to restaurants that share your food needs and values.
For example, the Healthy Dining Finder website currently lists healthy menu options from tens of thousands of restaurants around the U.S.-including lots of independently owned and find dining establishments. Nutrition professionals review and analyze menus according to criteria posted on the Healthy Dining Finder website, where you can search the database by location as well as price.
Search for hotels that offer a mini-fridge in the room. Not only will you be able to house health-promoting foods in your room for easy access, but you’ll also save big money by bringing your own snack foods which can add up quickly on recruiting trips or when trying to feed a team.
If you’re looking at a few different hotels, search each one in google maps prior to booking to see how close they are to surrounding grocery stores and markets. The closer they are, the easier it is to make a stop or two throughout your trip. You can grab simple things like bottled water, or even perishable items like fruit or veggies and dip.
Lastly, do some research on what the hotel breakfast has to offer (especially if it’s free!) Stocking up on hard-boiled eggs or fruit from the breakfast buffet can serve as breakfast or snacks during your trip. Call the hotel ahead of time, or check reviews on Trip Advisor for the hotel (specifically search “breakfast”.)
Whether traveling in your own car or by bus, plan to stop at the grocery store just before reaching your hotel or at some point shortly after you arrive to get items you weren’t able to bring. This is also the time to pick up large bottles of purified water that will last you throughout your trip.
These options are all simple and don’t require a ton of upfront time to get set up. The upfront time spent on finding healthier food options will save you a lot of time on the backend, and you will go home feeling much better because you stuck to your healthy eating habits.
If you’re looking for more tips to be a more productive coach and recruiter, through all aspects of your job, reach out to Mandy Green. Through Tudor Collegiate Strategies and Busy Coach, she works with hundreds of college coaches and would love to help you too. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a strategy call.