I often see people who have to travel frequently for work and therefore find it difficult to eat well. Meals will usually be eaten at restaurants, cafes, or will consist of takeaway items/ room service. Whilst this is ok for the odd trip, it becomes difficult to manage weight and overall health if it is happening often and for a week here and a week there.
However, all hope is not lost! There are ways to get around it and to make better choices even whilst on the go. As always, it comes down to a bit of preparation and creativity.
Serviced apartments are easy because they often come with a fully equipped kitchen. In this case, all you need to do is find a supermarket close by (there usually is one within a short walking distance). Then it comes down to how much time you have to prepare meals. Either you can cook up a quick a meal like meat and veg/ stir-fry/ salad or you can store some convenience options in the fridge/ freezer and microwave them when you get home e.g. weight watchers meals, soups, microwaveable rice cups with tuna and vegetables.
You can even make sandwiches for lunches and have cereal or toast with a nutritious topping for breakfast.
You just need to ensure you’re not purchasing more food than you can possibly eat.
Hotels with only a bar fridge
If you’re not able to stay in a serviced apartment then you are more limited but there are still options that will be better than resorting to take-away for every meal! Even if you prepare breakfasts and lunches, and choose a healthier takeaway dinner option.
If you are going to be short on time, you can pack some single serve portions of long life milk in your suitcase along with some oat sachets to have for breakfast. Often there won’t be a microwave so you cannot heat up the porridge but because the sachets use quick oats, they don’t need much softening and you can use the hot water out of a kettle or even just the milk. You can also buy sachets of muesli or portion out your own cereal of choice into sandwich bags at home.
Other options could include:
- Yoghurt and fruit
- Wholegrain bread with peanut butter/ avocado/ cheese
- Untoasted muesli/ cereal/ Weet Bix with milk
You can pack a quick, simple lunch for the day instead of purchasing out. This will save you more money and will likely be a more nutritious option.
- Any type of sandwich e.g. multigrain bread/ wraps with salad ingredients and cheese and/ or tuna
- Salad with tuna/ cheese
- Pre-packaged tins of tuna with lentils/ rice/ quinoa etc
Dinner is a little bit more difficult and may be more limited but you can get by if it’s only a short stay. You can allow yourself to have dinners out if you have made all other meals, but still try to make better choices.
- BBQ chicken with salad
Better takeaway options:
- Salads without creamy dressings e.g. Thai beef salad
- Grilled fish/ beef/ chicken and salad/ veg and minimal sauce
- Rice paper rolls
- Mexican naked burritos without creamy cheese and sauces
Remember, portion control still applies – especially if you are going for takeaway meals most nights. Do not feel the need to finish the whole portion or to order excessive amounts of food. It also helps if you avoid alcoholic beverages and stick to water. Leave the splurging for actual holidays as opposed to travel for work.
- Snack-sized tins of tuna and beans
- Vita-Weat biscuits
Preparing food in a hotel will always be more of a challenge, but with some thought before you leave it can actually make it quite manageable. You will likely feel much better for it and will save a lot of money in the process. Plus it will make a significant difference to your intake of fat/ sodium and sugar. Even if you prepare just 2/3 meals it will be far better than eating each meal out.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about nutrition, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!