• Erin Sheehan

Work Wellness: Travel

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

If you travel a lot for work, you’ve probably run into a few hurdles that make it seem near impossible for you to maintain your healthy routine while on the go. It’s a much different scenario than when you’re traveling for vacation. On vacation, you sort of welcome the chaos. You want to try all the local cuisine, enjoy some cocktails, and not worry about making it to your 6:00 am workout class.

While traveling for work can be fun, I’m willing to bet you’re trying to keep things as close to your daily routine as possible. Especially if your job requires you to travel frequently. Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be impossible. Planning ahead and being flexible when your plans don’t come together exactly as you’d hoped are the keys to travel wellness. Here are some pointers to upgrade your next work adventure:

Talk to your boss.

If you’re traveling for work, chances are your boss is footing the bill. Find out if renting an AirBnb is a possibility. Having access to a kitchen or kitchenette is a total game changer in maintaining a healthy routine because you have the option to cook all of your meals.

If staying in a hotel, know what you’re getting into.

Call to find out what amenities will be available. Knowing if there will be a mini-fridge or microwave will help you determine what foods to bring. Asking what breakfast, lunch, and dinner options are available is also a good idea because you will most likely eat at least 1-2 meals there.

Grocery stores over gas stations.

Gas stations or air port kiosks may seem like the most convenient place to stop for a quick pick-me-up, but a local grocery store is even better. Whether you’re in the area for a day or a week, chances are the snack and meal options at a grocery store are fresher and healthier than what you’d find at a gas station. Plus, you can stock up on things like oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, or salads to keep in your hotel room if you have a mini-fridge or microwave.

We try to find the closest Whole Foods while traveling to hit up their hot bar. We we realize Whole Foods can get pricey on your regular grocery haul, but you should be able to build a well balanced meal for under $10. They have tons of healthy options and you can easily store a quick meal in your mini-fridge for later.

Do your research.

Look up restaurants in the vicinity of where you’ll be staying. This way you can look at menus and have an idea of what you might order at a few different spots.

Be prepared.

Eating a filling snack or meal pre-travel is probably your best bet. However, pack more snacks than you think you’ll need because you never know when a wrench will be thrown into your plans. Did you know you can pack a cooler on most flights? Look up the protocol for your airline of choice before your next flight. Ideally, your snacks will have protein and healthy fats to calm your hunger hormones and keep you satisfied until your next meal. Here are some TSA friendly snacks that fit the bill:

  • Nut Butter Packets make a great bridge snack in between meals. The healthy fats keep your hunger hormones in check and leave you feeling satisfied. We like to eat them straight from the pouch, but you can also enjoy them with an apple or celery sticks.

  • Sliced Veggies like carrots, celery, or cucumber are great for snacking. These can be paired with hummus in place of crackers.

  • Hard Boiled Eggs...this may be to the dismay of your neighbor but they make an A+ snack!

  • Protein Bars - we love these Epic Meat Bars and these Primal Kitchen Protein Bars for an easy, on the go snack that is high in protein. They don't have to be refrigerated, they pack a nutritional punch, and their ingredients are simple!

  • Oatmeal - there are plenty of sugar free, plain oatmeal options for on the go. The flight attendant should be able to bring you some hot water. Add fruit and nut butter and you’re good to go!

  • Ginger Tea - again, the flight attendant should be able to bring you some hot water. Travel can wreak havoc on digestion and ginger works wonders!

  • Supplements - we'll deep dive into supplements later, but if you're already a supplement guru...a packet of your favorite protein or collagen powder to add to almond milk or coffee will make the mornings so much easier!

Be realistic.

Traveling can throw even the most organized person out of whack. Make a list of one or two healthy habits you can commit to each day. You’ll feel good about yourself for accomplishing them. You’ll also be less likely to beat yourself up over that second margarita your co-worker talked you into at dinner knowing you squeezed in a few healthy habits earlier in the day. Some ideas include:

  • Hydrate! Carry a refillable water bottle with you everywhere. If you don’t see a water fountain, places like hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops should be more than willing to refill for you.

  • Drink lemon water every morning. This is great for digestion and bloating, especially if you're eating a lot of high-sodium meals when dining out. If you can’t get your hands on any lemons, drink 1-2 glasses of water when you wake up to flush and reboot your system.

  • Move. Go for a 20 minute walk every day and opt for taking stairs over elevators. Suggest walking to your meeting or a meal when with co-workers.

  • Be balanced. If eating out, make it a priority to add vegetable to your plate at every meal.

Be flexible.

If your co-workers shoot down your suggestion to eat the nearest salad joint because they want pizza, just go with it. Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables and you’ll have less room for that second slice of pizza. When navigating a menu, beware of the salad section, as these may contain sugar filled dressings or fried toppings. When in doubt, order a side of olive oil and a slice of lemon to make your own salad dressing.

Check out the mains for grilled meat or fish and some vegetables. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, simply ask! Do you want grilled chicken instead of fried on your salad? Want a side of avocado with your scrambled eggs for breakfast? Most restaurants will accommodate if they can, you just have to speak up!

Stress Less.

Stressing out leads to digestive distress and impaired absorption of nutrients from food. If you stick to a few mindful habits, hydrate, and get some movement in daily you should not venture too far off your wellness journey. A few days of travel will not wreck your health.

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