Posted by Perryn Carroll on 26 June 2014
It can be hard to stick to a healthy routine while travelling for work – especially when in meetings, wining and dining, or just coping with the time difference.
However, once you recognise the major influences that can make or break your trip, it does make things easier.
1. Eat as normal prior to your flight
Eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner as per normal prior to flying. This will assist with your hunger, as missing meals can leave you vulnerable to overeating.
2. Be mindful of plane snacks
Generally on long haul flights you’ll find airlines provide numerous snacks. If you take your own on board, you’re likely to eat these in addition to what is offered. Limit your snack size to 628- 837kj (150-200 kcal) per snack.
3. Carb-loading in your inflight meal
Your inflight meal will consist of some carbohydrate (rice/potato/pasta), protein (meat/fish/pulses) and vegetables (hot or as salad). Choose one of your carbohydrate sides, so your bread roll OR the pasta/rice/potato salad.
4. Finishing off sweet
Aim for just one sweet after your meal. If allowed, save the chocolate for a little treat later on.
5. Drink water (often!)
It’s easy to become dehydrated with the air-conditioning in the plane cabin, so sip on water frequently over the course of the flight. When you’re dehydrated your appetite is likely to increase and your concentration decrease (if you’re trying to work on board). Likewise, limit alcoholic beverages to 1-2 drinks as they are both calorie-dense and influence dehydration.
6. Keep yourself entertained
If you find yourself eating of out boredom, use the inflight entertainment system as a distraction. Also make sure to take brief walks regularly – this helps prevent leg cramps, as well as keeps the blood flowing for digestion, to reduce gut discomfort and bloating.
Eating away from home
1. Great in routine
It might sound basic but eat your meals in a regular pattern, so breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like everything in life, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail – check your diary and get an idea of where you will be around these times, if you are not confident you will be fed, pack a small snack so you don’t skip meals.
2. Practice being assertive
Feel bad saying ‘no’ to food? Practice makes perfect! Start at parties, family dinners and at after-work drinks. The more confident you feel politely declining seconds and top-ups with friends and family, the more you will be able to say ‘no’ around clients.
3. Step it up
There is significant research supporting the benefits of keeping active. While you may not necessarily be able to hit the gym, consider other opportunities to ‘move’. Why don’t you take the stairs in your hotel, walk into town for your next meeting (avoid traffic and burn calories!), or even stroll around the airport rather than sitting and waiting.
A business trip should benefit your career but not have a poor influence in your health. Keep tabs on your eating habits the next time you travel, and always try to plan accordingly. What is your best health tip when away for work?
Perryn Carroll is a weight-loss dietician who actively contributes and comments on obesity management issues. A self-confessed diet geek, Perryn writes for her website, Diet Duchess. She also regularly guest blogs and is a media spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.