Eating healthy on the road
Blessed to say my current situation is a zero-travel situation, but at previous employers I was required to travel AT LEAST one week a month. Being on the road I quickly realized two things: (1) hotel quality is not determined by the quality of its rooms, rather the quality of it’s continental breakfast, and (2) it’s challenging to eat healthy when you’re living out of a 100 square foot room with no kitchen. Most companies provide a daily stipend for food, and that stipend normally allows you to eat out a couple times a day. With the stipend it’s easy to justify some fast food for lunch and sampler platters for dinner, but try not to fall into that habit. Fast food is delicious, but it’s also addicting and unhealthy. Learning to eat healthy on the road is a challenge, but in the long run your body will thank you, plus you can pocket some of the extra stipend money you don’t spend. At previous employers I had a $50 per day food stipend and was able to get my food budget down to $15 per day with my strategy. That’s $35 profit per day. But I bet if you work at it, you can do even better than me.
My shopping cart
Outlined below is a normal Walmart shop I’d get the first day I landed. For a four day trip this has you covered. It’s got some dinner/lunch foods, fruit, vegetables, and snacks - and should be more than enough to last the entire week. 1 x 1 bag of oranges ($4.90) 1 x 18 oz mayo ($2.28) 1 x Cheddar cheese (12 count) ($1.84) 1 x Whole wheat buns ($0.87) 1 x Package of sliced turkey ($3.88) 1 x Hummus ($1.98) 1 x Baby carrots ($1.92) 1 x Caesar salad kit ($3.63) 1 x Italian dressing ($0.92) 3 x Lean cuisines ($5.94) 1 x Trail mix ($1.68) 1 x Doritos ($2.72) 4 x Bananas ($0.80) 1 x 6 pack of eggs ($0.73) 2 x Frozen brussels sprouts ($2.54) Total = $36.63 Yes there is a little junk food on there, but in moderation I found it to work okay for me, and overall it was still a far better alternative to eating out for every meal.
Learn how to use your microwave
The microwave is normally the only cooking appliance available to you in standard hotel rooms. Without a stove, cutting board, and full-sized refrigerator your options are limited. A personal favorite of mine was microwaving frozen brussels sprouts and seasoning with some Italian dressing. You can also use your microwave to make hard boiled eggs, another fantastic snack/meal. There are also some decent frozen meals you can pick up at the store if you’re looking for something more substantial.
Maximize continental breakfast
A standard continental breakfast contains some hot foods, along with cereals, fruits, yogurt, and beverages. Typically I would stay away from the high sugar stuff, and stick to eggs, toast and some fruit or cereal. I’d also take some fruit and yogurt back to my room to bring with me for lunch that day.
Avoid the booze and pick up a hobby
Being away from friends and family can fill you with loneliness on the road. Often times, people turn to alcohol in the evenings. It’s a dangerous and expensive habit to get into. Instead see if you can put a few minutes into the gym, or pick up another hobby. I started my coding journey in hotel rooms, which ultimately helped me create Safety Knights. Using the hotel WiFi and my laptop, I started spending my evenings learning to code. I found myself totally immersed in the journey and those evenings eventually changed my life.
This ended up being the biggest challenge for me, especially on longer journeys. Airport food is expensive, and it can be tricky to find healthy food. Try your best to pack some snacks for yourself prior to departure. If you need to hit a restaurant, try and stick to salads and soups.
Try and stay positive on your journeys. Being away from friends and family sucks, but you also have an opportunity to see some new and potentially vibrant locations during your travels. If you have the energy for it, see if you can get out of your room for a few nights and explore your new environment.
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