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Nutrition for corporate travellers: how to eat well on the road Print

By Andrea Holwegner BSc, RD  “The Chocoholic Dietitian”

Twitter:  @chocoholicRD 

Website:  www.healthstandnutrition.com 

David is 57 and travels more than 200 days a year for his corporate sales position. Besides many on-the-go airport meals and comfort food ordered late at night from room service, he also often wines and dines clients over lunch and supper meetings.

When his doctor said his cholesterol was high and liver enzymes elevated, it was the wakeup call he needed to take charge of his health.

One of my favourite parts of working with clients like David is coming up with customized plans that fit unique challenges without giving up favourites. David was surprised that over the course of a year he lost 35 pounds and felt better than he had in decades. He achieved all this while still maintaining the same hectic job and heavy travel schedule.

Without careful planning, eating out regularly and travelling for work can be hard on your health, productivity and body weight. If you travel regularly for work, here are some solutions:

Reshuffle your plate

One of the ways many restaurants save money while ensuring customers leave with full bellies is by filling you up with starchy foods such as bread and excessive portions of rice, pasta and potatoes. In general, veggies, fruit and protein-rich food such as meat, poultry or seafood are more expensive than starchy foods.

Aim for half your plate to be veggies, one-quarter protein, and one-quarter starches. To get this plate balance right, you may need to skip the bread, request half the portion of starches, double the veggies and aim for a maximum of six ounces of protein. This simple guide helped David tremendously in reducing overall calories and losing weight.

Refocus your snacks

Travelling can make you more susceptible to justifying less nutritious choices because of loneliness, stress or fatigue. Corporate travellers also often say they are too busy and find it inconvenient to pack snacks.

David made grabbing snacks at the airport part of his travelling routine, just like checking in for his flight. Early in the day at the hotel breakfast buffet, he would often grab a piece of fresh fruit to go along with the nuts or protein bar he had stashed in his briefcase from home.

Choose to have a snack if it will be longer than three to five hours before you will eat again. This helps boost your concentration and interactions with others while preventing you from overeating later.

Looking for some heathy snack ideas?

Try these 10 snack options at the airport:

-Yogurt parfait (yogurt, berries and cereal)

-High-fibre, low-fat oat bran or bran muffin and cheese

-Raw veggies and dip or salad and nuts

-Crackers, cheese and grapes/ sliced fruit

-Fresh fruit/fruit salad/dried fruit bar and carton of milk/chocolate milk

-Canned fruit cup/applesauce cup and cottage cheese/yogurt/ hard cooked egg

-Trail mix

-Protein bar or nuts and unsweetened juice

-Fresh fruit smoothie

-Coffee-shop latte, steamed milk or chai tea

Rethink what you drink

Travelling can contribute to dehydration and further decrease how you feel. Be sure to buy or bring your own water bottle since you likely won’t drink enough by relying on what is served on the plane or at your meals.

Watch your consumption of alcohol. After showing David that alcohol was contributing 300 calories or more to his daily intake, and comparing this to the half-hour or more on the hotel treadmill it took to burn this off, he became very choosy about when he chose to drink.

Rework your perception of value

Some of my corporate clients associate value with an entitlement to gorge on expensive meals and wine picked up on the company credit card. For others, value is leaving a restaurant stuffed after cleaning a colossal plate of food.

Instead, consider value as having energy to thrive at work and in your personal life. While David, of course, mourned the loss of some of his heavier choices, eating better allowed him to combat mid-afternoon fatigue, and his family no longer got the worst of him when he returned home worn out and depleted.

Like many leaders and sales representatives, what surprised David the most was the change in his confidence at work, which stemmed from gaining control of his health and feeling good about how he looked in his business attire.

When you invest in yourself, expect a big return on investment in ways you never imagined.

Andrea Holwegner is the chocoholic dietitian, and owns Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. Visit www.healthstandnutrition.com or phone 403-262-3466 for nutrition counselling, speaking engagements and to subscribe to her free monthly ezine. Twitter: @chocoholicRD.

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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