6 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling for Work

So you travel for work? So do I. In fact, I get on an airplane twice a week, every week. I know the NYC terminals like the back of my hand. I frequent so often that the barista at Starbucks is convinced that I work there. I change time zones on a weekly basis. I am a Management Consultant.

I came into consulting about a year ago as an experienced hire. As excited as I was about starting my new job, I was also completely worried about maintaining my healthy lifestyle. You eat out everyday? Networking events are key? Is there such thing as ‘The Consulting 15’? It took some trial and error, but here are 6 ways I’ve been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle while constantly traveling.

1. Be prepared. 

You know you are going to fly out Monday morning. You know the airport is lacking in healthy food options. You know the food options on the plane are even worse. So come prepared! Pack fruits, raw nuts, and even full meals (although make sure they meet the TSA liquids requirements). I always pack fruit and raw nuts with me as snacks. For fruits, I prefer apples. Apples do not require refrigeration, stay fresh in a ziplock bag (unlike bananas), and keep you full.  For nuts, I like packing raw, unsalted almonds or walnuts. Try packing a snack size of nuts in a ziplock bag to keep it to a snack portion.

If I have a long flight (which I often do), I pack a meal. I typically stop at Whole Foods or get some sort of salad to go.  I understand that not everyone has time to make a special trip to get a meal prior to flying- so don’t! You are going to go grocery shopping or going to get some kind of meal in the days prior to your travel. So why not double up? Stop by the salad bar during your grocery run at Whole Foods and save it for your flight. Add an extra bowl on your Ubereats order and bring it with you on the plane. You will be so much happier and relaxed knowing that you have healthy, delicious food with you and don’t have to stress about finding your next meal.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Flying is incredibly dehydrating, so make sure you not only hydrate on the flight, but before your flight as well. I bring my Swell bottle with me everywhere that way I don’t have to purchase bottles of water. Fill it up before you board, and you’ll be good to go. And don’t forget to grab an aisle seat.

3. Do your homework

When you are traveling to a new location, do your homework. I spend an hour couple days before researching healthy restaurants. I check for Whole Foods or plant-based restaurants and eat organic ingredients whenever possible. That way when I arrive, I know exactly where to plug into Google maps and can avoid the stress of worrying about where to get my next meal. I do the same thing with exercise. I personally like taking megaformer Pilates classes, so I research local studios beforehand. If they are on classpass, even better!

4. Exercise in the morning

Work days can me unpredictable. If a workday is running longer than expected, you don’t want to stress about missing your evening Pilates class. Likewise, if your team is going out to dinner or happy hour, you don’t want to worry about missing your workout. Working out in the morning eliminates the stress of trying to squeeze a workout in later in the day.

5. Get into a routine  

Often work travel can be an excuse to eat out, have an extra glass of wine, and take a week off of exercising. But of those of us who travel often (or like me, travel every week), that is not sustainable. The most important thing I like to do when I travel is pretend that I’m at home. When I go to Whole Foods or the local juice bar, I try to purchase multiple meals at once. That way I have a hotel mini fridge full of healthy meals at hand and don’t have to spend excessive amounts of time driving to get every meal every night (which could cause you to skip out on the gym!). Most hotels have mini fridges in their rooms and if not, most will bring one to your room upon request. So take advantage of this and keep meals in your mini fridge so you can avoid the added stress of fetching every meal.

6. Eat like your at home

When I first started traveling for work, I would often go to healthy, plant-based restaurants for meals, but tack on a vegan brownie or peanut butter cup to my order. (Because if it’s made out of plants it’s healthy, right?). You wouldn’t be eating this way at home, so don’t do this while out. The extra calories will add up quickly. Try to stick to eating the amounts that you would normally eat if you were at home.

Happy traveling!

Crunchy Banana Bread Muffins

Crunchy banana bread muffins topped with peanut butter 😋🍌🥜

Packed these with me on my flight to Seattle earlier this week and they made the 6 hour coast to coast flight a whole lot better.

 

Ingredients:

2 banana

2.5 cups rolled oats

1 egg

1/4 cup almond milk

3 spoonfuls of coconut oil

3 tbsp maple syrup

Cinnamon

Nutmeg 

1/4 cup walnuts

Optional: All natural peanut butter to top

 

Directions:

1. Blend all of the ingredients together except for the walnuts.

2. Add walnuts to blender and lightly  pulse mixture to mix the walnuts without blending them completely into the mixture. You want to keep the walnuts in nut form just lightly pulse them until they are smaller pieces.

3. Place batter in muffin baking sheet. Bake on 400 deg for 25- 28 minutes.

4. Optional: Allow to cool and top with peanut butter

4 Watchouts for Eating at Vegan Restaurants

I’m not a vegan, but I lean towards the plant-based side of the spectrum. My favorite type of quick food places are raw vegan/ juice bar type places. When I first started consulting, I was disappointed to largely give up cooking, but then got over this quickly when I started researching all of the raw vegan juice bar esq places in my first city of work travel. 

I got into the daily routine of eating “healthy” vegan food for every meal. At first it was great. I was trying all new kinds of vegan meals, getting great recipe ideas to cook at home, and eating delicious plant-based sweets that would require me so much more effort for me to make at home. I was ecstatic, until I started not to feel well anymore. I started gaining weight. I felt super full but was still hungry at the same time. I was lethargic. I was off. I wanted to get back to feeling good so I knew I had to make a change. But I wasn’t quite sure where I went wrong? I was eating at the most seemingly healthy types of restaurants I knew. Shouldn’t I be feeling great? I took a step back and made a few observations at what I was eating. These learnings have helped me flag certain items on the menu and have enabled me to order more wisely:

1. Skip dessert

 When I first started traveling, I was ecsatic by all of the delicious, plant-based dessert options. I am obsessed with my homemade vegan cheesecakes, but the option of having healthy plant-based desserts readily available and such a wide variety of options was incredible. I found myself tacking on a vegan brownie or carrot cake muffin to my orders. They were made out of raw nuts, oats, dates, etc. so I didn’t sweat wondering if they were healthy. However, while all of the ingredients may be healthy, the quantities present are much more than you would normally consume. I was eating waayyyy too much fat. Nuts are great for you, but in small quantities because they are super high in fat and calorically dense. Dates, although a fruit, and very heavy and high in calories, so you do need to watch the amount you are consuming. And lastly, the sugar. These seemingly healthy desserts are loaded with sugar- maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc.- it doesn’t matter what type! Sugar is sugar. It all reacts the same in your body. If I was eating at home, I wouldn’t be eating vegan treats on a daily basis. These extra calories add up quickly, so it’s overall better to skip..

 2. Watch your grain consumption 

Grain bowls are a staple of several raw vegan places. I tend to skip the bread and overall avoid gluten, so quinoa bowls are a natural go-to for me. I know ketogenic diets are big right not, but I’m personally a fan of grains. However, not too much, a small portion of grains to add some filling to your salad is great, but the salad should be veggies by a large portion. I’ve noticed several vegan places really pile on the grains in their meals. Not only will this leave you feeling ill, but it also takes away the flavors of the produce in the salad! Grains are bland. I do not want my bowl to be primarily grains, I’d really prefer it to be primarily greens from both a health and taste perspective. In order to avoid a heavy dose of grains, I usually ask when I order for more greens than grains. If the portion is still off, I generally skip the grains if I order again. It is not worth feeling like crap afterwards.

 3. Watch your fat consumption

 As a stated above, vegan desserts are largely composed of nuts and thus, high in fat. Not only is this seen in desserts, but vegan entrees as well. Most meat and cheese substitutes are often nut-based. Depending on what you order, you could be eating really high amounts of fat. I love healthy fats- I mean avocados, come on. Healthy fats are a regular part of my diet. However, I’ve found that when I eat too much fat, I feel terrible. I feel super full and experience unwanted weight gain and the worst part is I’m gaining weight when I’m trying to be healthy! I’m sorry, but no. I will accept weight gain from a slice of pizza. I will accept weight gain from happy hour margaritas. I will not accept weight gain from a meat-less, cheese-less, salad bowl.

4. Focus on raw, plain, hydrating produce

Last, I’ve noticed that I often feel dehydrated after meals. When eating out, restaurants often incorporate far more salt into their meals than I would add on my own. Because of that, I try to focus on ordering dishes with raw, plain, and hydrating produce. Smoothies are a great option. Stick to smoothies made with fruits and veggies, often places have the option to build your own. Try to avoid the addition of fruit juices to smoothies- fruit juices strip the fruit of its natural fiber and just leaves behind sugar. Try instead subbing in cocounut water or an unsweetened nut milk. For bowls and salads, choose options that contain fresh produce. I tend to avoid sateed vegetables because it may contain excess sodium.

Reducing my Sweet Tooth

I have a HUGE sweet tooth, but recently I have been making a conscious effort to avoid added sugars to my foods. I haven’t gotten to 100% no added sugar to my diet, but I’m not quite sure that’s my goal. I try to avoid extremes because they mostly end up not being sustainable. My goal is to actively recognize an added sugar as an added sugar- whether it’s maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, etc. it doesn’t matter what type it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic sugar.

Sugar is sugar.

And in addition to recognizing an added sugar, also avoiding them when possible. Not completely. It would legit make me sad to have my oat flour pancakes without maple syrup. Or overnight oats without a dash of coconut nectar. I’m not trying to go on a deprivation diet (I try to avoid extremes), but avoid the unnecessary dumping of sweeteners into my regular foods. And I have noticed a difference.

I can feel my cravings shifting from sweet to savory. I’m back on the west coast this week for my project. When I went to order breakfast this morning, I didn’t want my “regular” probiotic yogurt with berry compote (fruit and sugar), banana, and granola. It just seemed too sweet. I wanted something more savory. I ordered this delicious plant-based frittata bowl and felt completely satisfied. No sugar cravings to follow or feelings of deprivation.

Sakara Life and Why I’m Obsessed

If you haven’t heard of Sakara Life, they are an organic, plant-based food delivery company. They market eating healthy as fun and sexy. And if you haven’t yet seen their Instagram, you will immediately fall in love once you do.

I was first introduced to Sakara Life about 2 years ago, when a friend of mine told me I had to try Sakara. She warned me that it was pricey. And because of that, she only ordered it one week per month, but swore that after her week of Sakara, she always felt AMAZING. 

Obviously, I was intrigued…

I was literally excited when my first Sakara order arrived. Presentation is definitely their thing. I love the recyclable black refrigerator bags the meals are delivered in, I love the pamphlet that comes with your first order, I love the food descriptions on the outside of ever meal box, I love everything.  

And then I tried the food. The meals are not only delicious, but incredibly hydrating and refreshing tasting. One key thing that sets Sakara apart from other meal companies is the uniqueness of its ingredients. They include really cool, unique ingredients into their meals and include descriptions of the ingredients used and how they compliment your health.

Not gonna lie, when I first tried Sakara, I was a little thrown off by the portion size of the meals. I like food. I like eating. Eating is fun. I think I eat a lot? I ate the meals and was still hungry. The Sakara website and Ultimate Guide to Living the Sakara Way gives you snack suggestions and also informs you to listen to your body and that it’s okay to initially feel hungry between meals. I can say that I have grown more used to the portion size. Sakara also promotes hydration so it makes me more consciously reach for water and drink their detox teas. But I still like to snack on apples or raw nuts between meals.

As a someone who constantly travels for work, Sakara can be a lifesaver. It literally takes the stress out of healthy eating. All of the Sakara meals are a perfect balance of veggies, grains, and healing ingredients to promote a healthy microbiome. There is also a wide variety in the types of meals so it never gets boring. When I eat Sakara, I never have a second thought on if I’m eating a healthy, balanced meal. They also deliver nation-wide and the meals come right to your door so it even saves time and takes the stress away from getting meals yourself. I like ordering Sakara on weeks that I know I’ll be busy  and it is a huge time saver because I don’t have to worry about going out and buying any meals. Unfortunately, Sakara is on the pricier side so I can’t afford to make this a habit.

But I guess it’s the price you pay (literally) to feel like a #goddess.

Hydrating Summer Salad Recipe 💦

Summer is here, which for most 20-Somethings means rooftop bars, rosé season, tanning in Central Park, and weekends in the Hamptons.  This also means dehydration, dehydration, and more dehydration. As part of summer wellness, it is so so important to stay hydrated. It is important to not only drink plenty of water, but also eat hydrating foods. With summer season here, in addition to my weekly travel schedule, hydration is key to how I feel. I made this simple and delicious 7- ingredient salad recipe that includes hydrating, fresh ingredients. This recipe also contains fermented red beet and cabbage, which are rich in probiotics to add the good bacteria to your gut and promote a healthy microbiome.

wildbrine

See recipe below:

Fresh spinach

2 Orange slices

2 Grapefruit slices

1/4 Avocado

2 spoonfuls of Wildbrine fermented Red Beet & Cabbage

Handful of pumpkin seeds

Primal Kitchen Lemon & Turmeric Salad Dressing

 

Delicious and incredibly easy to make!

Work Travel & Frozen Foods

After a week of traveling for work, I love waking up knowing that I don’t have to rush to Whole Foods or order Ubereats for food that day. I can wake-up Friday mornings ready- to- go and not feel bogged down by grocery runs or spend extra cash to get food delivered. This is because I keep a constant supply of organic produce in my freezer.

Since I travel for work every week, I am only really home on weekends. Frozen organic produce has been a complete game-changer for me. I no longer go to the grocery store feeling guilty knowing that I’ll have to toss any fresh produce that I didn’t eat over the weekend on Monday. Which used to happen often! On weekends is when we typically see our friends and grab brunch or dinner. Between eating meals out and trying to get groceries for such a short period of time, it wasn’t working out. I also tried ordering all of my meals for the weekend or eating out, but as I’m sure you can understand, it is pricey and also caused me to consume way more sodium, soy, sugar, etc. than I would have if I was cooking myself.

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So alas, my move to frozen produce. Frozen produce is great because it keeps fresh for long periods of time. I often stock my freezer with Whole Foods organic frozen berries and spinach or kale for my smoothies (which makes my smoothies taste way better and thicker than using fresh produce and ice). I also stock various organic frozen vegetable blends that can easily be heated up and sauteed with garlic and oil. These are cheap and incredibly easy meal options to have readily available.  I love putting cucumbers in my smoothies, but have never seen these in frozen form. I buy a fresh cucumber (one at a time, because only 4-5 slices are used in my smoothies), and freeze the slices that I do not use that weekend.

Today, my morning smoothie consisted of:

A couple spoonfuls of blueberries

5 pieces of frozen cucumber

As much frozen kale as I could fit in my individual Ninja blender cup

A spoonful of almond butter

About 1 cup of whole Foods organic almond milk (carrageenan free!)

A scoop of Primal Foods Collagen Fuel Vanilla Coconut protein powder

Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Topped with cacao nibs so it tastes like a treat!

This smoothie was delicious, hydrating, and relatively inexpensive. It also kept me satisfied for hours, which I love because I don’t have to constantly think of where I’m going to find my next healthy meal or snack.