Traveling for business is often hectic and leaves little time for meal planning. The key to success is to plan ahead.

Dear Dietitian,

These days I am traveling a lot for work and eating out once, sometimes twice a day. How do I make healthy food choices?

Signed,

Chris

Dear Chris,

Traveling for business is often hectic and leaves little time for meal planning. The key to success is to plan ahead. Try to stay on your regular eating pattern as much as possible. Use these tips for a healthier experience:

1. Eat three meals a day and have healthy snacks available when you need them. Things like fruit, nuts, and popcorn travel well. You can make your own trail mix with raw nuts and raisins.

2. As of May of this year, restaurants with 20 outlets or more are required to list the calorie amount of food on their menus. Choose a meal with about 500 calories.

3. Choose a pasta with red sauce versus white sauce.

4. Choose lean, grilled meats: chicken breast, beef sirloin or tenderloin, or fish. Skip the fancy sauces, as these are usually loaded with fat.

5. Ask for a to-go box. Many servings in restaurants will last for 2 meals.

6. Ask for fat on the side: salad dressing, butter, sour cream, etc.

7. Beware of salad entrees. You may think you are making a healthy choice, but a cobb salad, crispy (fried) chicken salad, and chicken Caesar salad all contain over 1,000 calories each. However, ordering a veggie salad before your meal is a good idea; it will help fill you up.

8. Skip dessert.

9. Avoid sugary drinks – soda pop, lemonade, margaritas, piña coladas, etc. If it has been a long week and it’s time for a libation, have a glass of wine, a beer, or a vodka tonic.

10. Finally, do not skip meals or let yourself get too hungry. That is when we tend to overcompensate and eat anything in sight!

Sincerely,

Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician from St. Louis, Mo.