Strategies For Eating Healthy When Traveling For Work

Meri Raffetto

healthy breakfast for travel

Do you have a job that requires a lot of travel that involves living out of hotel rooms and being dependent on restaurants on a regular basis? This can put a barrier up for your “eat healthy and exercise” goals.

It’s a legitimate challenge, since most take-out and convenience meals tend to be higher in sodium, calories and fat. You may not be able to completely omit eating out or using convenience foods, but with some creativity you can find ways to offset the frequency to create more balance in your nutrition intake.

Have a Plan: Bring it with you, or buy it there.

You have to have a plan in place before you leave home if you want to maintain your health and lifestyle goals while traveling on business. If you can make your way to a grocery store after you check into your hotel, you’ll find there are lots of items you can keep on hand in your hotel room. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Individual packets of oatmeal (plain, no sugar added).  Oatmeal is easy to find in most grocery stores, or pack with you. Use your hotel room microwave to make up a quick breakfast. Add a fresh banana and add your own sugar packet (so you use less), both of those items are usually included in a continental breakfast.
  • Take-out Salad bar. Most major grocery stores have a salad bar. This is an easy way to get a quick and affordable meal with lots of vegetables. They’ll often have soup selections as well making it easy to eat a healthy meal in your hotel room.
  • Rotisserie chicken. If you’re going to be in one spot for a few days or a week, you can make several meals out of a precooked rotisserie chicken, which nearly all major grocery stores will have available. Pick up pita pockets and make a chicken sandwich or add the chicken to a salad. Store it in your hotel refrigerator. Get creative!
  • Soup works. Most major grocery stores now have fresh soup either in a hot bar or packaged in plastic containers. Get a vegetable based soup for a warm, nourishing meal.
  • Fresh fruit. Fruit is easy to find and you can use it as part of a meal or a snack during the day. Make sure to always have an apple or banana available. Many hotels offer them at the registration desk. Free fruit? Pick it up every time you pass by.
  • Nuts travel well. You can bring nuts with you in a zip lock bag and eat through your trip. They are a good source of protein, are filling and can be added to your morning oatmeal, a salad or used as a quick snack.

You will still likely need to eat in restaurants while traveling but when you can offset that with making a few meals in your hotel room it will go a long way to balance calories and maintain your waistline.

If you have to sit at meetings all day, take advantage of break time by taking a short walk, going up or down the stairs, and taking a stretch. Of course don’t forget to hit the gym. Doing a 20-30 minute workout first thing in the morning is a good way to start they day, or wear you fitness bracelet to keep track of steps taken daily. In lieu of the gym, you can take a walk or jog outside, or monitor your steps through the day, setting daily goals.

Do you travel for work? Try the Diet Makeover for a quick nutrition checkup.


  • Meri Raffetto

    Meri Raffetto was the original founder of Real Living Nutrition. A triplet mom and author of the Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies and coauthor of the Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies, and Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies.