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How this dietitian eats when ‘on the go’, or while travelling…

Healthy breakfast
Posted by: Nick Nation

How this dietitian eats when ‘on the go’, or while travelling…

As someone who previously worked as a tour guide around Australia, I can personally tell you that eating healthy while ‘on the go’ is no easy feat. On these tours I would ‘eat out’, as it was rare that I would have access to a kitchen to prepare/cook my meals and snacks. And the healthy pickings were slim.

Even if I did have access to a kitchen, I was always either too tired, too busy, or both… to trek all the way to the supermarket. After one too many meat pies, I came to the realisation that this eating was having an enormous effect on my mood, energy levels and therefore my ability to function properly in my role. Checkout this recent article on what happens when you eat fast food.

So I came up with a host of strategies to navigate healthy eating obstacles that I’ve refined since working as an Accredited Practising Dietitian with clients whose workplace is generally on the road.

Stay ahead of your hunger with healthy snacks

Stocking up on non-perishable snacks that you can grab in a hurry is key in keeping your eating habits on track whilst ‘on the go’.  By sticking to a plan of eating a healthy snack between meals, or every 3-4 hours, you avoid getting ‘hangry’, or that point where your energy levels are so low that even the steering wheel is starting to look appetising!

You will need to plan ahead. Know how long you’re travelling for, and choose foods that you know you can store safely; from in your handbag to your cool bag and everything in between.

Some key snacks might include:

  • Fruit (2 serves per day)
  • Unsalted nuts (1 small handful per day)
  • Tinned tuna and grainy crackers
  • Plain popcorn
  • Chopped vegie sticks & 2-3 tablespoons of hummus dip or 100% nut butter

For more snack ideas, check out Healthier Workplace WA’s resource Healthier ‘On the Go’ Meals and Snacks.

Make sure you include breakfast

Whether you're traveling by train, plane or automobile, a nutritious breakfast will keep you energised and full for 2-5 hours. This ensures you're ready to take on the day, but also assists in making healthier choices for other meals and snacks eaten over the day.

It’s also the one main meal of the day that we generally have some control over when we’re working ‘on the go’.   

Here are some easy breakfast ideas for busy people:

  • ½ cup mixed nuts with 2-3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt.
  • Overnight oats (½ cup) with mixed ½ cup berries/fruit
  • Seedy crackers and ½ avocado
  • Grainy toast (x2) and 1-2 tablespoons of 100% peanut, almond or cashew paste

Eggs (x2) on wholegrain toast/wrap. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach (cooked or raw) and ½ avocado

Just keep sipping

Take a reusable drink bottle wherever you go. Then just keep sipping. This will ensure you stay hydrated. It also saves money as you won’t have to buy plastic water bottles, and it’s better for the environment.

Staying hydrated doesn’t just involve drinking water. Other drinks provide water such as tea, coffee, milk and soda/mineral water. You can also get water from the food you eat. In fact, it’s estimated that food provides about 20% of your total fluid intake per day. However, try not to get your thirst mixed up with your hunger. It’s also best to forgo kilojoule and sugar-laden beverages to keep your kilojoule and sugar intake in check.

The last minute restaurant/cafe lunch

You can’t be perfect all of the time. Maybe you forgot to bring your packed lunch, or maybe you haven’t been able to get to the shops. Doesn’t matter. It’s still possible to eat healthy foods from (some) restaurants, cafes and even roadhouses/service stations.

Here’s your framework for success - focus on vegies, look for lean protein, add healthy fats, scan the menu for whole grains, and don’t eat until you’re stuffed.

Scan the menu:

  • Is there a salad? Lean protein with vegies? What about a vegie soup? Perhaps some vegie sticks and dip?
  • What lean protein is available? Is there grilled chicken breast? Something with beans? Tuna?
  • Look at the entrée options and side dishes. Could you combine a couple of these items?
  • Research food outlets that offer healthy choices and have this ready for when your colleagues say “where should we go today”?

For more tips on healthier meals and snacks ‘on the go’, click here.

About Nick Nation

Nick Nation, Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), with more than 10 years of professional speaking experience. He is regularly invited by corporate and community groups to speak on a variety of nutrition topics and designs his sessions to inform, motivate and entertain. Nicks passion for nutrition stems from his own personal journey in nutrition and health.

View all posts by Nick Nation

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