White Collar Travel: Five step to healthier road warrior diets

Sometimes, it seems like the road warrior‘s diet is relegated to the extremes. When a company executive is in town for a meeting – you’re taking your clients out – it’s hefty steaks, heavy cabernets and always more appetizers than a third-world country could consume in a lifetime. When there’s no occasion to shape the meal, on the other hand, you’re looking at suburban Chinese food illuminated by the glow of your dashboard.

It’s tough to strike a balance while you’re traveling … a problem that’s multiplied when you do it all the time. Fast food factors into at least one meal a day, and often, it will be your only meal. Caffeine (and, in my case, nicotine) replaced countless breakfasts, lunches and dinners back in my consulting days. Weight fluctuations were obvious. I’d usually drop 20 pounds in a month and a half when switching from a travel-intensive project to a local one.

Though the pressures of the job and the claims on time can impede proper nutrition, it isn’t impossible to eat well when you live the life of a wandering white collar warrior. You just have to be smart, plan ahead and commit to keeping yourself healthy.

Here are five ways you can avoid the fast food pits and fattening side-effects of client dinners when living the life of a road warrior:1. Choose an extended-stay hotel when possible
Now, what does this have to do with nutrition? Everything! These hotels have small kitchens, and you can stock the fridge with fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks. When you get back to your room after 14 hours of meetings and deadlines, reach for an apple instead of a snickers bar (or a mini-bottle of bourbon).

2. Don’t always go for the steak
I know this sounds insane, but steakhouses carry other dead animals … not just cows. Would it kill you to opt for the salmon every now and then? While you’re at it, a salad can be savored; it isn’t something you have to endure.

3. Watch what you drink
Hey, I still enjoy a glass of wine or two with a nice dinner. But, you don’t have to kick off the evening with two martinis and close it with a cognac. At some point, switch to club soda or water. You can drink socially without going overboard.

4. Give up fast food
Or, at least cut back on it. When you have to dine and dash, your options do become limited, and not every city has an array of healthy quick-service dining options. When possible, find an alternative to fast food fare. It may take some work, but you should be able to come up with something.

5. Multitask for an extra meal
Breakfast is the first casualty of life on the road. Whether you’re up early to work or you’re trying to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep, the morning meal soon becomes a fantasy. Make time for breakfast. Bring some work down with you, and turn it into productive time. Hell, take your laptop to the table – it’s not like anyone’s eating with you.

Click here for more White Collar Travel

[photo by Steve Zak]

Where to go for fast food – the flowchart edition

American food blog “eating the road” has come up with one of the best uses for a flowchart I have ever seen. By answering some simple questions, you’ll be told where to go for your daily dose of crappy fast food. The chart points west coasters to the stores the rest of the country dreams of getting, and sends all Canadians to Tim Hortons.

The chart covers 16 of the most popular US fast food chains, and even takes your sobriety into account (only drunk people will survive sliders).

Click here for the full version of the chart

A big small-town hotdog in East Anglia

Let’s face it: Bury St. Edmunds doesn’t have a lot going on. The Abbey Gardens are the main attraction – particularly the internet-enabled bench. So, it’s pretty easy to see why entertainment alternatives are generally limited. There are some fine restaurants in this sleepy eastern England town, allowing you to eat quite well. But, I prefer to go as down-market as possible. So, I made it a point to find a hotdog place in Bury St. Edmunds, and I found one fit for royalty.

King’s is a tiny, dumpy establishment that reminds me of strip mall pizza joints here in the United States. It’s possible to eat your dog, burger or slice of pizza elbow-to-elbow with whoever’s on duty, or you can take it outside to the patio, which is considerably more spacious. I chose a third way: take it for the road. The main reason I look for hotdogs when I travel is because I can eat on the go, maximizing my time wherever I am.

The hotdog at King’s was impressive in size. Unlike the hotdogs in Reykjavik and Stockholm, this sleepy British down puts out an enormous wiener, so make sure you haven’t eaten in a while before trying to tackle it. As for taste, frankly, the long dog at King’s just doesn’t measure up. I had to wait longer than I expected, and the hotdog just wasn’t tasty enough to warrant all the standing around.

I’ve had better.

Even with its drawbacks, though, it’s still nice to know you can find a hotdog in this remote corner of the world. Yes, it is remote. For a city-dweller, the East Anglia countryside is about as far from civilization as possible. The good news is that, somehow, hotdogs made their way as far out as Bury St. Edmunds, allowing even the country folk to dine ‘n’ dash.

Check out the video review after the jump.


[Thanks to David Harris from the Cambridge Chronicle for shooting the video]

Disclosure: Visit Britain shelled out some cash for this experience, and British Airways supplied the flights. But, the trip to the hotdog place was certainly off the beaten path. I wasn’t asked to cover it.

The bad economy hits the dollar menu with a vengeance

If you have a kid, you’ll probably find yourself at the local McDonalds a little more often than you’d want. But this post is not about the joy a Happy Meal can bring a kid, it is about how McDonalds is handling the declining economy.

The photo on the right was shot at my local store, sorry for the crappy quality, I was trying to be as nonchalant as possible when I snapped it.

The text reads “We’re introducing the double hamburger with cheese to the dollar menu and are moving the double cheeseburger and the McChicken, both at a new price of $1.19 to the sandwiches section of the menu“.

So, naturally I had to ask them what the difference is between a double hamburger with cheese, and a double cheeseburger. The extra 19 cents in a double cheeseburger goes towards ONE slice of cheese.

It is official; the bad economy has finally turned companies completely insane in their quest to squeeze more money out of us.

L.A. Pauses Fast Food Industry

L.A. might be a sprawling and frustrating city, but one thing is for sure: when in the City of Angels, you will always be within walking distance of a fast food joint.

These bastions of greasy cuisine have spread at such an alarming rate that, last year, some people were considering stopping fast food expansion by denying licenses to would-be restaurants. Well, the unthinkable has come to pass. Recently, L.A.’s city council decided to put a stop to the growing fast food restaurant industry in South Los Angeles by not allowing new restaurants to open.

The council cited health concerns as the reason for their decision. They hope that the temporary ban will lead to more healthy eating options. These are currently lacking in many of the South’s poorer neighborhoods. However, the numerous fast food shacks already in operation will remain open. So the law will stop the spread of fast food eateries, but it is not a quick fix.

Some people are quick to criticize the decision, saying that the city should not try to control people’s dining choices. Others say that the moratorium might also stop the expansion of restaurants that are branded fast food even though they don’t even have a deep fat fryer. Apparently, the council’s decision will affect storefront taco stands as well. Don’t expect the debate to stop anytime soon.