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Wood board with pita triangles and brightly colored vegetables

6 Dining Tips for Business Travelers

Article by IMG Academy 05.18.2016

You have a business trip looming, and you’re dreading it because you know the havoc travel can wreak on your eating habits. Client dinners, cocktails and stress all conspire to whittle away at your willpower. Keep your obligations from undoing all your hard work with these tips.

1.    Do some research.

Check out menus online ahead of time and try to pick spots for lunch and dinner that offer healthy options (or call ahead and see if the chef is open to small tweaks when you order, such as steaming vegetables or holding sauces). Consider a small plates–style (aka “tapas”) restaurant, a hot dining trend. It will let you sample a lot of different dishes without going overboard.

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2.    Keep drinking — water.

“Your brain can confuse thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can keep you from overeating,” says Jamey Rice, a sports dietitian and nutrition coach at IMG Academy. Plus, alternating water with alcoholic drinks will force you to pace yourself so you are still at your best the next day. (Remember: Mixed drinks tend to have the most calories and sugar.)  

Glass of water on wooden table

3.    Skip the sides.

First, avoid the breadbasket. This may take some hefty willpower, but it’s usually empty calories. Next, many entrees come with a side of potatoes, pasta or rice, starchy carbohydrates that you don’t need. Ask the waiter to hold the sides and opt for extra vegetables (or substitute brown rice) instead. 


4.    Don’t “bank” your calories. You know you’re headed to a nice restaurant so you starve yourself all day to prepare, but that sets you up for overeating. You’re better off having a normal breakfast and lunch (high in protein and fiber to keep you satisfied) and maybe even a mid-afternoon snack of nuts, suggests Rice. By dinner, you won’t be ravenous, and you’ll be less tempted to over-order. 

Eggs and avocado on toast

5. Choose an app for that. Appetizers are the new entrees. They have portion control built-in and are ideal for people who like to try different things. Of course, you should still opt for something that’s high in lean protein, whole grains and vegetables, but if you can’t resist a splurge, at least it will be a small one.


5.    Stay present and mindful.

We tend to eat more when we’re socializing. Take a few moments before dinner or when you sit down to focus on your breathing, calm your mind and set an intention to make healthy choices.

in-flight dining tips

The menu options on most flights are a turbulent proposition, but here's how to make smart choices in the air. 

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