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?



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 trail mix with roasted nuts and raisins.

2. 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. Think twice before ordering appetizers, which are often deep-fried and may contain over 1000 calories.

4. Choose pasta with red sauce versus white sauce.

5. Choose lean, grilled meats: chicken breast, beef or tenderloin, pork tenderloin, or fish. Skip the fancy sauces, as these are often loaded with fat.

6. Ask for a to-go box. Many servings in restaurants will last for two meals.

7. Ask for salad dressing, butter, and sour cream on the side. These are delicious additives but use them moderately.

8. 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 contain over 1,000 calories each. However, ordering a garden salad before your meal is a good idea; it will help fill you up.

9. Skip dessert.

10. Avoid sugary drinks – regular 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 light beer, or a vodka tonic.

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

Until next time, be healthy!

Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate is an award-winning dietitian based in Missouri. Her mission is to educate the public on sound, evidence-based nutrition. Do you have a nutrition question? Email her at [email protected]

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