Eating (well) on the road

Greetings from Nova Scotia!

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind, so much so that I lost myself a bit. I haven’t been cooking at all. My time has been taken up by working full time for 2 weeks, writing to very tight deadlines, flying to Ottawa to attend a conference, and over the past few days in Nova Scotia I’ve finally allowed myself a little break before I head back to London tonight! I hope to return to a semi-regular posting schedule as soon as possible. In the meantime…

I first had the idea for this post when I was in Sheffield at the end of March for a(nother) conference. One of the major challenges I find with conferences (work travel in general) is keeping a healthy and nutritious diet on a reasonable budget, since I am usually constantly on the go, with barely time to use the bathroom! There also tends to be a lot of coffee on an empty stomach, or sickly sweet cookies to accompany (I am not a fan), accompanied by mysterious-looking and dubious conference food.

Over the past couple of years I have developed some habits that I try to stick to when traveling, and I thought I would share them here. Although the offerings of UK supermarkets are pretty decent, I still find myself falling into the trap of wraps on the go which or grabbing chips (crisps) as a quick snack here and there. That coupled with lack of regular exercise (aka very little) is enough to make me feel out of whack. Not to mention that plane and train and especially airport food is often hideously overpriced and often full of bad stuff.

Here is what I do

  • I always try to stay at accommodation with a kitchen. However, this isn’t always possible or desirable depending on the nature of the trip. When staying at a hotel, I look for one with fridges in the room — it makes things so much easier.
  • I take teabags with me when possible (particularly herbal teas that don’t need milk added are quite good). Most cafes charge more for a cup than the cost of a whole box of tea. (Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to coffee, since I can’t stand instant).
  • I always try to bring food for train/plane journeys. Make a big meal the night before that can be eaten cold. (Pad Thai is a particular favourite of mine for this – bonus points if it’s something that tastes better the next day!).
  • Bring snacks that will last. When I went to Riga in early March, I brought muffins, and most recently in Sheffield for a conference and brought along more muffins, healthy cookies, and crackers. Nuts make very good snacks too.
  • In Sheffield, I even brought my own breakfast: homemade granola, a bowl and spoon, and then I bought a small jug of milk when I got there. My room had a fridge (see above) and so I was able to save £30 in breakfasts over 3 days and knew exactly what I was eating. Fresh fruit makes a good accompaniment to granola too.
  • Do some research ahead of time and make a list of suitable restaurants and cafes that are close to your hotel/conference venue. This is something I’m trying to get better at. When it comes to trips for pleasure, I do a lot of research — sometimes too much. But often for a business trip I do not put a lot of effort into research. I think this is important, because often you have to make quick choices on the go and if you already have a list of places that fit the bill, you’re ahead of the game.

Those are my tips. 🙂 I can’t wait to get back to cooking so expect an update or two over the next few weeks!

Hotel living
Hotel living

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