I recently spent a week in Chicago, a city not known for its healthy food. As a foodie, I also felt obliged to try much of Chicago's best cuisine. Still, by the end of the week, I had dropped two pounds. Here's how I eat and travel:
1. Change your watch the morning you leave.
That means if you're traveling to some place three hours behind, you should be eating breakfast 3 hours later than usual. Most people change their watch on the plane; this can mean you have lunchtime or dinnertime twice. Plan on having a snack, not a meal, on the plane, unless you're definitely flying through lunch or dinner time at your destination. (Try to bring an apple or baby carrots with you as a snack.)
2. Drink lots of water on the plane.
If you're thirsty, you'll probably eat more. I also find that when I fly, everything gets backed up in my system. Drinking lots of water helps.
3. Eat a yogurt as an afternoon snack.
Yogurt also helps me stay regular, which is especially important when I'm not getting as many fruits and veggies on the road. You can find yogurt in a lot of places now. I like Brown Cow yogurts, especially strawberry and blueberry low fat fruit on bottom.
4. Pack instant oatmeal and dried fruit.
You can use the coffee maker in your room to heat water for instant oatmeal. If you add dried fruit (I like cranberries), you have a super healthy breakfast (or at least way healthier than eggs and sausage!) If you can get a banana or two to add, even better!
5. Buy fresh fruit to munch on!
Chances are there's some sort of grocery store within walking distance of your hotel. More and more stores now carry fresh fruit, as well. Make a point of going to a grocery store your first day and picking up some fresh fruit. Apples and bananas are great.
6. Set a daily food budget.
I set my food budget at $15/day. You might want to be a bit more generous, but with oatmeal for breakfast costing about $2, that left $13 for lunch and dinner. I usually bought a sandwich or a bowl of soup for lunch, which was usually around $5, and found a salad or a sandwich for dinner for around $8. At the very least, this will make you think twice about ordering dessert, or about getting the appetizer and the main course.
7. Get exercise!
Most people walk a lot when they travel, which is great. When you do walk, though, try to make at least some of it brisk walking. Not only will you get to see more, but it'll help you burn more calories. Jumping on the bed is another great way to get exercise.
8. Set a weight goal, and don't weigh yourself.
My goal for when I got back was to lose a pound over the course of the week. I had hoped to have access to a scale, but didn't. In the end, I was so nervous about whether I'd make the weight, that I ended up eating less.
9. Choose a really good splurge restaurant.
When I travel, I do want to eat out in the city I'm visiting. If I ate at restaurants every night, though, I wouldn't make my calorie or my money budget. Instead, I choose one or two really fabulous places to eat out, and thoroughly enjoy my meal. Try searching the chowhound.com discussion boards for good restaurants (ask the front desk of the hotel for the name of your neighborhood if you're in a big city).
10. When in doubt, do what'd you'd do at home.
Normally have a snack at 3 every afternoon? Eat it! Usually have a big breakfast and a lighter lunch? Then go for sausage and eggs for breakfast. Normally don't have dessert with dinner? Then don't order it when you're out to eat. We tend to lose sight of our habits when we're travelling, and they are what will keep us on track.