jan tilley

7 Strategies for Eating Healthy on the Road

[guestpost]Today I would like to welcome my friend, Jan Tilley, to the blog. Jan is a gifted author and dietician, and her new book 'Eat Well to Be Well' is available now. I'm excited to be giving away a few copies of her book on today's blog, so enjoy the post and be sure to comment below for your chance to win![/guestpost] As a dietitian and professional speaker who is very accustomed to traveling for business, I can tell you that eating healthy while traveling may not be easy, but it is not impossible!

Page1Many of my clients struggle with making healthy choices on the road.  I have a client who entertains customers at dinner several nights a week.  As a part of our counseling, he asked me to go with him to dinner to teach him to make healthy choices at a steakhouse.  What I discovered was that he was making fairly healthy choices but his portions were way out of line.  He started the meal with a large shrimp cocktail, followed by a Caprese salad, a 12-ounce rib eye steak with a loaded baked potato, red wine, and dessert.   None of these were horrible choices, but the overall combined meal exceeded 3000 calories – way more than he needed for the entire day!  For our meal together, I made the following suggestions:  small shrimp cocktail, house salad with dressing on the side, 6 oz. petite filet, steamed vegetables, one glass of red wine, a decaf cappuccino for dessert.  With just a few small changes, he was enjoying a delicious, well-balanced dinner at the same restaurant for less than 700 calories!  To remind him to order wisely, I asked him to repeat to himself as he made his selection from the menu, “the only meal I need to get right is this one, I am only one meal away from success!”

Here are 7 tried and true strategies to help you maneuver the challenges of making healthy food choices on the road:

  1. Drink water. The goal is ½ your body weight in ounces.  If you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for about 75 ounces of water a day.  This will serve two purposes – it will keep you feeling fuller and it will prevent you from thinking you are hungry when really you are just thirsty!
  2. Stick to your normal eating schedule. If you eat breakfast at 7:00 every day at home, then try to stick with that time on the road.  Traveling is not an excuse to miss meals and snacks.  The goal is to eat about every 3 hours to stay energized for your day.  Be sure to pack or purchase healthy foods (think apples, carrots, nuts, jerky) to prevent hunger and maximize productivity.
  3. Keep it real! Avoid processed and fast foods that are laden with fat, sugar, salt and a list of chemicals your body doesn’t need and doesn’t know how to process!  When faced with making difficult choices on the road, look at the menu to determine which choices are made up of primarily vegetables and lean protein without a lot of high-fat sauces and toppings.
  4. Limit or Avoid Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can be a huge calorie trap!  A couple of tips to remember; make lower calorie choices such as a low-calorie mixer, beer, or wine and when consuming alcohol, have one drink followed by one very big glass of water before deciding to have another.
  5. Protein is Your Friend! Eating protein stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you feeling satisfied.  Carbohydrates are digested quickly and leave you feeling hungry again very quickly.  If you will make it a habit to eat lean protein every 3 hours throughout your day, you will be much less likely to overindulge in the evening.
  6. Eat Breakfast. Start your day right with a healthy, protein-rich breakfast.  This will prevent making bad choices midmorning when you are starving!
  7. Free isn’t FREE! Conventions and events are notorious for providing piles of decadent foods for meals and snacks.  It is tempting to load up to keep yourself entertained and awake during meetings, then have some extra to take back to your room for an evening snack.  This spells trouble for your waistline!

For more tools on building a healthy you, check out Jan’s new book, Eat Well to Be Well.  Jan is a powerful thought leader in all things health and wellness.  In the book, she translates the most current science-based information into easy to read tips and tools for making healthy choices in how we eat, sleep, exercise, and manage stress.  Eat Well to Be Well is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and on Jan’s website at www.jtawellness.com.  In addition to her knowledge as a medical professional, Jan is quite the foodie.  On her website, you will find thousands of tried and true healthy recipes along with past blogs and health resources.  While visiting the site, be sure to sign up for Jan’s weekly newsletter!


Get a copy of Jan's book and equip yourself with tools for making healthy choices! I am giving away three copies here on today's blog. If you would like a chance to win one of those copies, leave a comment below sharing your favorite tip for eating healthy while traveling.

Winners will be announced in the comment section, as well as by email, on Friday.

What I am Learning About Choice

Who needs another diet book, right? There are so many on the market, what could possibly be said that hasn’t already been said? That is what I said to myself when my good friend, Jan Tilley, told me she had just written her third book on making good choices with what we eat. Jan’s new book on what it takes for people to “be well” is called “Eat Well to Be Well."

You really want to buy a copy of this book! And I don’t get any royalties for this statement, so I hope you will be curious enough to go out and get a copy. It is $20 that very well could change your life…for good! My thoughts this week come from reading Jan’s book, and I hope you have the same experience when you read it.


My Revelation

When Jan was telling me she was taking on this project I thought to myself, “I wonder how many diet books have been written?”So I went out on Amazon and found out! There are 171,292 entries for “diet books” and 7,009 that were newly released in the last 90 days!

Talk about a competitive market!

I took Jan's book with me on a trip a few weeks ago and started reading. It really is a great read!

Jan writes not about diets, but about healthy choices. Choices that will sustain you so that “…you have a fighting chance to live a healthy, strong, vibrant life well into old age."

Choice.  An interesting word.

A word that says the decision and the repercussions are mine. I am the one accountable. I am the one responsible. The choice is mine to be healthy.

So that

  • If I am working like a dog, and don’t exercise - I chose that!
  • If I get angry at someone at work over something that doesn’t matter - I chose that!
  • If I skip breakfast and don’t do my best in the morning meeting -  I chose that!
  • If I had a bad day and take it out on people who matter most to me when I get home - I chose that!

I think it is so easy to believe the lies like:

  • My boss is putting so much pressure on me I don’t have time to exercise.
  • I deserve to be angry, my rights were violated.
  • Breakfast, who has time for that…I am not hungry anyway.
  • If you had a day like I had, you would take it home with you too.

Yet we recall... choice.

It is so easy to blame others for my situation:

  • The boss
  • McDonalds
  • Drug Companies
  • My spouse
  • My kids
  • My mother

But really, how long are we in western society going to continue our blame mentality? When will we take ownership for our own choices? Maybe it is time to admit that we are not healthy because we do not want to be.

A Quick Story

A few weeks ago I had a trip that took me to the West Coast, the Mid-West, the deep South, and back to the East Coast. I had several interactions with friends and clients on the journey where the conversation turned to health. Here are bullet summaries of what was said:

  • Friend One: “I am 90 days from my doctor putting me on insulin."
  • Friend Two: “My doctor needs to up my dose of Lipitor.”
  • Friend Three: "I am tired all the time, I just don’t have any energy.“
  • Friend Four: “I just don’t feel good about how I look.”
  • Friend Five: “My knees hurt so badly I can’t exercise anymore."
  • Friend Six: “ I lost 15 pounds on XX diet, but I have put on 25 since I stopped.”

As I was reflecting on those conversations, I had a couple revelations:

  • The reason that so many people write diet books is that the market is really big! A lot of people buy them, a lot of people are trying to figure out this health thing, so authors keep writing them!
  • I really care about all these people. Why can’t they make the changes they need to make to be healthy?

Change Is An Emotional Choice

In his book “The Heart of Change,” John Kotter says that the core matter of change is about speaking to people's feelings. That any successful change is brought about by helping each other see the problem or solution that influences the emotion and not just the thought. Kotter goes on to say that the single most important notion for change is quite simple, “People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings.“

Something not going your way? Are you not getting the outcome you desire? Have you not exercised in weeks? Are you working your entire vacation?

What needs to change?

According to Koetter, you do not need any more information or data. What you need is for the feeling you are experiencing to be turned from negative to positive. To see the possibility rather than to succumb to the inevitable.

Call To Action

Many of you who read this blog I have met at some point over the course of my life personally. I know some of you personally and many of you by acquaintance. I want you to know that I care about you. I care about your health and I care about your well-being. If you have a change that you need to make, I hope you will consider the emotional aspect of what you need to do. You will never make the change if you are focused on blaming your circumstance or gathering more data.

5 Steps to making Your Incremental Change

  • Write it down
  • Start today
  • Start small
  • Get an accountability partner
  • Focus on the positive feelings of making the change
  • Keep Going. Don’t stop until your change becomes your lifestyle

Many, many thanks to my friend Jan, who’s book really stimulated these thoughts. I hope you found them to be of value in your leadership life.

I really do think you should own a copy of Jan's book. If you haven’t purchased it yet, I am going to ask Jan to guest blog next week so that you can meet her and really think about interacting with what she has to say about healthy choices.