4

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how to deal with meals during a work-related trip

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 01, 2011 at 8:11 AM

I am going on a 6-day work-related trip that requires me to be with my work team practically at all times during each day (except for sleep periods). This would include all (3 fixed) meals, which would be at local restaurants that are most likely to be chosen by either the boss and/or senior team members. We are expected to stick together as a group the whole time, so stepping away to get more Paleo-friendly foods isn't really an option for me.

What would be the best way to cope (stay Paleo) with this type of environment, while at the same time minimizing the amount of interrogation/awkward remarks from other team members? Please advise! Thanks!

243dacb2ff8a1bd6b292a2b4d6492bf9

(60)

on December 31, 2011
at 01:08 PM

Thanks everyone for the tips! I have another one of these blasted trips coming up...I'll keep everyone's advice in mind =) fingers crossed!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 01, 2011
at 09:54 PM

You made an excellent point; when I was part of a management/technical group that traveled around a large territory, we all knew each other's preferences and needs and tried to find restaurants that were suitable for all. Over time, your co-workers can help quite a bit on the road.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 01, 2011
at 09:52 PM

All of those! Except I'd be more likely to bring oil & vinegar because you can't trust all places not to stick veggie oil or have only "Italian."

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 01, 2011
at 05:58 PM

I should have probably added that I traveled 6-years for business weekly and had to go through the same sort of situation. I was always the healthiest of the bunch, so by giving suggestions, saying I had allergies, kind of made a more genial and flexible atmosphere for food. It helped tremendously and actually introduced people to different kinds of foods, which made for great conversation. I also always flew with non-perishable items and tried to find a close grocery for additional snacks when I didn't have a rental car. You'll do great :)

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6 Answers

4
D72e9d21977363ea1850fa00555f151a

on November 01, 2011
at 12:22 PM

Whenever I travel and end up eating with my team, I usually just order a steak, side of vegetables and a salad. Hold the dressing for the salad and ask for olive oil instead. I also always look at the menu online before we get there so I don't spend 20 minutes trying to place an order.

If there is a grocery store close by where we are staying, I just walk there and get some avocados and anything else I find suitable. Might even bring the avocado to the restaurant with me, if I feel the need.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 01, 2011
at 09:52 PM

All of those! Except I'd be more likely to bring oil & vinegar because you can't trust all places not to stick veggie oil or have only "Italian."

2
E4ee71db471d7fe38c8310f20f67875b

on November 01, 2011
at 01:14 PM

This one is a tough one. I just got back from close to three weeks of out-of-town meetings. We had catered buffet meals most days, plus a few trips to restaurants. Here's my (imperfect) strategy:

  • At restaurants, ordered meat and veggies. Had some great veal while out at an Italian restaurant!
  • I mentioned to both my boss and the meeting organizers that I have "a mild grain allergy." When asked if that meant I was gluten-free, I explained that I am actually gluten and grain free (explaining that that means no corn either) and that consumption makes me feel ill. It helps that they know.
  • At the grill next door, I grabbed bunless, grass-fed burgers and piled with avocado for lunch.
  • I ran out to a grocery store to pick up a few veggies, fruits and some coconut butter. Made a great snack and I didn't get too many funny looks.

Good luck!

edit I also drank a TON of tea while traveling for work. It kept me feeling full while my coworkers grabbed snacks. Between me and the Aussies who only drank hot water with lemon, we kept the coffee and tea station in constant refill status....

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on November 01, 2011
at 01:45 PM

I do pretty much like the others here. Plus, I've "cultivated" the steak guy nomnomnom aura (hopefully not in too much of an obnoxious way). So when they look for restaurants, it has to have steaks in it because he "really likes big steaks". Actually less of an issue being a steak guy than a vegetarian or anti-gluten guy (glad I don't have allergies).

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 01, 2011
at 09:54 PM

You made an excellent point; when I was part of a management/technical group that traveled around a large territory, we all knew each other's preferences and needs and tried to find restaurants that were suitable for all. Over time, your co-workers can help quite a bit on the road.

1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on November 01, 2011
at 01:31 PM

Eating out does not have to be difficult. Just try and eat as close to how you would normally eat. The biggest difference being that someone else is preparing your food and likely none of it is grass fed, organic and you need to be aware of what you are ordering.

Breakfast: select fresh fruits, fresh cheese or unflavored yogurt if you do dairy order a couple eggs, I always ask for mine cooked in butter (better op than oils) get some fresh tomato slices and avocado and you will be set all day without hunger

lunch/dinner: always get proteins on the grill (fish, chicken, beef, pork)

avoid sauces

always get a steamed veggie side and/or baked potato

make sure to get olive oil and vinegar on the side of salads

ask for butter!!

a glass of wine with dinner and lots of water or bubbly water won't hurt you.

just remember to keep it simple!

if you bring snacks with you to have in between its helpful, but really not necessary if you are getting enough fat you will be plenty full.....

1
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 01, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Realize you are probably going to have to make some compromises and decide in advance what your top priorities are. For many it's avoiding gluten, but you may have others. Some people are willing to compromise on some "safe starches" if necessary, like white rice or baked potato (sans skin). Think about these things before you go. One of things you will almost certainly have to compromise on when eating out is cooking oils, so it's probably best to come to terms with that at the outset. Consider a fermented cod liver or fish oil supplement while traveling if you don't already take one to help offset all the omega 6s. If you have a serious reaction or allergy to any food, make sure to let a supervisor know before you go if it all possible.

It can be hard when you don't have any choice in restaurant selection, but most restaurants will have something you can eat. Breakfast should be easy. Bacon and eggs are a pretty universal breakfast food--even most fast food places will give you side orders of eggs and bacon or sausage without bread. Most sit down restaurants will have eggs to order, omelets, etc. Just skip the breads and hashbrowns. Order a fruit cup to go with it.

For lunch, order a burger or grilled chicken sandwich without a bun and/or a big salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. If you are eating Mexican food, order the fajitas and skip the tortilla. At a Chinese restaurant, look for meat and veggie dishes where the meats haven't been deep fried and if possible aren't covered in sauce. A straight stir-fry would be best (without soy sauce if you can't tolerate gluten at all). Plain white rice may be an acceptable compromise for you as an accompaniment.

Dinner should generally be the easiest. Most restaurants have some kind of slab of meat (steak, grilled chicken, grilled fish) that you can have with veggies or salad.

Consider bringing paleo friendly snacks to keep in your hotel room for days when you couldn't get enough food to eat at the restaurants. Nuts, jerky, dried fruit, and freeze dried veggies all travel well. If you are desperate you can get pork rinds at any gas station.

Most importantly, if you don't want to deal with awkward questions, etc., don't make any comments about your diet. If someone asks why you are ordering your burgers without bread or anything like that, give a brief answer and quickly change the subject. "I'm not really a bread person. By the way, I loved your thoughts for improving safety measures at the Podunk facility." Don't say you have an allergy if you don't. I know a lot of people recommend that, but it can come back to haunt you if you decide at some point (even years) in the future to treat yourself to a brownie in front of that person.

If someone offers you an appetizer or dessert you don't want, just say "no thank you". The worst thing you can do is offer an explanation because that opens it up for discussion. Immediately following the "no thank you" by asking the person a question about themselves will make it even less likely any comments will be made.

0
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 01, 2011
at 12:07 PM

Tell them now that you have a some food allergies and give a few suggested restaurants - so start researching now. The longer you wait the harder it's going to be. You can pretty much make anything suitable for yourself anywhere you go, it won't be perfect, but it would be nice if you could slide a couple of "good" restaurants into the mix.

You never know.. they could really appreciate not having to do any work to find a tasty place to eat. And bring snacks along to help round things out in case you're stuck. Good luck!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on November 01, 2011
at 05:58 PM

I should have probably added that I traveled 6-years for business weekly and had to go through the same sort of situation. I was always the healthiest of the bunch, so by giving suggestions, saying I had allergies, kind of made a more genial and flexible atmosphere for food. It helped tremendously and actually introduced people to different kinds of foods, which made for great conversation. I also always flew with non-perishable items and tried to find a close grocery for additional snacks when I didn't have a rental car. You'll do great :)

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