Eating right when you are at home is relatively straightforward – stock the refrigerator and pantry with the right foods and resist the temptation to eat out. But when you have to travel for work, it takes on a whole new level of complexity. Here’s how to eat healthy when you travel so you can maintain your progress.

Tips for staying on track when your job takes you on the road:

1). Mentally commit to staying on track.

‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ doesn’t apply here. Whatever happens on your business trip to Vegas is going to come home with you this time, and you’ll see it in the way the seat belt fits on the return trip. Don’t allow yourself to mentally segregate your home and out of town eating habits. Remember, even if you take a plane to another city, you’re still the same caveman in your genes.

2). Prepare yourself for your trip.

Mentally prepare, planning each days meals in advance
You know you’re going to need to wear clothes, so you pack them. You don’t leave home expecting to buy all your clothes abroad, so why would you buy all your food abroad? Just like you set out the right amount of socks to get you through your trip, set out the food you’ll need as well. If you are a seasoned road warrior you know exactly what to expect – you’ll be in airports, hotels, and conference rooms. Plan out the days and think ahead to how many meals or meal replacements you’ll need to get through. If you know the town or the airport, think ahead to what restaurants you want to go to.

3). Pack some snacks to cover you for the trip.

My favorite bars are Rise bars, Luna bars, and Pure bars. All of these are all natural with no added salt. Stock up on your bars and bring enough variety that you won’t get bored.

Nuts are also easy to pack and carry. Portion the nuts out into singe serving bags and pack a few in your carryon so you have an alternative to the honey roasted sort you might get at 30,000 feet.

So now you’ve packed your food and committed to staying on track. But what about the client meetings and dinners? Let’s start with the basics…

4). Never show up to a meeting hungry.

Have a meal replacement bar, a bag of nuts, or a small meal before you show up to a meeting. There’s bound to be a tray of diabetes-inducing food available, and if you are hungry and stuck in a room for 2+ hours your resolve is bound to fray over time. Remember one of my cardinal rules is ‘never eat free food’.

5) Make eating out a fun game.

Here’s where you need to make the challenge of eating out into a fun game. Consider your hunter-gatherer ancestors, who had to actually scour the wilderness looking for something to sustain them. They had it rough, but in comparison you have it easy. All you have to do is hunt and gather your way through your trip to find foods your ancestors might have enjoyed.

It starts with finding a place to eat. At an airport, I start by going to the directory and finding a few restaurants that might offer some half-way decent fare. I then get my cardio by stopping by each one quickly and scanning the menu to see if I can piece together anything caveman-worthy. Usually I end up finding something fairly quickly, especially in the U.S. (International travel poses its own problems, which we’ll tackle another day).

You might be looking at all this and thinking “Sure, this all makes sense, but it will take too much time.” That’s true, all this does take time. You need time to prepare and time to find food on the road. But this time is well-spent, and if you invest some time and money in your own health, it will start to pay off in no time. Besides, working your tail off and sacrificing your health is no way to live.

If you’d like to keep this survival guide handy when you’re on the road, here’s a link to download it: