Anyone who has been on tour knows how tough it is to eat healthy on the road: you eat out for every meal, which usually means fast food. Fortunately there are smart choices you can make, as Wendy Jo Peterson points out in her article Healthy Eating On The Run. In this post I will cover the two tips from Peterson’s original article that are most applicable to sound engineers. For more from Wendy Jo Peterson, listen to my interview with her, Food And Drink At Work For Sound Engineers.
Make A Plan
[quote name=”Wendy Jo Peterson” align=”left” picture=”http://www.sounddesignlive.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/food-drink-at-work-for-sound-engineers-wendy-jo-peterson-headshot.jpg”]Think ahead. Plan where you will eat and consider what meal options are available. Look for restaurants or carry-out with a wide range of menu items.[/quote]
Eating healthy will be easier down the road if everyone is on the same page from the start. Bring up the topic of food at the very first pre-tour meeting. One or two naysayers can easily derail group decision making, so it is better to have issues come out early in the game instead of right before dinner. Some people, especially actors, might want to always eat after the show; you’ll have to work that timing out. In my experience those people are in the minority and have no problem getting their food to go when everyone else eats before the show.
If you are on a small tour, then the tour manager is also likely the bus driver, the technical director, and the drummer. That means they won’t have time to organize every meal. Offering to find a couple of meal options in each new city means that you won’t end up eating burgers night after night. The best strategy is to find two or three different restaurants with healthy options and carry-out within a block of each other so that there will be something to satisfy everyone. Tools like Yelp and UrbanSpoon can simplify the process. Just figure out where you will be around lunch time and put that location into Yelp. Afterwards, build good karma by writing a short review of those places with notes for other tourists.
Making a plan also means preparing some meals ahead of time, for when things run late. For snacks, bring a bag of your favorite fresh or dried fruits and whole-food bars (Kind Bar, Laura Bar). For a true meal, try a protein-rich sandwich with hummus and sprouts or a salad in a jar. What is salad in a jar? Take a mason jar and layer dressing on the bottom, dense veggies or beans next, then light or leafy vegetables, and pasta or potatoes on top. When it’s time for lunch, just shake it all up and eat it. Want more ideas? Listen to the entire interview:
Make Smart Restaurant Choices
No matter where you end up eating, you can make smart choices with any menu.
- Menu terms that often mean lower fat and calories: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, steamed.
- Menu terms that often mean more fat and calories: batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, breaded.
- Go easy on the booze. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without any nutrients. (Drinking alcohol reduces your blood sugar level, therefore fooling your body into thinking that it needs more food.)
- A baked potato offers more fiber, fewer calories, and less fat than fries as long as you skip the sour cream and butter. Top your potato with broccoli and a sprinkle of cheese or salsa. (I LOVE FRIES! That is all.)
- Go easy on the sour cream, cheese, mayonnaise, tartar sauce, guacamole, bacon, and other high-fat toppings. (Fries need sauce! Damn it!! Oh, apparently ketchup is okay.)
- Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit, and yogurt for a light lunch or snack. (I wish there were a JambaJuice next to every place I worked!)
Here are a couple of great meals that I make regularly and take to work with me. See the full article at Super Easy Meals That Last You For Days.
- Carbohydrates: Bread
- Protein: Meats (turkey, ham), Cheese (gouda), Hummus
- Vitamins: Avocado, Tomato
- Carbohydrates: Couscous
- Protein: Meat/Cheese (tuna)
- Vitamins: Crunchy (vegetables)/Soft (fruit)
- Dressing: Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
To prepare: Make Couscous, chop vegetables and fruit, mix everything
Cost: About $10
Value: About 3 meals
As you can see, this recipe is simple and flexible. Grab whatever fruits and vegetables you like at the store, then mix to taste. You can also substitute healthy nut oils (pumpkin seed, hazelnut, walnut, etc.) for the olive oil and balsamic or sherry vinegar for the lemon juice to change up the dressing. For an Asian-inspired dressing, try a little toasted sesame oil and seasoned rice vinegar. A dab of mustard will help prevent your dressing from separating.
What are your favorite ways to eat healthy on the road?