Healthy festive fare for business travellers

Fruit Christmas TreeTravel for business over the festive season can be brilliant for networking but a disaster for getting a nutritious diet.

Nutritional Scientists at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health are bidding for a simple, united approach to advice on healthy eating.  Faced with mixed nutritional messages and the season for feasting, a little guidance is welcome.  Their professors, Ludwig and Willett, say that we should focus on the quality of fat and carbohydrate in the diet.

This seems particularly apt because a festive networking group I’m attending lists the lunchtime nibbles as including savoury rolls (vegetarian and traditional), pastry cheese straws and crisps.  An amazing selection of processed saturated fats with refined carbohydrates.

Ludwig and Willet go on to say that replacing saturated fats of animal origin with plant oils, and refined starches and sugar with whole grains is important for better health.  These are wise words to keep in mind while we take ourselves around the smorgasbords at festive season functions.

Without submitting to bah humbug – and travelling around the festive season, which tasty, nutritious treats can we enjoy?

Smoked salmon

Brown bread sandwich with smoked salmon, avocado topped with chive and pepperSmoked salmon is popular in festive nibbles as it has lots of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids.  Placed in a little wholemeal bread, it is very tasty.

Cream cheese will reduce the healthy credentials, watercress or any dark green leaves will increase them.

A turkey sandwich

Lots of outlets have a festively themed sandwich.  Turkey is lean protein, rich in B vitamins and selenium.  With a bit of cranberry sauce in wholemeal bread, it’s great.  The main sandwich outlets do a fairly healthy granary bread sandwich with some rocket at under 400kcal.

There are also ‘festive works’ versions that include stuffing and more, getting them up to over 600kcal.

Raw veg

Christmas vegetable appetizers.Cucumbers with soft cheese and sun dried tomatoes and vegetable sticks with dipIt’s possible to get takeaway tubs and even find small amounts on buffets.  Not always exciting, but a few cherry tomatoes and some veggie sticks are much healthier than those cheese straws, and often better tasting!

Raw nuts

Raw nuts are seasonal favourites.  Walnuts, Brazils, almonds, contain those good oils with plenty of vitamin E.

The protein provides satiation, making us less hungry for the refined carbs.

Festive winter salads

Winter salad for Christmas

The takeout sandwich cafes have some high spots, they look delicious and nutritious.

Personal Fruit Stash

Easy peeler little oranges are fit to travel and give a great burst of vitamin C.

We may need to carry a few wet wipes and a bag for the peel.

A couple of warnings

Extremely special treats come with extremely special sugar and fat content.

The Christmas cake slice at one popular bakery chain contains an incredible 67% of our recommended daily intake (RDI) of sugar – all in one small slice. The icing on the cake is where much of the damage is done.  A bit of research on mince pies shows that the sugar content is considerably less (around 19% of RDI).  However, an absolutely delicious mince pie from a popular sandwich outlet contains 33% of our RDI of saturated fat.  In one little mince pie!

Enjoy, celebrate – but not too much!!

© 2018 Executive Travel Vitality


Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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