Elite Road Warrior Group Research shows that this one simple bad habit takes down many road warriors. You find them everywhere. In the airport, flight, gas station, board room, the bar, and on and on.
What is it?
Now, Russ loves snacks. The problem is, he eats them on the road at the worst times, not to mention he eats the wrong things. It starts with plane snacks (and I don’t mean plain), whether at the airport or on the actual plane.
Then there are snacks offered during a meeting or a conference.
And how do you resist “snacky” things at the bar? (You know, the ones that have had who knows how many drunk hands touching them?)
Russ wonders why he feels like he never really eats a full meal yet he is overweight. C’mon Russ, seriously?
Why You Must Carry a Lunch Box to Work on the Road
One of the smallest yet most effective energy habit changes I made on the road was learning to carry a controlled substance. I know, most of the time that’s illegal, but as most things, there’s a way around it.
In this case, it’s carrying the correct controlled substance: a healthy and sustainable snack.
The power behind the concept is two parts and in the name.
1. Carrying – You bring it with you/carry it along with you. I can already hear the whining (and I don’t mean vino):
- I’m trying to pack light.
- I already have too much to carry.
- What if it needs to be refrigerated?
- I have small hands and it will bring attention to them (okay, I may have pushed it on that one).
These are all easy issues to overcome, and we’ll address them later, but for now, you need to carry – packing some heat, my friend.
2. Controlled – This is the opposite of Russ because it is not reactionary but controlled.
- You bring it – You literally bring food with you from home (it’s possible and we’ll talk about what and how).
- You buy it – This requires a little more effort on the road, but you literally find a healthy store to buy controlled substances for you to have on hand to eat on the road.
Carrying a Controlled Substance is YOUR Lunch Box you must carry with you on the road.
The point of this article is minimizing and ultimately eliminating being caught off guard. When I don’t Carry and Control my supplemental nutrition, I get reactive and lazy.
Not a good combination on the road.
You may be asking, “But what do you put your food, your controlled substance, in while traveling?
Well, it’s not an old school or a “carrying booze” paper bag, but a well-thought-out item.
And full disclosure, I tried one of those old school metal lunch boxes but I couldn’t fit everything I wanted in it. Just goofin – although, that would be cool and a great conversation starter in an airport.
The one I finally landed on I found on Amazon (imagine that) it’s called the OPUX Premium Insulated Lunch Box
This OPUX lunch box has:
- Black Fabric with two zippers
- 10 x 8 x 5.5in
- Two handles – one on top and one on the side. The side handle has a clip to attach it to anything you want
- Optional strap if you so desire to use it
- Insulated inside as well as an insulated pouch
- 10 Different color choices
What I love about the one handle is I can attach it to my carry-on handle. I put it on top of my computer bag so it’s easy to get around and not “one more thing” to carry.
THREE WAYS YOU CAN CARRY A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
1. YOUR FIRST MEAL
So many road warriors become victims right out of the gate (literally and figuratively). They leave the house and decide to get a quick breakfast at the airport. I meet a certain guy often on the plane and have even given him a nickname: Egg McMuffin Man.
Let me tell you his story…
He sits down (we’ll call him Ed McMuffin), opens up his McDonald’s bag, and pulls out his two Egg McMuffins, hash brown, and his extra-large Diet Coke. (Pause) Of course.
As he’s scarfing down his food like someone is going to try and steal it or something, he looks over at me.
Let me set the full picture: I’m eating a controlled substance. I brought my own breakfast called the Anchor Day Casserole through security and even on to the plane (I know, crazy, right?!). I feel stoked to have my clean and green meal, and in this case, it is the first meal of the day on the first day of my business trip.
Egg McMuffin Man looks at me, looks at my controlled substance, looks down at his food, then the justifications begin.
Ed: “Yeah, I was in a hurry this morning.”
Me: “Really?” (With just a touch of sarcasm leading him to tell me more…)
Ed: “Had to grab something quick.”
Me: “Hmmm.” (Long pause for dramatic effect.) “In that long McDonald’s line?”
Ed: “Yeah, it took like 20 minutes.”
Me: “Bummer,” (then with a sense of pride and joy,) “this took me two minutes to warm up and 30 seconds to put in this Tupperware to take it to go.”
Ed: (Quickly responds) “I used to be THAT guy. Now I’m THIS guy.”
Me: “Why don’t you get back to being THAT guy again?”
Ed: (Starts talking again as ketchup drips on his dress shirt)
and the excuses begin all over again…Give it a rest, Ed. Make a healthier choice.
I want to do everything I can to make sure the very first meal of my trip or the very first meal of any day on the road is clean and green, and I’ll go to great lengths to make that happen.
You have control. Step up and take it.
This principle can also apply for your last meal, and I don’t mean “dead man walking” on Death Row.
I’m talking about before your flight home.
Often, I’ll purchase a healthy meal and take it to-go so I can eat at the airport or on the plane so I’m not left with minimal options and maximum justifications.
This can be done and carrying a controlled substance in your Work Lunch Box makes it possible.
2. YOUR GREENS
The road offers “greens” and I don’t mean cold hard cash, but they’re often hard to come by on the road.
I mean nutritional greens that you intentionally add to your daily nutrition. Well, it is difficult if you leave it to chance.
Do you get a sense I don’t leave this to chance anymore? Nor should you! You need to have a plan for making sure you’re getting proper fuel in your system on a consistent basis, and this begins with your greens.
HERE ARE THREE QUICK WAYS TO KEEP THE GREENS COMING DURING YOUR DAY:
There are certain hotels that will have greens with their breakfast. If you are at a hotel that has a breakfast buffet and an omelet bar, they most likely have spinach. I’ll request a large side of sautéed spinach, which is a perfect way to add greens to your breakfast. At every restaurant, I ask for more greens than what’s on the menu, but here’s the difference: I ask for one now and one to go. I want to have them later, even if later never comes (but somehow it always does).
This is my master evil plan all the time. I make sure I have at least enough greens for my 1st day of travel and not leave it to chance.
Again, in a pinch (literally), you could use a high-quality greens powder to keep all your options open.
Begin to get in the habit of stopping somewhere to stock up on your snacks, especially your greens, so you can have them when (not if) you need them. I’ll buy a bag of spinach, kale, or spring mix to have and can keep in the hotel fridge. It’s only a few dollars and worth having on hand.
Now, the 3rd way to carry a controlled substance in your Work Lunch Box is…
3. YOUR GO-TO SNACK
All of us tend to have a snack we prefer. We eat it by default and we choose it regularly.
On the road, we need to make the healthiest choice and choose a healthy go-to snack.
Mine is mixed nuts (peanuts and fillers sold separately and for the record, I used to work for peanuts, so I don’t need to eat them!). It’s one of two fuel foods I purchase every time on the road (the other being mixed greens). Here are my choices of mixed nuts confirmed by the research of Dr. Axe
- Brazilian Nuts
Nuts are rich in fiber and smart fats. Since your brain is approximately 60 percent fat, you need good fat in your diet to nourish it, and nuts are one of the most brain-nourishing choices you can make.
I’m a huge fan of mixed nuts because of their big punch of nutritional value and how easy they are to take on the go. Not all nuts are created equal. While there are plenty of nuts jam-packed with nutrients, some types of processing may diminish the health benefits of nuts.
Pre-shelled nuts, for instance, leave the natural casings of the nut exposed, causing the natural fats and oils to break down and become rancid more easily. Pre-seasoned or flavored nuts can also be high in added sugar or salt, reducing their health properties. Even nuts that are roasted can be unhealthy because they are roasted in harmful hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats.
You don’t have to choose my go-to snack (although I highly recommend choosing at least a couple of mixed nuts that you like).
Here’s the Key: Find something low in sugar and high in protein every chance you can.
PRO TIP: Stop at a grocery store (healthier the better like Whole Foods or TJ). But I hear often, “I don’t have the time!” You’re right, you never “have time” you must “make the time.”
If you plan for it, it’s amazing how quickly you can get in and get out. But again, this is a pro trip, not an excuse tip.
Lastly, what do I actually put the food in and how do I eat it?
Key Items to Maximize the Lunch Box
1. Spork – but wait, there’s more. The one I use has a knife option as well. I know, right?
I used to bring crappy plastic wear from home or picked them up at the airport but often forgot them or they were just so flimsy. I invested a few dollars and bought a camping style spork with a knife – 12 Pack Sporks, Durable & BPA Free Tritan Sporks, Spoon Fork & Knife Combo Utensils
I carry two with me at all times and put them in the inside pocket of the Work Lunch Box
2. Tupperware – I geeked out on this one after thinking any kind would do.
But I wanted to maximize my space in my lunch box and I also wanted the Tupperware to stay sealed.
So, I use one that is: “8.5 x 2.5 x 6
Then two that are: “6 x 2.5 x 4
So it maximizes space and can stack right on top of each other
Ironically, I found mine at Pavilions in Southern California. Go Figure. I haven’t been able to find the exact ones on Amazon just yet.
I did find something close here
You just have to experiment with whatever you chose as your Work Lunch Box.
3. Pink Sea Salt / Pepper Grinders – I’m a big fan of pink Himalayan sea salt due to the incredible trace minerals found in it and it’s the healthiest salt you can eat. I also like ground pepper so I have two small grinders that easily fit in my Work Lunch Box. I found mine at Trader Joe’s.
4. Individualized Wet Wipes – Why? Have you seen me eat? Just kidding.
But I want to stay as healthy as I can on the road and one of the most germ-infested locations is a plane and specifically the seat tray.
How many times have you seen someone sick rest their head on the seat tray and hack all over it.
And I’m going to put my Work Lunch Box and healthy meal on THAT? Not a chance.
So, I have these individualized wet wipes to wipe down the tray AND seat
I have them on the road in a pinch.
I bought off Amazon: Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand and Face Wipes Singles, 24-Count (Pack of 5)
Note: I also carry tea bags in my Lunch Box (I’m not a coffee guy but a tea freak, okay snob) and both the Individualized Wet Wipes and tea bags easily fit in the front zipped pocket.
Packing your own healthy food may be a new concept for you. So, your baby step to carrying a controlled substance may simply be to bring your first meal or bring some healthy snacks at home. Or it may be to get the suggested lunch box.
Do something, anything, just not nothing to master the business travel life.
Go and get your Fuel Edge on today!
This article is brought to you by the Sleep Score Labs where you can find all types of sleep resources such as blue-blocker glasses and eye masks that I endorse and actually carry in my Road Warrior sleep kit.