February 10, 2014

Guest Post: Eating Healthy at Blogging Conferences

By Andrea

Attending a blogging conference, or any day-long event for that matter, can be an exercise in poor eating.  Travel, coupled with being in an unfamiliar place with limited free time and limited resources (such as transportation and storage), provides significant obstacles to eating healthy.  During your trip you’re often at the mercy of vending machines, food stands at the airport, and the food offerings provided by the event.  And let’s face it, as meager or extravagant as those offerings may be, they don’t take your particular dietary considerations into account.  So how can you eat healthy and still indulge while at a blogging conference?

With these simple tips I’ve discovered by attending a number of blogging conferences, you’ll be able to stay fueled and eat as healthy as possible during the journey to and from the event and while at the event itself.  Whether it’s a photography conference or a blogging conference, you will be able to apply and utilize these tips and tricks.

I’m a food blogger and the food provided at these events are typically upscale and outstanding.  However, they do tend to focus on indulging all weekend long, with the idea of a healthy balance being cast aside.  We have to be smart enough to know when to indulge and when to feed our bodies with real fuel. While I don’t have a dietary restriction or a food allergy that limits what foods I can eat, I do have a belief that I need to feed and fuel my body as best that I can.  This means healthy whole foods and of course chocolate, because life without chocolate is really not even worth discussing!

Here’s what I have found that works to keep me functioning like a human while still having fun and enjoying food that I don’t get exposed to often!

For The Car Trip or Flight

Bringing food items from home is important. The last thing we want is to be laden down with extra items in our suitcase and carry-on, but a few things from home can last your entire trip and keep you going from session to session!

  • Prepackaged bars, such as Clif, Luna, or Odwalla bars are perfect! They are easily stashable, use great ingredients, and offer enough power to get you through a plane trip or a lunch.  If you’re ambitious you can make your own bars with oats and dried fruit.
  • Trail mix!  A mixture of dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and possibly some chocolate chips make a great airport snack! The person in the seat next to you will be jealous because they are only going to have the in-flight snack while you have a delicious snack with all the fixins. This snack is also great to munch on in between sessions. It provides fruit, protein, and carbs to keep you alert and content.
  • Take a trip down memory lane to your elementary school days and pack a peanut-butter sandwich!  It travels well and is something that does not need to be refrigerated.  Sure the peanut butter smell might seem overwhelming at first, but peanut butter on whole grain bread not only provides protein but staying power! It will easily see you through your plane trip.
  • Instant oatmeal is your friend! While it’s not as good as the old fashioned or steel cut style, it can save you in a pinch.  Plus it’s easy to store!  Most airports will have hot water somewhere in one of the restaurants or coffee shops that you will be able to use for your oatmeal.

Not only do these snacks travel well and store well in the hotel, it will save you money because you won’t be purchasing food at the airport or on the plane.

Utilize Your Hotel

  • Use hotel room fridges to your advantage. Store fruit, yogurt, juice, and water in them.
  • Hit the hotel breakfast in the mornings because that can be a great source of snacks and meals.  Most hotel breakfasts offer fresh fruit, yogurt, whole grain breads, cereals, and if you’re lucky, instant oatmeal.  If there’s no oatmeal, you can break into the stash you brought! Hotel Breakfast can also provide snacks for during the conference.

At The Conference

You can make a peanut butter sandwich to eat for later.  You can bring some fruit or even some dry cereal for later in the day.  These will help supplement the food offerings at the conference.

Eat What You Like

Make your way around the selections and pick things that you know you’ll like and want to eat.  Don’t eat what you’re not comfortable with or what you don’t like.  There’s no pressure! You are free to make the decisions best for you.

Stay Hydrated

Drink water as often as possible so you stay hydrated during the conference. Bring your own water bottle or water from the hotel. You should be able to refill the bottles at the conference.

Eat Your Snacks

You are all prepared with backup snacks! Don’t be afraid to eat them if the food offerings are not what you like or eat.

Head Outdoors

You are also free to go someplace outside of the conference to eat meals.  No one says you have to stay! Hit up a local restaurant while you’re in a new city!

Grocery Stores Are Your Friend

If all else fails, hit up a grocery store for some fruit and veggie action.  There is usually always one close by somewhere!

With these tips, you’ll be able to navigate any conference with ease. But most of all, have fun and indulge!  These tips are not meant to limit or squash a good time.  By all means, you are on a trip, have a good time and take a moment to enjoy it!  Only you can be responsible for you, make the best decisions you can and you’ll have a great time and be happy!

About the Author:

Andrea is owner and creator of Off Her Cork, a website focused on discussing food and wellness. Off Her Cork offers everything from recipes to race recaps to beer reviews. At Off Her Cork, Andrea proves that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard and certainly anything but boring! Andrea can also be found at @OffHerCork.

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