Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Geek On The Go: Staying Fueled And Healthy

I'm a relentless optimizer and a gadget nut. If something sticks for more than a few months, then it's likely to be a decent fit for my lifestyle. The idea behind the "Geek On The Go" blog posts is to share the best equipment and habits I've found for travel as a technophile: check out the other articles in this series.

The best way to look after your health is to have the default and easiest choice be the most healthy one, and when you're traveling this can be hard. The chief enemy is running out of fuel, then being tired when it comes to deciding what or where to eat.

Here are a couple of ways I've found of making better choices that help me keep going.

First up are Kind Bars. These things are amazing. They provide 180-210 calories of energy that's released slowly, and they taste great. By that I mean, they don't taste like cardboard. As Kind advertise, you can both recognize and pronounce the ingredients. Being gluten-free helps a lot too for me. I buy boxes of the things and keep two or three as a permanent fixture in my laptop bag, as well as keeping a couple in the car's glove box.

For long journeys, cross-country or international, I also take a packet or two of beef jerky. In the worst of all worlds you can fool yourself into thinking that makes a meal. It can be a lot better for you than the 24-hour club sandwich your destination hotel offers!

The second thing my travel bag always has is a water bottle. Staying hydrated is a great way to avoid headaches and make better eating choices. Specifically, I'd recommend one with a built-in filter. It's not that the filters sterilize water, but they can help manage the taste if all that's available is hotel tap water. Some airports these days also have fill-up stations for bottles too, though I'm still often doing the awkward practice of filling these up at drinking fountains. I've used both these bottles successfully in the past, the Brita hard-sided filtering bottle, and the squashier Bobble bottles. The Brita tends to leak a bit on airplanes, though, so be warned. If you're flying, get into the habit of visiting the bathroom before going through security and emptying your water bottle out.

The trick to these is to buy a bunch: at least one for the car and one for your travel bag. Even better, have one extra in the kitchen to fill up and take with you.

Finally, get to know the signs your body is sending you. If you're getting grumpy, you probably need to take a bite to eat!