Tips for Staying Healthy at the ALA Annual Conference (or Anytime You’re on the Road)

When you are traveling, it can be easy to skip your good habits and just decide to do better when you return home. However, even when you are relaxing some of your regular healthy habits, there are some things you want to be sure to continue (or even increase) when you are traveling – especially if it’s hot out.  Here are just a few things to keep in mind.

Drink Plenty of Water
When you’re traveling and out of your usual routine, it can be easy to forget to drink water. You may even experience constipation during this time. Drinking plenty of water can help. In addition, when you’re thirsty, you’re more likely to over snack, and research even suggests that drinking water before meals can prevent weight gain. Bring your own water bottle or purchase a pack of water bottles when you arrive. Also, you should find plenty of water coolers in the Convention Center when you’re at conference to help you stay hydrated.

Choose Healthy Options at Restaurants
With so many parties and receptions at the ALA Annual Conference, you might find yourself overeating. You’ll also be joining colleagues for plenty of meals, which can be fun because you get to try the local favorites while catching up with old friends. When you are out, focus on choosing healthy options from the menu. Start with a salad. Look for dishes comprised mostly of protein and vegetables. If you can, skip dessert. Be mindful of dishes that include primarily carbohydrates like pasta and sandwiches.

Eat Low-calorie Non-perishable Snacks
Let’s face it, when you travel you eat more non-perishable foods because they are cheaper, easier to store, and more widely available. If you find that you are close to a good market, stop in and buy healthy snacks. Or consider stocking up on healthy, low-calorie options before you leave home and bring some with you. 

Get a Refrigerator & Microwave
You might want to request a refrigerator and microwave when you check in to your hotel. This will enable you to keep healthy food options in your room. It may also keep you from overeating. If you know you have a place to store left-overs from dinner, for example, you can stop eating once you’ve had a reasonable portion and bring the rest back to your room to refrigerate. The left-overs can be warmed up in the microwave the next day.

Get Some Rest
With so many meetings, programs, and social activities, I know you probably won’t get your normal amount of sleep when you’re at conference. However, you’ll find that you will be more alert at these events if you can try to get at least six hours of sleep each night. If you have a couple hours of down time in the middle of a long day, go back to your hotel room and take a quick nap. It may leave you feeling refreshed and better prepared to handle the remainder of your day. Remember: Any time you start to feel tired or worn-out, just take a break. Get away by yourself and have some quiet time. This can be particularly important for introverts.

What About Exercise?
If you are attending the ALA Annual Conference, trust me, you will get plenty of exercise. But if you want more, consider taking advantage of your hotel’s pool and exercise facilities.

Enjoy the conference. Learn a lot, and have some fun.