….because we all have work trips and love to blame them for falling off the wagon. Your work convention is an OPPORTUNITY to test yourself, nutritionwise, out of your comfortable nest zone of homemade turmeric lattes.

As registered dietitians, we need continuing education credits to keep up our licenses, which often means traveling for conferences, seminars, and workshops where we are plucked from food normalcy and thrust into banquet dinners. No, you can’t control what you’re served, but you can MEDIATE it and do your BEST! Here are our tried and true tips for surviving your conferences. We dearly hope to run into you in an elevator in a megahotel one day.

• If you’re traveling by air, pack your non-perishables. Domestically, you can always traffick fruit in and out. Pack 2 per day of your stay. Word to the wise: bananas SEEM like they travel well, but you’ll end up with banana pudding in your purse. Pack oranges, apples, and plums. If you’re internationally jetsetting, stock up on fruit at a local market / grocery / from the hotel store / roomservice upon arrival.

• Stock up on water bottles also!

• Oh, and as you can probably tell, packing is a MAJOR KEY. Also pack: pre-portioned unsalted nuts (choose three types), squeeze packs of nut butter, flax crackers, and for that sweet tooth? Alyssa’s cookies and salted caramel covered chickpeas. Much better than room service ice cream.

• Some hotels have in-house markets where you can grab a breakfast; your best bet is anything egg-based (protein!) and swap OUT any bread/wrap/muffin for your flax crackers. Oatmeal can be a good choice if it’s unsweetened / the portion is appropriate and there is no dried fruit – and same goes for yogurt! If you’re a light breakfast businessperson, grab your in-room banana + a squeeze pack of nut butter and you’re set. DON’T forget to pack your snacks when you head out of the room or you will pine for them all day. And for heaven’s sake, eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours so you don’t buckle at the first sight of an hors d’oeuvre.

For the lunch/dinner seating, don’t roll up hungry as an intern for praise. You had your snack just a couple hours ago, of course, so you’re not tempted by the gross bread basket. You’ll focus on veggies (olive oil + vinegar on your salad, not the creamy dressing they give), lean proteins (fish and chicken), and cooked veggies as your sides. You can of course, dabble with some cheese, but steer CLEAR of those carbs. Even quinoa can get out of control, and I assure you that the sweet potato mash at your convention is not organic / cooked in olive oil. Dessert? Ask for fruit. They always keep berries in stock. As for booze, watch it. These people aren’t your friends at the convention. Have a glass, or a cocktail – but emphasis on ONE. That’s all you need to prove that you are, indeed, fun, but not break your #essenceapproved swag.

Feel free to attack the coffee/tea watering hole usually placed at the back of your convention rooms, but don’t you add A THING to that tea/coffee, unless your enlightened hosts have unsweetened almond milk or grass-fed milk in those thermoses. The crazy dietitian team up in here brings their own boxed grass-fed or unsweetened almond milk to conventions, but if you’re not that strange, you’ll be drinking that coffee black as night. Fine. You can add a lemon wedge to your tea.

Oh, and most cities now have UberEats, which is probably more affordable than room service. If you need help making an #essenceapproved choice, our ON DEMAND program is at your fingertips, ready to help you select your snack.

Essentially Yours,
The Essence Team