Last year in this space, dietitian Judy Caplan had a message for business travelers: Eat better.
Think ahead so that in airports you're eating healthy snacks, such as fruits and nuts, and decent meals, such as a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread, she said. On the road, eat more salad and less dessert. Fewer steaks and more skinless chicken. And so on.
But when I saw a man in a suit pound three vodka tonics on a recent flight, I wondered about a road warrior's ideal drinking habits.
Not surprisingly, Caplan, a Vienna, Va.-based registered dietitian of more than 30 years, had some opinions. In short, she said, travel drinking habits are just as important as they are overlooked.
Her primary target: alcohol.
Because the impulse often is to drink more of it while traveling, she said, we should drink less.
"Usually on the road, you're exercising less and have less stress release while experiencing more stress," she said. "But in stressful situations, you don't want to drink alcohol. It drains the body of B vitamins and adds calories."
The heightened stress factor is obvious: more meetings, more strangers, work and deadline pressure and an unfamiliar bed at the end of the day.
Using alcohol is a less healthy way of de-stressing than exercise, she said. "Where one has long-lasting positive effects, the other doesn't," she said. "I'm not saying absolutely no alcohol, but I'd stick to one drink."
Nondrinkers might reason that they can turn to another vice while traveling, such as soda. She is even more opposed to that.
"I don't like any kind of soda," she said. "You shouldn't be drinking many of your calories."
And forget diet soda.
"Studies show they increase your desire for sweets," she said.
Maybe more coffee, then?
"I don't have a problem with coffee, but if you're traveling, I wouldn't drink coffee past noon because of the stress of travel and uncomfortable beds," she said.
The winner, perhaps not surprisingly, is water or sparkling water. Both counteract the dehydration of airplanes and the extra-salty food we often eat on the go. If you're not a water fan, Caplan suggests adding a small amount of a healthy juice (cranberry or pomegranate) or a flavoring additive with vitamins.
"Less alcohol and more water is the bottom line," she said.
Top 10 bottled-water brands
3. Gerolsteiner Mineral Water
4. Glace Rare Iceberg Water
5. Perrier Mineral Water
6. San Pellegrino
7. Tasmanian Rain water
8. Ty Nant Natural Mineral Water
9. Volvic Natural Spring Water
10. Icelandic GlacialCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times