Author Topic: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?  (Read 1294 times)

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Online LilDrunkenSmurf

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Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« on: April 09, 2018, 11:50:07 AM »
As I've mentioned in other posts, I'm going to be spending a lot of time in downtown Vancouver for the next few weeks, out of a hotel (flying back on weekends). One thing I've been struggling with while there, is eating decently on a budget, without resorting to McDonald's or other fast food.

My per dieme would be fine if I were in Calgary, where I'm comfortable, but I'm struggling in Vancouver. Also, being in a hotel means I have nowhere to prep/cook food, or store it as well. The mini fridge has no room unfortunately. I'm looking for either specific recommendations, or generic tips on how to do well while traveling.

Also, eating alone in restaurants sucks. Sure you get seated quickly, but you're that lonely person at the bar. I find most of my dinners are spent texting my wife, or taking pictures of my food to share with her.

I'm staying off Burrard and West Georgia street, and working off Thurlow and West Pender street. I don't have a car, so any transportation would be public transit/walking/cab.

I've mostly been skipping breakfast in favor of a Tim's/McDonald's coffee and a protein "drink" (protein powder + water), eating a poke bowl for lunch, and then just wandering and using google for dinner.

I would appreciate some advice.
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Offline Ead

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 01:20:51 PM »
Sorry to read of your predicament.  If you don't mind me asking, which hotel are you staying at?  And is it considered a long-term stay, or are you checking in and out each time you leave to return to Calgary?

Take out is commonly efficient (and efficiently common), but if you don't want to stick with restaurant fare, the Overwaitea chain (Urban Fare specifically) or Whole Foods should have take-out style items (heated, chilled, etc.) for you to purchase. 

I've been through situations similar to yours, and if you don't mind the meagre advice, I'd be happy to share here - but I'd need to know if my advice is applicable (hence the need to know the info in the first paragraph above).  ;)
Because... hoodscoop.  :P

Online DaDuke99

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 01:26:30 PM »
You could stay at places with a kitchenette... That is the only way I've managed to eat anything close to healthy on the road with a daily allowance...

Offline mudferret

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 01:27:32 PM »
That would have been my suggestion as well, the grocery store meal options.

Also less of a chance of wanting a beer with dinner as well. I've been leaning towards about 3 "light" options at my hotel. Haven't explored the grocery store option yet, but I'll go ahead and assume I won't have as many options at a Mexican grocery store in the heart of industrial country.

Offline Ead

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2018, 01:39:06 PM »
You could stay at places with a kitchenette... That is the only way I've managed to eat anything close to healthy on the road with a daily allowance...

I was also going to make the same suggestion, but it could be that his company has an exclusivity contract with his hotel.

Sometimes, the hotel itself has options available - perhaps they could provide a couple of hot plates, and / or a small bar fridge with enough chilling "power". 

When I was doing my Vancouver -> San Jose -> Vegas -> Pacific coast -> Vancouver road trip, the thing I needed most was a source of boiling water (so I could make coffee for drinking while on the road).  Because my stays on the return trip were all with small hotels, I bought a p.o.s. kettle in Vegas and packed it with me all the way to Seattle (where I got it refunded ;) ).  I'd suggest something similar as an option, for example purchasing a small slow cooker or hot plate / sandwich grill, but that really depends on whether or not the trips back to Calgary require checking out.
Because... hoodscoop.  :P

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 02:00:49 PM »
I have to stay at the "Hotel Vancouver" Fairmont. AKA the oldest/cheapest one, not the fancy pacific rim, waterfront, or airport one. No kitchenette options, no AirBnB, or anything like that unfortunately.
If the sea was vodka, and I was a duck.
I would swim to the bottom, and drink my way up.
But the sea isn't vodka, and I'm not a duck.
So give me the vodka, and stfu.
If you're having forum problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but your post ain't one.

Offline Player One

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 02:09:00 PM »
I have a small George Foreman grill and a small-ish slow cooker you can take with you if that's a route you want to take.

Offline soulindk

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 02:16:21 PM »
Whenever I traveled for work I would just pick up a few containers of cottage cheese, crackers, some fruits and veggies, and some yogurt. They are usually small enough to fit into a small bar fridge. I'd even pick up the bagged salads when I needed some leafy greens, and some of the precooked chicken strip-things. Pick up some collapsible or packable dishes from MEC so you can transport them back and forth and not take up too much room.
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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2018, 02:23:06 PM »
Whenever I traveled for work I would just pick up a few containers of cottage cheese, crackers, some fruits and veggies, and some yogurt. They are usually small enough to fit into a small bar fridge. I'd even pick up the bagged salads when I needed some leafy greens, and some of the precooked chicken strip-things. Pick up some collapsible or packable dishes from MEC so you can transport them back and forth and not take up too much room.

When I say nothing fits, I mean I can't fit a package of sandwich meat. They want to make sure you're spending your money. I'm worried that by removing things from the fridge to make room, the cleaners will assume I've "purchased" them and I'll be charged.
If the sea was vodka, and I was a duck.
I would swim to the bottom, and drink my way up.
But the sea isn't vodka, and I'm not a duck.
So give me the vodka, and stfu.
If you're having forum problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but your post ain't one.

Offline Ead

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2018, 02:57:01 PM »
I have to stay at the "Hotel Vancouver" Fairmont. AKA the oldest/cheapest one, not the fancy pacific rim, waterfront, or airport one. No kitchenette options, no AirBnB, or anything like that unfortunately.

Is this a company requirement?  (ie. due to exclusivity agreements with them)

If it's Fairmont, then unfortunately, all that stuff I mentioned about requesting small fridges and hot plates is a no-go.  I usually try to seek out a Fairmont when I go travelling to Canadian cities that have one, but that's my biggest issue with them - that they offer no amenities to do your own cooking and / or cold storage.  (At least they have kettles available though.)

There are places downtown that caters to the longer-stay market.  They're very similar to what I know of in Hong Kong as "serviced apartments" - weekly and / or monthly rates that are much less than a hotel, with cleaning services provided every day or every other day.  Comes with a reasonably small (but adequate) kitchen, complete with cooking vessels and utensils.  However, if you're stuck with Fairmont because the company requires it... I guess this option would not be viable.   :-\
Because... hoodscoop.  :P

Offline soulindk

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2018, 03:12:18 PM »
When I say nothing fits, I mean I can't fit a package of sandwich meat. They want to make sure you're spending your money. I'm worried that by removing things from the fridge to make room, the cleaners will assume I've "purchased" them and I'll be charged.
Maybe ask room service to remove the items as you do not want them?
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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2018, 04:10:35 PM »
Can you define your budget?  How much would you like to spend on food a day? 
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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2018, 04:13:42 PM »
Can you define your budget?  How much would you like to spend on food a day?
You should get this seeing as you've got five mouths to feed on a miserable meth teachers income. #aslittleaspossible

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2018, 04:25:29 PM »
You should get this seeing as you've got five mouths to feed on a miserable meth teachers income. #aslittleaspossible

Meth has treated us very well.  #wheredoeshegetthemoney
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Offline xrayvsn

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2018, 04:41:00 PM »
For fast food, Chipotle should be close by, and can be a healthier choice if you don't load up the cheese and carbs.  There is also Meat and Bread, which has genuine Italian style Paninis.


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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2018, 05:13:34 PM »
For fast food, Chipotle should be close by, and can be a healthier choice if you don't load up the cheese and carbs.  There is also Meat and Bread, which has genuine Italian style Paninis.

That reminded me to have a look at Google Maps - searching for "healthy food near fairmont hotel vancouver".  I literally laughed out loud (scaring my neighbours) when Hotel Vancouver options started popping up.   ;D

There's an Urban Fare just down Alberni, and no shortage of IGAs nearby.
Because... hoodscoop.  :P

Offline tperkins

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2018, 05:43:34 PM »
I have grown to like eating alone at restaurants, I put my headphones in, listen to a podcast or something and just cruise the internet on my phone. The trick is to not care what people think of you as you will probably never see them again anyways.

Really, it is tough living in hotels. For per diem and still eating healthy, I have adapted intermittent fasting.
 
As in, I don't eat breakfast, first meal is at lunch time, second meal is supper and that's it. This is nice because you save the 10$ of whatever for breakfast, but can also get away with a little more for lunch and supper. Also, I try to drink nothing but water.

For lunch, usually I just get Subway or something. I really dgaf about how much fat I eat, so I will get a salad and extra chicken for lunch and some fatty dressing. If I get a sub I will just get a 6" with extra meat. A lot of the places I end up, the options are basically subway. When I can I will get groceries and eat that, but if you don't get a fridge you're basically uckfayed. +1 for kitchenette but if that isn't an option then that sucks.

If you really want poverty spec, get some bananas, some fajitas, and some peanut butter and mix it all together and just have those. No need for a fridge, pretty dense meal, cheap.
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Offline Mason

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2018, 07:15:17 PM »


Really, it is tough living in hotels. For per diem and still eating healthy, I have adapted intermittent fasting.
 
As in, I don't eat breakfast, first meal is at lunch time, second meal is supper and that's it. This is nice because you save the 10$ of whatever for breakfast, but can also get away with a little more for lunch and supper. Also, I try to drink nothing but water.



This is key if you are looking to either lose weight or not gain weight. I have loads of info on fasting that has helped me for the last 2 months. Protein shake would be the worst thing to skip breakfast for honestly. I fast from 8pm to 12pm (16 hours) and honestly I don’t even notice a difference. I gym while fasted and hAve no lack of energy or fatigue. Sometime it sucks assay if I don’t have time for food before 8. I’ve actually fasted for up to 20 hours and had no real issues. Try cramming your entire daily calorie intake in <8 hours, It’s pretty difficult.

Offline darthekai

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 07:33:14 AM »
Grocery stores are your only choice really.
Japanese food restaurants if you can control your portion intake... Poke bowl is decent choice, sushi, or donburri.
But I can't. I got hungry just typing that.
On the road if I'm not doing a ton of physical labour, I do bars till like 1,then a decent sandwich either made myself or a ripoff $7 one from the grocery (as long as it's not subway) then a fairly large dinner.

The dinners suck cuz they're usually crap rubbery chicken breast and spinach salad and sometimes a grain but urban fare SHOULD have a fairly decent hot food/deli.

Otherwise Robson st North of you is a good bet.

Restaurant food I think is always always going to be pretty unhealthy. After all its the chef's job to make food good and good usually means lots of fat and salt whether they like it or not (nick).
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Offline WAGOWN

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 08:11:10 AM »
There are sooooo many cheap ethnic restaurants you could eat at or get takeout.

I could live on sushi there for <$15 a day, probably under <$10 if i really tried.

Vancouver is the cheapest, best, and easiest place to find good food in canada, I swear.
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Online LilDrunkenSmurf

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2018, 09:15:10 AM »
For fast food, Chipotle should be close by, and can be a healthier choice if you don't load up the cheese and carbs.  There is also Meat and Bread, which has genuine Italian style Paninis.

I really enjoyed it. It's directly across the street from my office, which is great, but I get a sandwich + soup, and it's not super filling.

There are sooooo many cheap ethnic restaurants you could eat at or get takeout.

I could live on sushi there for <$15 a day, probably under <$10 if i really tried.

Vancouver is the cheapest, best, and easiest place to find good food in canada, I swear.

Please, fill me in. I kept trying to find cheap hole-in-the-wall-but-actually-delicious sushi places, and still dropped $30 on sushi for dinner. Also, most sushi places downtown are either super high end (Miku Waterfront), or generally lunch only places that close by 5pm.

I like sushi, because it tends to keep my protein intake high, especially if I score lots of sashimi over rolls.

I also adopt IF while travelling, aside from my protein shake in the morning. I also work out fasted, even at home, so that's fine. The hotel gym sucks, but the Robert Lee YMCA is 2 blocks away, and opens at 5:30am, and as a YMCA Calgary member, I get free entry.
If the sea was vodka, and I was a duck.
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But the sea isn't vodka, and I'm not a duck.
So give me the vodka, and stfu.
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Offline darthekai

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2018, 09:39:49 AM »
Yeah theres zero near you. Maybe in burnaby lol

I used to get mega cheap sushi in kits at sun sushi, and I know theres a couple dirt cheap joints along broadway, but thats a pain in the assay for you.

Daikichi is decently cheap but not crazy wow. They close at 930.

Actually thats my recommendation. Walk down to daikichi. Its a nice walk in the evening unless its raining.
Sushi Itoga and downtown sushi or whatever are pretty good too. We're talking like $4.50 tuna rolls, $5 salmon. uhhh sashimi or nigiri gets a bit steep like $3pp
uckfay i miss living in van for that one reason.
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Online LilDrunkenSmurf

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2018, 10:08:32 AM »
I'm adding it to my list. I have nothing else to do in the evenings except laze around the hotel, so a decent walk isn't going to deter me.
I asked some locals at the office, and they're all foodies, but it's downtown Vancouver, so all the nice food isn't cheap.

Appreciate the recommendation. I may also buy some apples and bananas from the IGA down the street, and leave those in my rooms for breakfasts/snacks. Not sure why I didn't consider that before.
If the sea was vodka, and I was a duck.
I would swim to the bottom, and drink my way up.
But the sea isn't vodka, and I'm not a duck.
So give me the vodka, and stfu.
If you're having forum problems, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but your post ain't one.

Offline Jessica

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2018, 10:14:32 AM »
Not sure if this is helpful or not, but my current favourite cheap snack is rice cakes smeared with peanut butter. You could top with banana if that tickles your fancy.

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Re: Travelling for Work - How to eat healthy on a budget?
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2018, 10:34:58 AM »
You're in Vancouver, just get strung out on heroin after work and you won't be hungry until you wake up the next morning.

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