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5 Tips for a Healthy Continental Breakfast

Last week I stayed at the Sheraton Petaluma in California. As an SPG Gold Member, I received access to the hotel’s continental breakfast on the club floor. As usual, I was left underwhelmed. Many hotels offer their frequent guests a complimentary continental breakfast, but so often, they aren’t worth the trip. If you are a road warrior, a healthy breakfast is important to the start of your day. Without it, you may be left feeling tired, sluggish and hungry. None of which is ideal for a business trip.

If you struggle to find healthy breakfast options at the hotel continental breakfast, consider these tips:

  1. Pack Your Protein: One of the most important components of a healthy breakfast is lean protein. Protein fills you up, provides you with energy, helps ward off illness and is essential for proper body and brain function. Common protein sources I’ve found on a typical continental breakfast have been hard-boiled eggs and yogurt. Of the two, I recommend that you have the whites of a few hard-boiled eggs (The yolk is high in fat). If the hotel offers low-fat Greek yogurt, enjoy. If they only offer traditional yogurt, stay clear. Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in sugar than traditional yogurt, making it a much better source of protein for a healthy breakfast. Unfortunately, your continental breakfast may not offer either. As a last resort, I highly recommend that you always pack Naturade 100% Whey Protein Booster in Vanilla with you on your business trips. It is extremely low in carbohydrates and contains no artificial sweeteners or ingredients. To make it easy and convenient, pack several scoops, enough for one serving per day of your trip, into a plastic bag. Add a serving of Whey Protein to a cup of skim milk at the continental breakfast to get a solid serving of lean protein.
  2. Get Your Fiber: Fiber is crucial to a road warrior diet. It helps maintain regularity and helps keep you satisfied between meals. One of my favorite offerings on a continental breakfast menu is plain oatmeal. Not the instant kind, but rather, the kind that the hotel makes from whole oats, with no sugar or toppings pre-added. To make the oatmeal an especially healthy breakfast, do the following: Mix a cup of cooked oatmeal with a little skim milk (add an amount to reach the consistency you desire). Then add a spoonful of nuts and a few spoonfuls of fresh berries. If the hotel’s continental breakfast doesn’t offer fresh berries, use a teaspoon of honey. Mix well and enjoy.
  3. Get a Shot of Vitamins: As a road warrior, you may not get all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Many essential vitamins and minerals can be found in fruit (and vegetables). Additionally, fruit contains lots of fiber. Skip the juice and instead, opt for a piece of fresh fruit or a bowl of fresh fruit salad. Juice is high in calories and low in fiber, while whole fruit is lower in calories and high in fiber.
  4. Back off the Bread and Pastries: Most bread products provide very little nutritional value and lots of empty calories. This includes pancakes, waffles, muffins, danishes, donuts, bagels, English muffins and croissants. Muffins and pastries, especially, are high in fat and sugar. If you can find whole grain bread at the continental breakfast, then enjoy a slice or two with some preserves (not butter).
  5. Be Choosy about Cereals: Sheraton Petaluma’s continental breakfast offered two cereal choices: Cheerios and Total. Thanks to great advertising, you probably would think that Total is the healthier choice. Think again: Plain Cheerios is the better option. If you are considering cereal as a healthy breakfast, look closely at ingredient lists (if they are available). The more ingredients and added sugar a cereal has, the worse it is for you. Choose those made from whole grains and those with 4 grams of sugar per serving or less. If you don’t have access to the nutrition label, opt for cereals that appear to be low in sugar and that are made with whole grains. Cereals to avoid include granola (Although it may sound healthy, it tends to be very high in sugar and fat.), Fruit Loops or other Sugar Cereals, and cereals that have a “sheen” to them. The sheen implies sugar or corn syrup.

As a road warrior, do you find continental breakfast at the hotel underwhelming? How do you ensure you get a healthy breakfast?

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