When you think of old school rock stars, you probably picture booze-guzzling, panty-chasing hardcore mofos. This is the dawn of a new era, though, so in between the fun and games throw in some organic meats, kale salads and fruit juice and according to Foreigner lead singer, Kelly Hansen, then you have a party. Staying fit is a key component to the rock star life. "I have to wear tight clothes man," says Hansen. "You want to have the energy to do what you want to do and feel good, and over the course of your life the requirements to make that happen change." While you may not wear tight clothing like Hansen, you probably travel a lot like he does and can relate to his struggle of eating healthy while on the road. Luckily, he's here to help. Check out Hansen's tips to eating like a rock star.
Watch Your Nuts
The first step to healthy traveling is watching what you eat on the plane. Don't travel hungry and pack your own snacks if you can, but most of all keep the nuts out of your mouth. "They stick it right in your face, the butter cookies or the nuts and crackers," says Hansen. "That's all crap. I heard once that raw nuts are really good for you, but as soon as a nut gets roasted above a certain temperature, the qualities of the oil in that nut are no longer as good for you; they chemically change. So I eat raw."
Pass on the Sweet Melons
The best part of waking up may be Folgers in your cup – and hey, if you want it drink it – but breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. It's also the first place you can make a mistake with your eating habits. Even though those sweet, juicy melons are tempting, Hansen opts to go with berries. "When I order my breakfast -- oatmeal, 2% milk, single poached egg and dry wheat toast -- sometimes fruit is an option," he says. "I stick with berries, preferably blue, black, raspberry or the like. Not only are they more densely packed with nutrients; they are lower in sugar than a pile of cantaloupe and watermelon."
Know How to Order
The easy way out during a busy business trip is to hit up the room service. And, let's be honest, it's fun to eat in your underwear outside of your own home. But, don't just take the items as is. Know what you want and how you want it. "I hate to say it, but I'm one of those people who makes very specific room service orders like in 'When Harry Met Sally,'" says Hansen. "To ensure I get exactly what I want, I order lots of stuff on the side. If there is nothing on the menu I feel good about, then I ask for a grilled chicken breast, dry wheat toast, tomato and lettuce or raw spinach, and mustard. Then I make my own sandwich, which is better than trying to scrape off spreads or trying to creatively eat around the undesirable part."
You Get What You Pay For
Hotels are dangerous because most of them offer a breakfast buffet, while conventions or conferences (or backstage at a Foreigner concert) offer a wide variety of free food. But just because you aren't paying for it with cash, doesn't mean won't pay for it by becoming a fat ass if you overindulge. "This is one of the toughest temptations to deny," Hansen says. "All I can say is I will pay to have a meal that I can control instead of partaking. They did some research and found out if you have a big buffet, if you put two different size plates out, people with the big plate will eat a lot more just because the plate is bigger. If you give them a small plate they'll eat less. It's this human nature thing about stuff being free."
Don't Succumb to Peer Pressure
If you're at some convention or traveling with co-workers, there's always going to be one or two or even more people who want to put their diet on vacation and let their arteries work overtime. Don't be like them. Just because Crosby wants a Big Mac doesn't mean Stills and Nash can't eat salads. "I'm not pressured by what other people eat because there's always going to be people around you eating that bacon covered thing that looks really, really good," says Hansen. "If you're in a restaurant or if I'm backstage at a show with the catering, the crew and the local workers will eat wild stuff because they're working really hard and expending a lot of calories. I don't compare what I eat to someone else."
Ditch the Dressing
Even in the craziest of towns there is always something you can eat that's better than what the little fat kid inside you is begging you to get. Hansen points out that even liquor stores usually sell fruit at the counter, and there are even ways to survive on drive-thru. "A lot of the fast food places now have really great salads," he says. "Here's the problem, and it's a big problem calorie-wise: What everyone does is go 'Can I have that ranch dressing packet?' and they'll put the whole thing on there. That makes it sometimes where the salad actually is higher in fat than the hamburger. What I do is just dip the corner of the lettuce in the dressing. You'll get the flavor but you'll have maybe a tenth of the dressing."
Decide What's Worth It
A key to healthy eating is moderation, so every now and then it's OK to also splurge while maintaining self-control. "Frankly, I have a sweet tooth," Hansen says. "And I want to enjoy, but not fully. This astounds some of my friends, but I can have two bites of a dessert, then push it away." But decide before you eat if it's really worth it and if you go for it, enjoy every minute of it. "Eating is like driving, you should concentrate on what you're doing," Hansen says. "Think about each bite and savor it, don't just let your eyes roll up in the back of your head while you shovel food in."
Forget the Fads
You know that book that helps you lose pounds in mere minutes or fad diet that lets you return to your high school weight by eating only foods that start with the letter 'R'? Fahgettaboudit. "There are a million fad diets," Hansen says. "The cabbage soup diet or whatever that was. A lot of people do incorrect fasting. They'll think they're doing something really good for their body but they're really not. A lot of those fasting things are bad. I think what people don't do, which seems to make the most logical sense, is to eat in moderation, eat good food, indulge every once in a while and kind of keep it at that."
Fresh food is the best food, but there is a lot of false advertising out there so you have to do your research whenever possible. Yes, it takes work to eat right, and work is a four-letter word to us lazy types, but if you want to stay fit, you have to ask the right questions. "Don't assume that if it says fresh, that it actually is," Hansen says. "And remember, food usually reflects its surroundings. Don't expect super light and fresh salmon from an out of the way truck stop. It's not impossible, just not probable. Ask, 'Is this fresh?' and 'Was it made today?' You'll be surprised how the answers don't fit the menu description."
Don't Forget to Live a Little
OK, rock stars and wannabe rock stars; Kelly Hansen says that it's fine to be human and every once in a while be a hot blooded fool who likes their beer cold as ice. Woooo! Foreigner! Don't go crazy or anything, but feel free to booze it up from time to time. "You can't be perfect," he says. "You've got to enjoy life. I can allow myself to have a drink here and there and it's not too big of a deal. Yes, it's empty calories and it's not good for you, but you've got to live."
Kelly Hansen is the lead singer of Foreigner. For all things Foreigner including their latest triple disk release, "Feels Like the First Time," visit foreigneronline.com.