By Drew Olson Special to Published Jun 01, 2006 at 5:07 AM

Some people view business travel as a perk. Others consider it a curse.

For Peter Greenberg, a veteran writer who serves as the travel editor of NBC's "Today Show," it was way of life with at least one unpleasant side effect: along with hundreds of airline tickets, he received a ticket to an ever-expanding waistline.

Greenberg's personal battle of the bulge inspired him to write his latest book "The Traveler's Diet: Eating Right and Staying Fit on the Road," which he will be discussing and signing during an appearance at 7 p.m. Thursday at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Brookfield, 17145 W. Bluemound Rd.

"This book is the result of my gorging myself," said Greenberg, a UW-Madison graduate. "I was flying 400,000 miles a year and everywhere I was going, I was eating crappy food. As a result, I ended up looking like the Michelin Tire man.

"I knew I was getting bigger, but it really hit home for me when I went to the doctor and he put me on the scale and I weighed 290 pounds. That was it. That was when I said "All right -- I can't control the NBA playoffs, and I can't control the weather. But, I can control what I put in my face."

Millions of Americans try to begin diets every year and many of them fail. Greenberg, whose previous books include "The Travel Detective," "The Travel Detective Flight Crew Confidential," and "Hotel Secrets From the Travel Detective," didn't want to join that club so he consulted a team of medical, fitness and nutrition experts to help him devise a plan.

"Like any good traveler, I needed a road map," he writes in chapter one of "The Traveler's Diet."

For a week, Greenberg tracked everything he ate in a food diary and was stunned by the amount of high-calorie snacks he ate while rushing around to get to TV tapings, meetings and airports.

"I discovered that just about everything I was doing was wrong," he said. "I was eating bad food. I was eating late at night. I wasn't getting the proper amount of sleep. This book covers every component part of the travel process."

Greenberg provides several tips in his book, including a list of healthy dining options at specific airports. (Want to eat at the Budweiser Brewhouse in the McNamara Terminal in Detroit? Try the veggie sandwich.)

Greenberg also offers these tips:

  • Don't get the key for the hotel minibar. You don't need the temptation.

  • When you get to the hotel, check out the fitness center before you go to your room.

  • Don't eat dinner after 8 p.m.

  • Keep an apple or orange in the hotel room to eat in the morning.

  • Work out in the morning before flying whenever possible.

  • Bring healthy snacks to eat while flying or waiting to fly.

A lot of these tips sound like simple common sense. But, Greenberg tailors them to the the traveler.

"This isn't a book about eating less," he said. "It's about controlling when and where you eat. You don't have a regular routine when you travel. It can be hard, but not if you plan ahead."

Since visiting his doctor in March 2005, Greenberg has lost close to 45 pounds and he has 20 more to go. Greenberg laughed when reminded by a reporter that the land of brats, cheese, beer, custard and summer festivals is not an ideal place for a dieter to visit.

"I went to college at the University of Wisconsin," he said. "I understand brats and cheese. I did my part to help the state's cheese industry during five years in Madison."

Now, he's trying to do his part to help other travelers win the battle of the bulge.

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.