I’m currently knee deep in planning a 2 week driving vacation that will take us from WI out to Yellowstone, down through Colorado and into New Mexico, then back to WI. Just planning the basics of a trip can be a bit overwhelming, but when you’re trying to eat well, you eventually start thinking about where & what you’ll eat on a trip (whether it’s for a weekend or 2 weeks).
Vacation is a fun time when you’re surrounded by new things to do and, of course, new foods to try! It’s also a time when it’s really easy to let everything go and EAT ALL THE FOOD! I’m not necessarily here to argue whether you should do that or not… that’s a personal choice. I always like to weigh the pros and cons of eating certain foods and what kind of lasting effect it will have on my digestive system and body in general. Cause…I don’t like dealing with indigestion that makes me have to sleep sitting up or bathroom issues later. *pass* But that doesn’t mean I’m strict and never eat a delicious donut that crosses my path. Cause you know I love donuts!
But I think it’s good to find a balance while on vacation – to fuel your body with healthy & delicious food most of the time so that you feel great to enjoy your trip, but to also indulge a bit and enjoy the new things you come across. The best way to do this is to plan ahead!
Here are some of my tips for eating well while traveling….
1. Be Prepared With Food
I always like to travel with food on hand. I like to be able to have options with me to eat that I like and that I know agree with my system. It’s a great idea to find & pack some non-perishable foods as well as some fresh stuff if you have a way to keep them fresh or can eat them within a certain time frame. Some favorites…
- Meat sticks or Jerky (I love Lorissa’s or Epic bars)
- Nuts & Seeds (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc)
- Trail mix (made with above nuts plus your fav dried fruit, seeds, and some chocolate chips)
- Nut Butter packets (like RX or Justin’s)
- Dried fruit or fruit strips (we love the Simply Balanced fruit strips from Target)
- Granola/Nut bars (Kind bars rock and so do RX Bars, and Perfect Bars)
- Fruit or applesauce cups (look for natural ones with no added real or artificial sugars)
- Healthy crackers, popcorn, & chips (Plantain chips are yummy, Lesser Evil popcorn rocks, or Terra veggie chips)
- Apples & bananas
- If you have a cooler…
- Cut up veggies
- String cheese or cut up cheese
- Fresh fruit that has a shorter shelf life (blueberries, strawberries, etc)
- Lunch meat
2. Be Prepared For Options
Chances are if you are going on vacation, you know what city you are going to. Here’s the thing…we live in this lovely age of information that makes finding things as simple as googling “gluten free restaurants Billings, Montana”. It’s an amazing resource! Looking ahead for some restaurant options can be a life saver when you are going somewhere new. You may also come across blog posts by health/nutrition bloggers in that area that tell about their town and the healthy, delicious places to eat. Once you locate a restaurant, you can often look through their menu online to see what they offer and if they have options that you will like or that work with how you eat.
You can also use sites/apps like Yelp to search for restaurants and use Categories or Filters to find specific things like the type of restaurant as well as things like gluten-free, vegetarian, and more.
In addition to restaurants, it’s good to scope out local healthy grocery stores to stock up on more food for the road or to look for a healthy hot/cold bar option for quick meals. Stores like Whole Foods are in many major cities but there are lots of smaller chains and local stores with great options. Just hit up google for health food stores in the city you are traveling to.
3. Book Rooms with Options
If possible, book a room with kitchen options…whether it is a full kitchen or even a microwave and fridge. The more options the better! Airbnb’s are great for this as well as they often have full kitchen stocked with the tools you need to cook. Having this option will allow you to buy foods (see healthy grocery stores above!) and cook/eat in your room. This will also save you money if you are going to be gone for awhile and doing a lot of eating out.
4. Plan Ahead
With all of this,
No matter where you go, what you do, or what you decide to eat, remember to eat intentionally. Enjoy the delicious foods you come across and savor every bite. Enjoy the company of the people you are with and make the most of the experience! Safe travels!
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