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Top 4 Real Food Travel Tips

30 June

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Who doesn’t love to travel? Getting out of town (or out of the country!) is amazing for gaining a little perspective, allowing for some deeper breathing, and shaking life up a little.

But lets face it, travel can throw a major monkey-wrench in your eating. All of your good organization, awesome choices, and feel-good-in-your-body feelings get pushed to the side in favor of convenience and in surrender to that big voice that says “but you are traveling! You really don’t have another choice.”

Let’s get one thing straight: never ever will we tell you not to enjoy eating your face off on a trip – I have planned entire vacations around food, so please go eat all the good grub that works for you and makes you happy!

I am talking more about that inclination when we travel to justify fast food (that includes you, Chick-fil-A), completely ignore anything nutritious and make flat-out crappy choices. That kind of travel (for me, at least!) leads to getting sick, feeling super crabby and tired, and having a really hard time with getting back to some sort of normal for weeks after returning home.

That kind of travel is not worth it, and honestly, your body deserves better.

I get it: when you travel, you want to take a break from everything. Even thinking about food! It gets exhausting to eat intentionally and prepare Real Foods. We all need breaks.

So how can you “let go” a bit on the road from your daily routine, but also keep yourself from getting sick, moody, and spending a fortune on junk (or only eating at high-end restaurants)?

Get with these 4 tips!

1. Do your homework.

There’s really no excuse for not knowing what food options await you at your destination, or lie along the roads or airports you will be passing through. The internet tells all! If you are not googling local food options, grocery stores, and food co-ops at your destination, you are walking into a black abyss, and your odds of making great choices are slim to none. At least in that first day.

Most recently, my husband and I spent 6 days in the mountains of North Carolina. We hopped around to a few locations and had a budget that would allow for food splurges, but not at every meal. We intentionally planned our first stop on the trip to be an Earth Fare in Boone and feasted on many a picnic from the supplies we bought there.

Here’s the thing about grocery stores – they are already our natural habitat. The place where you know to grab the things that work for you, sit well with you, and items whose price-tags won’t surprise you. With a little foresight (for us: bringing a cooler and utensils!) you can have a satisfying grocery store picnic in a park, on a hiking trail, or just off the sidewalk, like this sweet little location in downtown Boone!


Google around for a casual and affordable food option that isn’t a national chain. Sometimes these are your best finds! Local joints that dish out awesome Real Food fare for tiny price tags. (I ate at White Duck Taco 3 times when I was in Asheville!)

2. Choose (mostly) what works for your body

When I travel, I like to think about what I can wrap and roll. This trip, I splurged on Paleo Wraps and stuffed them full with organic sliced salami, bread and butter pickles, avocado, and some mayo (yes, I opened a jar of mayo on the side of the road!)

I washed this particular Boone-made wrap (I ate 3, in case you are wondering) down with some Yerba Mate, an energizing herbal iced tea and some sweet grapes. I cut up an organic pink apple to dip into fresh ground almond butter for my super-hungry honey to eat while he waited for the wraps.


Bring and buy cheese, nuts, sliced apples, dried fruits, flat breads, olives, avocado, pickles, cherry tomatoes, nut butters, fresh fruits, and hard boiled eggs. All of these foods are convenient, and they don’t come in complicated packaging or contain chemicals and preservatives.

3. Re-think convenience foods

Don’t overcomplicate things! It might sound boring to nibble on nuts and dried fruit for a snack, but once you sit yourself down, take a few deep breaths of gratitude for the awesome trip you are on, look around and start to chew, you may find those brazil nuts and dried apricots perfectly hit the spot. Simple is key.

At Earth Fare in Boone I visited the salad bar for some “convenience” foods. My tastiest score was some cooked ginger orange beets (roll with me here.) After an amazing hike, my husband and I parked ourselves at a picnic table and I opened a can of tuna, combined it with my mayo & some sea salt, and dropped it in the container with those beets alongside some celery. What a satisfying lunch!


4. Get nourishment

Travel is definitely not the time to totally ignore nutritious foods. In fact, its the time to really emphasize them! This is often when a sore throat sets in, or a nasty cold comes on. It’s hard on our immune systems to deal with exposure to new germs, plus compromised sleep and exercise regimens (and usually, more alcohol!)

I always grab some oranges/tangerines/grapefruits as my snacks when I’m on the road or flying. That boost of vitamin C is just what my body needs (plus, its a perfect convenience food!)

I also choose fermented foods to keep my inner ecology happy and boosted, since so much if our immune function is housed in the gut. Buy yourself a $4 bottle of kombucha as a reward for making all those awesome Real Food choices!

Recently, when I went on a celebration weekend getaway with Liz she pulled a mason jar out of her bag with dried stinging nettles in it. She boiled some water, made up a quick infusion and sipped at it regularly over the long party weekend, keeping her mineral and vitamin levels super-boosted with this powerful herb.

5. Ditch the black and white thinking

It’s so easy to make a bad choice one meal or day of your trip and allow that to be the reason you give up and totally give in to a week of bad choices (and the icky poops and lethargy that follows!)

We are inclined to live in black and white in this culture when it comes to food, seeing our choices as either being “on the wagon” or “off the wagon.” Good vs. Evil. Happy or Depressed. This is actually some pretty dangerous thinking that can keep us feeling anxious and down on ourselves.

Live in the grey and go with the flow! If you made a poor choice one meal, take a deep breath when you begin thinking about hitting that Hardee’s again and consciously choose some nourishment for your next meal.

Above all: be kind to yourself. Chronic self-loathing can be just as bad as eating that thickburger.

It’s a process! Enjoy the practice of cultivating a nourishing travel food routine. Then take pics of yourself pigging out to share when you do!


Have an awesome, fun, Real Food summer!



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Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach

Ryanna is a coach, accomplished speaker, and recipe developer with extensive experience helping women cultivate a mindset of self-love so they may heal and thrive while developing new habits in the kitchen.

10 Responses to “Top 4 Real Food Travel Tips”

  1. Alitude July 1, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Girl, I told you White Duck Taco Shop was the bomb! Glad you made it there dreimal!
    Love your Earthfare tips – can’t wait to steal some of your lunch/snack ideas on our next hiking adventure.

    • Ryanna Battiste July 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks lady! White Duck Taco was outrageous. I tried to talk them into coming to Wilmington…

      • Gabe July 10, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

        Looks DELISH!!!!!!

        • Ryanna Battiste July 13, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

          Thanks Gabe! We agree, deliciousness is a hugely important part of eating. πŸ™‚

  2. Pam July 1, 2015 at 3:04 am #

    Enjoyed this! You are so right about traveling and feeling yucky after a few days. Since we do gluten-free for our daughter, we never stop at fast food but even the other restaurants get old quick. Feeling inspired to pack the cooler and do roadside gourmet!

    • Ryanna Battiste July 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

      So glad you are inspired, Pam! I agree about the restaurants getting old quick. It feels fun for about 36 hours, then it’s just *bleck!* Here’s to safe and happy gluten-free travels. πŸ™‚

  3. Katey July 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Since you’ve posted this, I’ve read it every time I get ready to pack up my family of five for long car trips. Makes me feel much more in control of what could become an overwhelming task! Thank you!

  4. Sara December 18, 2015 at 1:40 am #

    What is the brand of wrap shown in the picture?

    • Ryanna Battiste December 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Sara! That wrap is made by Maggies Organics. I bought it at Tidal Creek Co-op. Take Care!

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