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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