Survival on the road
Whether you are taking a road trip or flying to some distant destination, summer is the season for travel and adventure. Luckily, if you are committed to following a nutrient-dense diet style, you do not have to leave your healthy eating habits at home. With a little pre-planning and thinking outside the box, it is possible to relax and make healthy food choices even when you are not at home. It can even be fun to eat healthfully while traveling. Here are some of the strategies I use when I vacation with my family.
The American highway can be an endless line-up of fast food chains but visiting them doesn’t have to be part of your agenda. Invest in a large cooler, stock it with plenty of ice packs and bring along a supply of salads, cut up raw veggies, fruit, whole-grain wraps, raw nut butters, unsalted raw nuts and seeds. This is actually a lot more relaxing, especially if you are traveling with young children, because you do not have to worry about finding a restaurant everyone agrees on and foods that everyone likes. It is also less costly. Just pick a pretty, scenic location and enjoy your picnic.
If you are on the road for several days, stop at local farmers markets or grocery stores along the way to restock. It’s a great way to learn about a new area. It is fun to drive up directly to the farm for your food and talk to the farmer about the fruits of his labor: fresh berries, melons, cherries, peaches, apples, tomatoes, corn, okra, carrots. Visit a pick-your-own farm. Look for organic farms in the area and call ahead about your visit. Fast food or chain restaurants are the same wherever you go in the world but farms and farmers markets showcase the best and freshest produce a location has to offer. They are abundant in the summertime and can be quite an adventure.
Make arrangements ahead of time so when you get to your destination, you have a refrigerator available or even better, a small kitchen so you can stock up on lots of healthy options, particularly for breakfast and lunch. If you are flying, contact the airline to investigate vegetarian or vegan options for in-flight meals, but don’t count on it to be healthy. You still need to bring your own food to play it safe.
Of course, eating out is part of being on vacation and you don’t need to give up restaurant dining completely. Most restaurants have web sites and make their menus available on-line. I recommend eating dinner at a nearby Whole Foods Market or other healthy market that has a large salad bar. For lunch or dinner, look for restaurants which offer an interesting assortment of creative salads or have a salad bar. As I always say, “Make your salad the main dish.” Order a double-sized salad and let them charge you double. Ask for your salad dressing on the side and use it sparingly or ask for oil and vinegar and just use a little bit of oil. Because restaurant soups are always high in salt, it is best to avoid them. Ask the waiter not to bring bread to your table so you are not tempted to fill up before your meal arrives.
On vacation, you may not eat perfectly at every single meal but the goal is to eat very well the vast majority of the time. If you eat some conventional foods, don’t despair; just start eating healthfully again at your next meal, and continue for the entire next few days until the vacation is over. In other words, pick one or two meals, where you might eat something off your regular diet, such as an animal product, but not more than one or two meals the entire week away.
Lastly, be more active on the road. Do more and more exercise when you are away from home structuring your fun around physically demanding activities. Go to bed physically tired every day.
In the sentence “With a little pre-planning and thinking outside the box,”, “thinking outside the box” means to
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