After traveling for almost a week, I was begging for fresh, homemade food the moment I walked through my front door late Sunday night. I had faced more artificially sweetened yogurt, CAFO raised meat, and highly processed snacks than I’d encountered in a long time. It’s not that I don’t see that stuff every time I enter the supermarket, it’s that I have a choice to avoid it!
At one hotel, my window’s view included a Dennys, TGI Fridays, Tony Romas, and Chilis…all on the same corner! One menu at a restaurant where I dined featured “corn fed beef, aged for 4 months” (even the iceberg wedge sounded more appealing). And the waitress looked at me like I was speaking another language when I asked if the orange juice was fresh squeezed for a Mimosa I ordered at brunch. Needless to say, anytime you leave the Bay Area and venture out to cities across America, you are reminded of just how lucky we have it in this locally-produced food mecca.
I often lament over how to eat healthy and consciously on the road. The simple answer is, you probably can’t. Plus, it would take all the fun out of a trip if you over-analyze and question every morsel you put in your mouth. So if a few high-fructose corn syrup filled cookies or a chip whose ingredient list features several words you cant pronounce make their way to your stomach, don’t sweat it. Trips are meant for some indulgences!
I do, however, have a few tips I practice to help be prepared for my journeys and keep some food balance in my life:
- Bring your own breakfast: If I’m going on a several day trip, I make a large batch of granola and separate it into single-serving baggies. You can almost always find some milk (if not plain yogurt) for a quick, healthy breakfast option. Starting off your morning on the right foot sets the tone for the rest of the day.
- Pack fruit, snacks, and your in-flight meal: Grab fresh fruit that is sturdy so it survives the journey (think apples and oranges rather than bananas) and make your own trail mix and nut snack pack. Almonds and an apple go a long way to stave off hunger! Also, I bring a meal – anything from a Whole Foods salad to a homemade PB&J – with me during my first flight. This helps me avoid the Starbucks muffins and in-flight sammies that I might succumb to when it’s staring me in the face and I’m starving.
- Bring an empty water bottle: It’s a total pain that airport security won’t let you bring water into the terminal, but rather than paying 5 bucks for an over-priced bottle, bring your own Sigg and fill it up at the water fountain in the boarding area. You get really dehydrated when flying, so drink up!
- Ask the flight crew where they eat: If you’re stuck at the airport thanks to delays, there is nothing worse than staring at McDonald’s and Burger King and deciding which is the lesser evil. Most members of the flight crew have eaten at every place in the joint and will know your best bet, so ask for a recommendation. And if you are stuck with just fast food as your options, this site is a great resource for the “healthier” options.
- Bring something sweet: Maybe it’s just me, but the dense volume of candy, ice cream and Cinnabon rolls found in airports and on the road make my knees weak. I’ve started packing dried fruit and dark chocolate almonds so I can manage my sweet tooth while still feeling like I’ve indulged!
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for healthy, happy traveling!! And if you’re traveling abroad, Uncornered Market has some good tips to keep in mind in order to stay healthy overseas.