Eating healthy on the road is doable and dare I say easy if you know how. If you think you are going to spend your road trip or work trip eating rice puffs and baby carrots you might be a crazy because what’s really going to happen is as soon as you pass that McDonald’s you are going to think ” these rice puffs suck!”.
Plato and every high school teacher said “know thyself” and that applies to your eating habits as well. I know that if I don’t pre-buy my snacks I’m going to eat like shit. I LOVE salads and smoothies but I also love me a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s and if I am going into a state that has an In-N-Out I don’t care how many rice puffs or bananas are going bad before my very eyes I’m going to pull over and eat the hell out of an animal style cheeseburger. If I was dying and they said you can only eat lettuce or you will die I would die happy eating that animal style burger. I digress.
Traveling is fun so why would you want to eat healthy on the road!?!!!! Well sometimes you have to and sometimes you want to. For the past five years I traveled for work and so I learned really quickly that if I didn’t want to feel like absolute crap I had to make healthy eating 80% of my trip and the other 20% would be going out to eat or eating at places I wanted to try that were most likely not deemed healthy. That’s the “want to eat healthy” part of me.
Enter “have to eat healthy” part. About a year ago my sister noticed I had a small bald spot above my right ear. I had to change my whole diet in order to have my hair start growing back which meant extreme healthy eating on the road while traveling for four months straight. If you want to read more about my alopecia areata and my journey with it click here.
Back to wanting to eat healthy on the road…
1. Set your self up for success- Make sure your start the journey off hydrated otherwise you will feel like death. I prefer Alkaline water because I’m fancy but if you aren’t into it make sure your water has minerals and electrolytes otherwise you will not hydrate your body properly. That’s right you NEED minerals in your water in order for your body to hydrate. Without the needed minerals your body will go in search and start pulling those minerals from your bones and blood stream which takes more energy and is in the opposite direction of hydration. I am a huge fan of morning smoothies because they are easy and sometimes eating real food in the morning grosses me out. I recently discovered Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides which actually has 18 grams of protein per two scoops so I am not only getting gut and skin health but my morning protein as well.
2. Pre-buy your snacks– If you are on a road trip or traveling for a long period of time most likely at some point you are going to be bored out of your mind and you will want to snack because you’re a human. I snack like a Mo-Fo on long drives because I love eating in the car, I don’t know why, I just do. If I’m staying in hotels I also need a stockpile of snacks to eat in-between major meals. Hunger is the worst thing that can happen to your eating healthy ideas. Take your butt to your nearest healthy food place before you leave and stock up on the following items:
If you want to guard them against travel bumps pre cut fruits and put them in small containers. Flat containers are best for carry ons FYI.
That’s right kids get yourself some healthy junk food. It may be more psychological than anything else but road trips make you want to snack and snacking on apple slices sounds lame as hell. I prefer all my “healthy chips” made with coconut or palm oil because it’s better for you. I also love gummies so I stock up on the organic kind. My sister is a vegetarian so I got the ones that use tapioca syrup instead of gelatin but I usually prefer the gelatin because I need those nutrients!
Oh ya protein is most important. I lived off of these epic bars for months on the road and they kept me alive and on my very specific hair re-growing diet. I hope we all know this by now but protein is what keeps the hunger away. You can also bring nuts, but the idea of bringing nuts on my road trip makes me angry. Nuts do nothing for me emotionally and I eat them in other forms such as almond milk or organic peanut butter but the idea of chewing on nuts and getting them stuck between my teeth pisses me off. When I can I do bring or buy said peanut butter and eat it with my apples..that’s a yum.
3. Locate your nearest Whole Foods Market or health food store- This will be your savior. If you are staying in a suite style hotel or one that has a mini kitchen or microwave you can grab food to actually cook with. If you do not have that option stock up on more fruits and veggies and protein sources (get those damn nuts outta here). This is meant to keep you sustained until actual meal times.
4. Follow the big 3- Organic, Non-GMO, gluten free. Let me be clear, I do eat bread but I prefer rye and pumpernickel over wheat and semolina-never white. I’m half German and we love us some dark breads which are healthier for you anyway. If you are traveling chances are you don’t want to feel tired and heavy so don’t go gluten crazy. Organic is an obvious choice for me, and hopefully you, and Non-GMO because I have developed my own conspiracy theories with food and it goes against my hippie nature.
5. Order meat and veggies or salads– Chances are you will be going to some sort of restaurant and your first thought after looking at the menu is going to be clouded in the fear that you need to get something substantial because it will be a long time again until you eat again and you don’t want to be hungry. BAM- that’s why you have all those backup healthy filling snacks you bought waiting for you. You can’t go wrong with grilled chicken and veggies or spinach salads. If you are a shirt food place ask for a salad with grilled chicken and avocado. Throw some olive oil on that B and you are good to go.
6. Make smarter order choices- Again, lettuce, grilled chicken, avocado and olive oil are your best friends. If you want to indulge on hop on the burger train that everyone else is on GO AHEAD it’s okay… but you can make smarter choice. Maybe get your burger wrapper in lettuce, or if you are afraid the waiter is going to be mean to you just ask for no bun. Instead of fries you can always go with a side salad or ask if they have sweet potato fries instead. Yes those are probably fried too but you won’t feel as unhealthy and that is a legitimate feeling.
Again this blog is all about balance and incorporating however much wellness you can in your life. Work from where you are at and where you want to be. Life is meant to be fun. I knew that on my road trip heading to my Mom’s in the South I was 100% going to go to my favorite fast food BBQ restaurant (Cook Out- that’s my Southern In-N-Out!) so I made sure I ate healthy the other 85-90% of the time. When I indulge and eat the goodies I want to I don’t feel out of whack or like I need to jump on a cleanse ASAP because I’ve been balancing it all out the whole time.
Wellness is doable wherever you are in your life or travels but make sure you are getting a plan together otherwise you might end up on a McDonald’s locating road trip.