The truth is, eating clean on the road is not easy. You have to make a concerted and conscious effort to stay on track. But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s downright doable with a little forethought and planning.
One of the worst offenders while traveling is pit stop junk food. It’s so easy to grab just one candy bar, or one soda. But snacks like that are a slippery slope.
Eating in restaurants is often just as bad. Particularly at chain restaurants which seem to be prevalent on road trips, near hotels and around airports.
So what’s a weary traveler to do? Here are 6 tips for sticking to your clean eating plan on the road.
- Don’t leave the house or hotel without a cooler, bag, bento box (from Bentology of course!) or purse filled with clean eats. Even if those items are not necessarily things you eat a lot of (like protein bars or dried fruit bars) on a regular basis, they will still be better options than most of the not-so-clean foods you find on the road.
- If possible, check out restaurant menus online before you leave. Determine what the best options are before you ever set foot in the restaurant, and don’t be afraid to ask your server for alterations to the dish you’d like to order. They are usually quite accommodating.
- When eating in a restaurant, keep it simple. It’s easy to relax and think that one decadent meal won’t hurt you, and you’re probably right. But when one meal turns into 4, 5 and 6, it’s not so great. Stick to things like lean meats and fish without sauces and plain vegetables with a small pat of butter for flavor. In fact, unless you are vegan or vegetarian, lean meat and veggies should be a default setting for you if you will be eating in a lot of restaurants during your trip.
- If this is a road trip, keep a stockpile of non-perishable items in your car. You can find a list of good travel foods here.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, be sure that a microwave and an in-room refrigerator will be available for you. Then find a local grocery store and grab some basics to keep on hand when you get there.
- Remember, where breakfast is concerned, your in-room coffee maker is not just for making coffee. You can use it to “boil” water for making oatmeal as well.
And perhaps, the more important thing is to realize that trips and vacations will never make for a perfect eating plan. It’s just not reasonable to expect perfection when you’re out of your element. So forgive yourself for mistakes and simply continue to take each meal on a case-by-case basis. Do the best you can, and most importantly, have fun!
Tiffany McCauley publishes TheGraciousPantry.com. A web site dedicated to clean eating recipes for everyday living. She lives in Sonoma County with her son, Mini Chef. Her latest cookbook, Clean Eating Freezer Meals, will be available in bookstores this September 2014.