Summer vacations are great, but if you are trying to eat healthy or if you have a food sensitivity, they can be stressful. Time off should be fun and relaxing! With a little planning and these tips, your vacation can be everything you want it to be.
While travelling, we often find ourselves eating foods that we don’t really want to eat, usually due to convenience. Whether you are driving or flying, you can pack a lunch for your first day on the trip. If you have a plug-in cooler for your car, pack another day’s lunch. Bring along some healthy snacks—sliced veggies, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, granola bars, trail mix, and cheese and crackers are all good choices.
Food Sensitivities and Travel
If you have food sensitivities, make sure to bring along appropriate snacks. In a pinch, several snacks can make a meal. If there is a something specific you eat that is hard to find, take it with you to avoid the disappointment of not finding it at your destination. For kids with food allergies, don’t forget some special snacks and drinks; this can make the difference between a truly enjoyable trip and your child feeling deprived because they aren’t eating fast food. Also, be sure to have some special treats handy for a surprise. You never know what may come up (the ice cream truck coming around the corner!), and having a child’s favorite can make the difference between tears and smiles.
When you do have to eat on the road, look for better choices. Use your travel time to do some research. Many restaurants are offering healthy options and if you have a sensitivity, you likely already know which chain restaurants offer options for you, so locate those ahead of time. And if you’re on a road trip, plan your schedule so that you arrive in the right place at the right time for meals.
Eat Healthy…In Your Hotel Room?
When making your hotel reservation, ask for a mini-fridge and/or microwave. There may be a nominal charge for these two appliances but having them in your room allows you to prepare simple meals as needed. Remember to pack a few essentials in your luggage if you are going to be making meals in the room. If you’re flying, be sure to pack these items in your checked luggage do you don’t risk them being confiscated when you go through security. Items may include a cutting board, a small paring knife, a can opener, a stick blender, a kitchen towel.
Free hotel breakfast is convenient and saves money but unfortunately, it is usually low quality. Refined carbohydrates offer little in the way of nutritional value. You should feel free to choose some of the offerings and add some of your own. Bring a stick blender and make your own smoothie in your room. Bring a cooler for your smoothie ingredients. If there is a gluten sensitivity, bring a toaster and your own bread product and if your hotel offers a Continental breakfast, take their gluten-free offerings up to your room.
Sometimes renting a house or staying at a hotel with a kitchen is easier if someone in the family has food sensitivities. Do your pre-trip research and find a store along the way that has organic products. Have a grocery list ready before you get to your destination so you don’t forget any essentials. While on vacation, find a local market where you can put together a picnic. It will be much healthier than eating fast food or at a beach snack bar.
Dining Out on the Road
An ever-increasing number of restaurants are serving organic and local food options. Farm-to-table restaurants are on the rise; ask locals what they would recommend. Make sure a salad and veggies are part of dinner, for you and for the kids! A local Facebook group dining page is a great place to find a good restaurant that can accommodate any food sensitivities you may need to consider.
If you order pizza, order a salad too—or stop at the grocery store and pick up veggies and dip. If you offer the veggies to kids before the pizza, chances are you’ll get more vegetables into them. Some pizza places are now even offering cauliflower crust for those who are gluten-sensitive or watching carbs. Look for a juice bar or health food store that offers fresh organic juice—having fresh vegetable juice can make up for those “not so healthy” choices while on vacation.
Eating Healthy with Friends
If staying with friends, take your essential items with you. Stop for groceries before you arrive. It’s okay to eat the way that feels best for you. Watching carbs? Have some lettuce on hand to make a salad or turn a sandwich into a lettuce wrap. Plan ahead for day trips with the group; a little research will help you to be prepared. And keep a snack with you, just in case plans change at the last minute.
With a little planning before you head out to enjoy your vacation, you can feed yourself and your family well. Making the extra effort ahead of time will leave you feeling better and give you more energy to enjoy your vacation. If you need help navigating a food sensitivity, working with a professional can help you get—and stay—on the right track.
Theresa Edmunds is a Certified Health Coach focusing on all aspects of natural health. Using her Foundations for Health, she helps clients transform their health and their lives. “Being healthier leads to feeling better which makes people happier, and happiness is what we are all striving for.” Contact her today for a free 20-minute consult to see how she can help you feel better and happier.
Theresa@theresaedmunds.com or 734.308.7105. Available for speaking engagements and seminars.