Eating Healthy on The Road
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One of the most common questions I receive is:
'How do I maintain my healthy diet while eating out or traveling?'
Honestly, it isn't really very hard at all but before I start explaining I need to confess something. I am insanely shy.....Yep.....I never ask for anything, I have never returned anything even if I couldn't wear it because it didn't fit, I could go on, but you get the picture, I am shy. So if I can do it....so can you!
Okay on to the eating out and traveling tips. First I will detail what I did on my recent trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
**Please Forgive the Photos I took them with my cell phone as it would look to 'weird' for me to lug my huge SLR camera into the restaurants :-)
Day 1 Lunch
Costa Vida Veggie Salad
Costa Vida is an easy place to get a great healthy meal........We order the Costa Vida Veggie Salad, you can even get a whole wheat tortilla. A delicious salad piled high with lime rice, black beans, leafy greens, guacamole, pico de gallo, mango salsa....YUM!
If you want a delicious, oil-free dressing on your salad....Check out the Costa Vida Copy Cat Mango Dressing recipe in the Zesty for Health Salad Dressing ebook in The Peaceful Kitchen Store
You can find Costa Vida just about anywhere so if you are in a pinch traveling and need a quick bite to eat this is a great option.
Day 1 Dinner
Veggie Pizza at a Hole in the wall local restaurant
Hubby was CRAVING pizza and we drove by this really dumpy local pizza joint and I said NO....let's look up online and find a restaurant that offers veggie pizza. Hubby says he'll go in and ask about the ingredients, I stayed in the car pretty sure they wouldn't have anything.....well I was wrong.
We walk in and they do have veggie friendly pizza sauce and were very happy to make us a veggie pizza, they even had a veggie pizza, veggie subs and other veg options on the menu. I was impressed for a tiny little town in the middle of Colorado!
They made us a lovely pizza with olives, mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic and NO cheese! It was actually really good! I couldn't get a picture because after 9 hours of driving and playing games on my phone out of sheer boredom, my phone battery was too low for the camera to work.
I think though that this is a great example of how even in some tiny town, population 400, you can find something! You just have to ASK!
Day 2 Breakfast
Okay, I know I always harp on all my readers to GET A HOTEL WITH A FRIDGE! Hubby has to keep the hotel rooms under $100 when he travels for work and has always been able to find one with a fridge, even in tiny towns. However, people keep
whining, I mean, telling me they can't find a hotel with a fridge. Okay..... I decided to prove that you CAN do a healthy, cheap breakfast even without a fridge.
This hotel did not have a fridge but offered a continental breakfast. I knew ahead of time the fruit options would be limited generally continental breakfasts offer bananas, oranges and apples...that is a start. I planned ahead, found a grocery store on the way to the hotel before checking in and bought white peaches and raspberries which do not need refrigeration and lasted perfectly for the three days we were there.
Hubby got me UNSWEETENED instant oatmeal, banana, and apple juice at the continental breakfast. I poured the oatmeal in a bowl with the apple juice, topped it with sliced peaches, banana and raspberries and viola cheap, healthy breakfast!
Eating healthy while traveling or going out to eat is NOT hard, you do have to plan a little bit but it isn't anything that can't be done. I am not a good planner, I did NO prior planning for this trip, I decided to just go and find whatever food I could find to prove that you CAN travel, eat healthy with NO prior planning. With a little planning you could probably do even better....no excuses.
Day 2 Lunch
My son LOVES Subway, he absolutely LOVES the veggie sandwiches. Hubby was off working today so my son and I were left to explore Glenwood Springs. My son and I walked 2 miles from the hotel to Target and 2 miles back.....we were getting pretty tired on the way back and my son BEGGED to go to the subway by the hotel.
Subways are EVERYWHERE, I don't care if it is a town with a gas station and two houses I guarantee they will have a Subway! I ordered my sandwich......the employee will ALWAYS give you some sort of grief about the 'No Cheese'.....they may give you a confused look, clarify "you don't want cheese?", or make some snyde remark. Regardless of the nutrition illiterate teens working in restaurants you can get a healthy meal.
I got ALL The veggies piled high and topped it off with a splash of vinegar, mustard and black pepper. Sometimes I get plain baked lays but today I just had the sandwich.
Day 2 Dinner
Yep, you read that right, we went to Chili's and I am going to teach you how to find something to eat when someone else picks a restaurant and you can't find anything on the menu that fits your dietary choices. I purposely chose a difficult place to find veg friendly food to help you out.
They had a yummy looking Carribean Salad on the menu but it was ONLY offered with the options of Chicken or Shrimp and none of their dressings are vegan. No problem, the dressings are always served on the side to it is easy to pack a dressing in a small canning jar [they have really tiny jam jars you can buy] and put it in your purse.
I did not even have a dressing with me because like I said, I did this trip with NO planning to prove that it can still be done. Although I would recommend at bare minimum have some prepared dressings with you, they only take 30 seconds to whiz up before you leave and you just pour into a tiny jar with a lid and you are good to go. Need some oil-free dressing ideas...check out The Peaceful Kitchen store for the Zesty for Health Salad Dressings.
Anyway, I ordered the Carribean salad and asked for NO chicken or shrimp. The waitor didn't even skip a beat and wrote it down. I then asked for a side of black beans. I topped my salad with the black beans and it was DELICIOUS!
A Lesson in Using the Restaurant Menu to Create A Meal
The Chili's Menu lists this sandwich....
California Turkey Club Toasted Sandwich
With turkey, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, Swiss, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and seasoned mayo on wheat Texas toast
Hubby and my son are vegetarians, they do have some dairy or eggs in baked goods when we are out to eat and they don't have as strict of healthy eating ideas as me so this is what they did.
They looked on the menu and saw that this sandwich had tomatoes, onions, lettuce and avocado.....they LOVE sandwiches with those ingredients. So hubby told the waitor they wanted this sandwich with NO turkey and NO bacon. The waitor didn't even give a strange look he just said, okay.
You can do this ANYWHERE! Look at the menu and find ingredients listed....whether it be a pasta dish or whatever if it includes broccoli, bell pepers or whatever you can get an idea of what ingredients they have so you can create something suitable.
Example #2 for Chili's
ALWAYS Look for the Sides on the Menu
Chili's has some GREAT sides:
Broccoli [you have to ask them not to prepare it with butter]
Corn on the Cob
Pico De Gallo
Okay so if we are just working with the sides on the menu we could create.....
Gluten free - Corn tortilla stuffed with avocado, black beans, salsa and broccoli with corn on the cob on the side.
NOT gluten free you could use flour tortillas
You could create a Mexican pasta using the penne, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, and salsa with a side of corn on the cob
Do you see how easy this can be? I was just using the sides to create yummy food! It is really that easy.
Outback Steakhouse Example
Okay, I don't regularly visit Outback Steakhouse......however, if someone else chose to eat there for some reason and I went...I could still find something.
We can again look at the sides menu. You may have to ask some questions about chicken broth that may be used in cooking pasta sauce or rice pilafs etc.. or avoid them if you don't want to ask.
The house salad [no croutons or cheese]
Outback has vegan dressings: mustard vinaigrette, oil & vinegar or the tangy tomato if you don't bring your own.
Baked potato with chives
steamed mixed vegetables
Just make sure they don't put butter on them.
Just from the sides menu alone you can have a baked potato, steamed veggies and a salad with dressing. You can also ask for a dressing on the side to top your potato....I usually bring my own tofu sour cream in a small jar but either way it works.
Day 3 Breakfast
Same as Day 2
Day 3 Lunch
V Cafe in Grand Junction
An AMAZING resource when traveling!!! I always Check Happy Cow for Veg restaurants or Veg friendly restaurants while I am traveling.
I had a delicious wrap filled with veggies and guacamole. This was a fun little place we found on our way home. I highly recommend searching Happy Cow for veg restaurants as you travel, we have found some amazing places that we never would have been able to find otherwise so check it out!
Hubby had the black bean burger on Ciabatta bread and LOVED it!!! He actually wrote down the address so next time he was on a business trip he could come back. They had really great food and it was very inexpensive as well.
Tips for Traveling Healthy Style
- Prepare a couple salad dressings ahead of time
- Look at the ingredients listed in entrees on the menu to see what you have to work with
- Look at the Sides to see if you can create a meal from them
- Don't be afraid to ask questions
- BE POLITE!
- Check out www.happycow.net before you go
- Go to a local grocery store and pick up whole wheat bread, peanut butter, jam, fruit and even unsweetened instant oats if you have very few options available to you.
- We even found oatmeal on a room service menu [just ask for no milk] and they often have fresh fruit as a side you can top it with.
Traveling while healthy doesn't have to be difficult, have a great time, don't stress about the food you can always find something! Life isn't about food, it is about people and relationships so make memories and forget about the food. If you have to eat a big bowl of fruit for lunch from a gocery store for lunch because it is all you could find....great. Forget the food, make memories!