After writing my last post about getting outdoors more often I thought an appropriate follow up post would be on how to eat healthy on the road. This can be a struggle for a lot of people, especially those on a high raw food diet. I find it very difficult to get a good intake of raw foods while on the road, but I do have some tips to help you eat healthier while traveling.
- Avoid the gas station pit stop. In order to do this, it’s essential to pack high quality, nutritious snacks. I suggest nuts, fruits, and energy bars. Whenever you are going to be in the car for a long period of times snacks are essential. Having these healthy snacks will keep you from buying unhealthy gas station foods. But if for some reason you do have to fuel up here I suggest going for the nuts and dried foods. But, keep in mind these are not as healthy as they usually contain oils, high amounts of salt and other preservatives.
- Don’t eat out. Pack your cooler full of healthy foods, including greens. Before heading out on the road pre-cut your veggies so making a salad doesn’t become a chore. Just simply throw some greens into a bowl, toss in your pre-chopped veggies, pour on some dressing, and you are ready to munch on a nutritious meal that won’t make you tired (as a fast food meal would), which is also good so don’t doze off while driving..Another great thing to pack is sprouted grain breads and almond butter. If you aren’t going for the raw food thing, you can even pack a tasty jelly to go along with it. I also like to put bananas on my sprouted grain sandwiches with almond butter.
- Planning ahead is crucial. I typically try to plan out my meals for the weekend, or week, so I know exactly what to take. Granted, plans almost never go accordingly, but without planning you are more likely to make poor dietary choices.
- Keep it simple. When you plan our your meals remember to keep it simple. If you plan something too complex you risk the potential of getting lazy and not wanting to prepare the meal, which could result in simply eating out.
- Go all out! Sounds contradictory huh? While keeping your meals mostly simple, it’s good to plan at least one extravagant meal on for longer trips; you can get away with only simple meals on weekend trips. I say this because it helps things not become so mundane. I find myself “cheating” mostly when I’m getting bored with my food. By preparing at least one “gourmet” meal you will ward off the boredom and maintain a pattern of healthy eating.
- Research local eateries. Okay, I know I just said don’t eat out, but lets be realistic. If you are on vacation you are going to eat out. Try to do research on the eating establishments where you will be staying and have ideas in mind for where to eat. There are great websites out there such as HappyCow that will help you find vegetarian friendly restaurants where you will be staying.
- Bring those digestive enzymes along with you too. Lets face it, you are more than likely going to cheat on your excursion and indulge in a mammoth sized pizza or fried delicacy, so take a couple of plant based digestive enzymes with your meal. I typically take one before and one after the meal. If you are not familiar with digestive enzymes, they are simply a supplement that helps you digest foods more efficiently. They are especially helpful when eating cooked foods. They really are not needed when consuming raw foods.
- Drink lots of water is also essential when traveling. It’s easier to remember to drink water throughout the day when you are in your normal daily routine, but it’s harder to continue this habit when traveling. So remember to keep drinking. I highly recommend carrying a water bottle with you at all times. I love m Klean Kaneteen because it’s stainless steel and BPA free. The only down side to them is you will dent the crap out of them if you get in a bike accident Mine flew out of my bag when I was hit by the car about a month ago. But other than that, these water bottles are pretty sturdy and don’t dent to badly with a normal drop. Drinking water is not only essential for our bodies to function, but it helps curb hunger cravings.
- Set a food budget. Giving yourself a food budget will help you to stick with your meal plans throughout the week. I try to give myself a food allowance when I travel on longer trips so I’m less likely to eat out.
- Know where the Whole Foods or natural grocers are located. Since I tend to eat a lot of fruit, and attempt to eat a lot of greens on my extended trips, it’s essential to know where the good grocers are located.
- Make your intentions known with traveling companions. Before leaving for the trip let your traveling partners know you wish to eat at rest stops rather than restaurants. Some individuals I travel with are on the same boat with me on this, others only want to stop at fast food joints. Knowing what to expect will help you be prepared. Even if that means they still eat fast food, you can be sure to pack a meal that is easy to eat in the car.
Now that you have several tips to help you eat healthier on the road, keep this raw food staples in mind for your next trip.
- Fruits, especially fruit that lasts a long time, such as bananas and apples.
- Nuts, almonds and cashews are the easiest to pack. Pistachios are also tasty, but require some work to shell, unless you get them already shelled (pricey though). I also recommend seasoning them as well. You can do this cheaply on your own. Here is one of my own trail mix recipes that is very easy to make (see photo and ingredients towards bottom of post).
- Energy bars. There are lots of raw energy bars on the. Just pick the one you like best, or make your own.
- Pre-packaged fruit cups. Whole Foods and other grocery stores will often have pre-packaged fruit cups about 8oz in size. This is a great alternative to smoothies since you will more than likely not have a blender while you travel.
- Almond Butter – tasty, nutritious and filling. Great on apples, bananas and sprouted grain breads.
- Sprouted grain breads – not always “raw” but a healthier than traditional breads that have more ingredients listed on the wrapper than I can count on both hands and with my toes. Remember, the less ingredients you see listed on the package the better.
- Raw Tahini – another great staple to spread on breads and dip veggies into.
This post also wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t plug my new company, Adventure Naturals. My business partner and I are starting up here in Austin and will be selling raw energy bars and seasoned nuts; great for taking on road trips. Be sure to follow us on Twitter too. I will be making posts about the progress of things and will tweet giveaways once we start producing.
I was inspired to start up the company after many people told me I should make my energy bars and sell them. My love for adventure and raw foods also sparked the drive to begin making my creations for a living. Being an adventure seeker I know first hand how hard it can be to eat healthy, healing, raw foods on the road. Thus, the birth of Adventure Naturals. We plan on beginning production early next year. The bars will be available locally in Austin, and online.
What are your healthy eating tips for road trips? Please share them in the comments section.