I have been doing a lot of driving and traveling the last month and a half. I attended a conference in Texas, looked for a house to rent in another state and moved. Wow, I am tired. And very soon I will get in my car again for Christmas.
All this travel reminds me how hard it is to eat healthy food on the road and I find airports to be even worse. If you don’t eat fast food, there really aren’t many options. On one of our road trips we found a Zoe’s and I used to consider that a good option. I recently found out Zoe’s now adds corn to their seasoning. Corn isn’t on my current eating plan. And I have no idea if the corn is GMO or not. I would eat at a Chipolte if I could find one. They use clean meat. I understand Carl Jr has a grassfed burger but I have never stopped. I just can’t make myself. I am gluten free and since we aren’t eating nightshades I can’t have the fries. And if you can’t have the fries what is the point? I also don’t like the smell of the grease in fast food establishments.
I actually got excited on a road trip this summer when I saw there was a Publix at one of the exits. I exited and grabbed some organic lettuce and had a salad in my car.
The roadside signs that tell you which gas stations and food establishments are at an exit are helpful. In Austin Whole Foods is listed on at least one sign I have seen. And while these signs are great, they don’t list everything. Sometimes you can find a great place to get a wholesome meal if you know it’s there. If you spend some time doing google searches you can find places to eat while on your trip.
So when I plan a trip I make sure my hotel has a refrigerator. I carry my own food and a refrigerator overnight is a must.
It shouldn’t be so hard to eat well. It saddens me that most restaurant chains don’t serve food that nourishes our bodies. And most of the stuff in grocery stores isn’t much better. It doesn’t surprise me that so many people aren’t well these days. Obesity and diabetes are epidemic. If the food you are eating isn’t meeting your nutritional needs, you are not going to feel full and you will eat more. There are too many additives and sugars added to foods sold in most grocery stores and many restaurants. And if you are on a special diet, such as gluten free, your options are really slim.
If we want to be healthy we must take back control of our food. We need to shop at farmers’ markets and other places that sell wholesome and cleaner food. Join a co-op and/or a CSA. Planting your own garden is a great way to get your vegetables, herbs, and fruit. We need to start cooking again. Microwaves don’t count as cooking.
So what do I take with me on the road to eat? I carry lettuce, olives, organic olive oil and apple cider vinegar. I make my own salads. I have traveled with wild-caught salmon and green beans. I will carry chicken or pre-cooked hamburgers. I always have some veggies with me too. Hard boiled eggs are easy to travel with and easy to eat. I usually have organic cheese sticks, another easy to eat item while on the road. Grapes are great or apple slices. Nut butters are simple too. When I could have nightshades cherry tomatoes were a great road trip food. I carry seaweed and tuna in aseptic packages. As a treat I carry Hail Mary’s chocolate macaroons. If I have made muffins I will take those along. I also have plenty of water and a selection of tea bags. Tea bags can go into a bottle of water and into the cooler for a while and I have iced tea. When stopping for a restroom break at Starbucks I can get a free cup of hot water and make my own hot tea. In the summer I will carry some cold brew coffee and organic cream. Once again while at Starbucks I get a cup of free ice. I add my cold brew and organic cream and I’m off. (Please don’t think I just freeload off of Starbucks because I don’t. I do buy their products from time to time.)
There are a lot of options for eating well on the road but you do have to plan ahead and cook accordingly. You need to make sure you maintain the food at proper temperatures so that no one gets sick. Make sure you pack enough for all your meals and snacks for everyone on the trip. I have done some poor planning and had some odd meals on a couple of trips. This happened because I was counting on a Chipolte going through a town and I never found one.
I feel there is a market need for places to eat real food while on the road. When going through major cities I can usually find something but traveling on country roads and between big cities there isn’t much. As more people care about what they eat and the demand for nutritious food increases there will be more options out there. Until then I will plan ahead and pack my own food.
What are some of your favorite travel foods? Let us know in the comments below.