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So you’re heading out on vacation, but you’re worried about how you’re going to maintain your healthy eating habits? 

Between navigating restaurants, being on the go,  and having not-so-great choices at your fingertips it can be difficult to maintain any progress you’ve made on transitioning to a healthier lifestyle.

Today, I’m sharing some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years that help me return from traveling feeling MORE energized and refreshed than when I left.

Feeling like you need to drastically restrict yourself to “get back on track” is not the vibe.

Once you get out of the “dieting” mindset and begin realizing healthy is a lifestyle that becomes a part of your everyday decisions and not just something you do before a special event to drop a few pounds – this becomes easier. Knowing how to order in restaurants and what to look for on a label when shopping becomes second nature. 

And once you realize which foods weigh you down (not just literally, but mentally and energetically too), it becomes really easy to make better choices – BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD TO FEEL GOOD!  

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Book a stay with a kitchen

Hands down one of my best travel tips is to book a house with a kitchen over staying at a hotel if possible. You’ll have so much more control over your food choices and might even save money in the grand scheme of things by not eating all your meals out.

If you can do this, put in the work ahead of time and plan out the meals you’re going to eat in vs which ones you’ll eat out.

When my partner and I went to Hawaii last year, we stopped at the grocery store on the way to our condo and loaded up on supplies. We ate about 70% of our meals there and I really feel like this made the other 30% of the meals we ate out, more satisfying. We knew we wanted to have dinner out two nights so we knew how many dinners we needed to plan for. We stocked up on lots of snacks and ate all our breakfasts in.

(Fish tacos with Siete tortillas, pineapple salsa, rice, slaw, guacamole and mangos on the side)

At the very least, prioritize getting a solid breakfast with plenty of fat and protein! It will make the rest of the day less likely to get “off rails”.

For breakfast you can keep it simple with some eggs and fruit. Scrambled, fried, or hard boiled are all good options. To keep my gut in tip top shape I’ll grab a jar of sauerkraut to put on my plate.

Or pick up a bag of oatmeal and your favorite toppings (include some nuts or seeds for a little fat). 

(Scrambled eggs, sauerkraut, sautéed greens topped with macadamia nuts, fresh mango)

Don’t forget the coffee! One of my favorite things to bring with me is bone broth protein and add it to my coffee (or smoothies if you’re a smoothie person). I just put however many scoops I want to bring into a ziplock bag and bring it with me. It’s an easy way to get a little more protein to start the day. 

You can also get greens for making delicious salads and buy a cheap bottle of balsamic and olive oil to whip up a dressing. 

This summer I took two road trips and brought these salads in my cooler. I made a big batch ahead of time and they lasted a few days. If I were staying somewhere with a kitchenette I would buy the ingredients and whip them up again to have on hand. Easy and delicious. 

If there’s a whole foods store in the area, even easier – you can skip the grocery store stop and order some groceries through Amazon and have it delivered within an hour or two. 

If you’re driving to your destination, then you have even more options! I share in this video what I took on my last road trip.


2. Learn how to navigate restaurant menus

Even if you have access to a kitchen, you’ll probably still end up eating a meal or two out. And if you’re staying in a hotel, then you’re definitely going to find yourself reading menus wondering what the heck should I eat?

Think ahead and preview the menu ahead of time. Even if you’re not a foodie, one of the best parts of traveling is experiencing new places to eat! Lean in and see what’s available in your area.

Here’s my best tips and tricks for ordering in restaurants:

  • Skip the bread basket and ask for olives or a cheese plate to start
  • Skip anything breaded or fried especially on the appetizer menu
  • Avoid pasta (unless the restaurant makes it from scratch and is known for it and you really want to try it)
  • Choose bun-less or lettuce wrapped burgers and salads
  • Look for meats and veggies that are grilled or roasted
  • Opt for white rice over brown

3. Rethink your idea of “fast food”

The grocery store has PLENTY of “fast food” options for you. When traveling I don’t hit drive thru’s (actually this is true all the time). I take the extra 15 minutes to park my car, walk into a store, buy a few items and walk out. It’s not that hard, friends. 

Don’t sit in a drive through just to pay good money for shitty food. 

Here are my go-to grocery store fast-food items:

  • Applegate turkey, ham or salami deli meat
  • A bell pepper that I eat like an apple
  • An actual apple and some dry roasted nuts (no oils)
  • Pre-slices veggies and some hummus
  • Beef jerky
  • Cottage cheese
  • Plantain chips
  • Olives
  • Rx Bars
  • Full fat plain yogurt with some berries mixed in
  • Mary’s gone crackers and goat cheese
  • Drinks: kombucha or sparkling water

Grocery stores almost always have spoons and napkins available to grab so don’t forget that step. 

4. Bring snacks

If you didn’t already watch that video I posted above, but you’re traveling by car – go watch it for a detailed list of snack foods to bring. Most of those snack food items I picked up from Thrive Market which I highly recommend as a shopping resource! (that link gets you 40% off your first purchase).

5. Pack supplements 

Ok, this one isn’t food but it is food related. Sometimes nothing throws your gut off like traveling. Especially when you find yourself eating new foods, or restaurant meals with infalmmatory oils and processed ingredients.

Here are my top 2 supplements I NEVER travel without:

Read more about The Power of Digestive Bitters. If you struggle with gas, bloating, or feelings of “fullness”, this can be a game changer for you.

Purchase this powerful digestive duo in my online dispensary and get 10% off.

CONCLUSION

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of travel and begin to neglect your healthy habits. When ingredients, time and access to a kitchen are not readily available or if you’re traveling with people who are not sharing in your health goals it can be challenging.

If things don’t go as planned, don’t beat yourself up over anything. Life is too short for that and after all, vacations are to be enjoyed!

I’m here to tell you that you can enjoy life to the fullest AND be healthy. It is entirely possible. 

It’s about making choices that support the way you want to feel without feeling restricted. It’s about taking away the things that make you feel like shit so you can make room for the things that GIVE you life. 

It’s about bringing freedom and health to your life.

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Kristen Barrett, FNTP, FDN-P

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