Every time I leave town for a few days I think about what I’ll be eating, and how to plan out some of my meals. Yes, I know, I can be a real health nut, but it’s more than that. I do my best to eat well at home–this helps keep me happy, healthy, and feeling well. When I don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, I tend to feel sluggish and lazy. For example, this past weekend I’ve been eating away from home for each meal and I didn’t feel like myself (my stomach wasn’t too happy either). Anyway, I decided my body likes, and is used to all of the foods I typically eat which is why I do my best to treat it the same as often as possible.
Let me elaborate: Eating away from home can be a real chore when you’re trying to eat well. Here is the general thought process–
- Price (healthier foods tend to be more expensive): “Can I afford to eat here?”
- Taste: “Do I like what they serve?”
- Appeal: “Will the quality of food be good?”, “Am I in the mood for this kind of food?”
- Health: “Will they have healthy options?”
Which order do you typically think of these questions? Which of these areas are most important to you?
Sure, if you’re on an exotic vacation–eat the local food! Try new things, don’t worry too much about question #4. On the other hand, if you’re not looking to broaden your cultural food horizons, maybe you should think about question #4 a bit longer.
Ok, so now what? You find yourself focusing on the healthier options. There are a few ways to go:
- Take a peek at the menu before hand. If you do not see a healthier option:
- Think about ordering an appetizer as your main meal (I’m not talking about onion rings, or buffalo wings)
- Order an entrée, and box up half of it (or more) before digging in. Save leftovers for the long car ride!..or breakfast
- Think about some substitutions you can ask about: more tomato and less bacon, no cheese, vegetables instead of rice, etc.
- Bring plenty of snacks from home, so you’ll only have to eat one or two meals out
- I like to bring my favorite cereal from home. This way, I’ll only have to buy some milk and I’ll have breakfast. Hot cereal works too (add hot water).
- Carrots are great to pack because they hold their freshness for a few days. Other fresh fruits are good too–they are a pick-me-up!
- Trail mix rocks. I make my own by adding my favorite unsalted roasted nuts along with some dried fruit.
- PB & J sandwiches are great too. You can even pack the ingredients separately and make sandwiches on the go! (Or eat with crackers)
- If you’re staying in a hotel, check before hand if there is a refrigerator in the room. This way, you can bring some leftovers from home, or do some light grocery shopping nearby.
On one trip to San Francisco, I bought some cold cuts, bread, milk, and fruit at a local store. I kept the items in my hotel refrigerator, and only had to eat out for dinner (or mid-day snacking). I saved a lot of money, and I felt great. I was also able to splurge a bit more for my dinners. 😉
If you haven’t thought about it already….Restaurants tend to cook with a lot of fat and salt. They want you to like the taste of their food. Your health is not their priority, unless you make it yours.
Marina Bedrossian is a Northport, NY dietitian nutritionist who helps people with holistic nutrition solutions and food sensitivities. Visit this page to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to join the private Facebook group “Ingredients For Healthy Families” more information here.