Remember when I shared how I survive road trips while eating paleo? We can eat healthier while traveling by planning ahead, eating before we leave the house, and pack our own homemade delicious snacks… but sometimes we are just hungry and we’re miles away from resources and a kitchen and there are business all about with their flashy signs and great deals and what’s a girl to do but order a medium potato óle? Again, I urge you to set your boundaries and know why you chose to eat the way you do. If you’re doing the Whole Thirty challenge. You can not afford to go off-plan. One sip of a milkshake will set back two weeks of the dairy and sugar cleanse you are on. It can take 30 days for your body to fully rid itself of the dairy and up to 90 days for gluten. But if you’re just trying to lose 5 pounds, you may give yourself a treat here and there. I get it.
If finances are tight, eating out ever can wreck your food budget.
I’m not here to talk you into anything. But I’d like to encourage you in your healthy food journey! Let’s hear it for REAL FOOD! Where can you get real food while traveling? There are some ways to eat healthier from fast food. Some offer salads that aren’t half bad. But if you’re counting calories, you’ll be surprised what you find in the dressings or add-ons. I don’t count calories, but I do avoid most commercial dressings.
The #1 way I eat healthier while traveling is to “eat out” at the grocery store.
Go to the grocery store! Just pretend the grocery store is a huge buffet. Grab a cart, bring all the kids inside and walk around the outer edge of the store and buy lots of things that you can eat immediately. Get some fruit. A few vegetables. Some protein. I promise this will save you money and keep you feeling great. My husband will argue that he doesn’t get full this way, but I argue it’s because he just didn’t eat enough—and next time he will need to get a rotisserie chicken or some other hot meat.
What do we actually buy to make a meal for the family?
Anything we want! And we don’t just do this for traveling, we swing by the grocery store to grab food for picnics, parks days, play-dates, etc. Here are a few meal suggestions that I’ve bought in the past:
Romain lettuce, lunch meat, guacamole, bell peppers, dill pickles, grapes, oranges, carrots. My total was $23 and we had enough for two full meals. We used the lettuce to make wraps with the guac, meat, peppers, and pickles and ate the fruit and carrots on the side. (Hint: I usually have a knife handy to slice bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.)
Last time we splurged and spent a whopping $45 dollars. We bought oranges, apples, bananas, guacamole, Nuthins, Ritz crackers, salt & vinegar potato chips, 12 pack of Lärabars, lunch meat, almonds, and a jug of water. Oh, and The Wonky Donky.
My kids are currently 9, 6, 5, and 2 years old. The six of us generally eat paleo, but nobody but me reacts to gluten, dairy, or sugar, so they’re allowed to eat whatever they want. I prep them before we go inside the store: “Don’t ask for a bunch of things you know we’re not going to buy. I will let you know when it’s time for you to pick something out. You will stay with me and not run off down the aisles. Let’s go get some yummy lunch!”
Here’s a $12 dinner: Small jar of peanut butter, jelly, loaf of bread, bag of oranges, and a 6-pack of ice cream sandwiches. Even though it’s still processed food, it goes better for my family than buying a meal’s worth from a fast-food joint. And you will probably have leftovers of everything but the ice-cream sandwiches!
A few grocery store recipes to eat healthier while traveling:
1) Single serve apple sauce, yogurt cups, deli meat and cheese, Hawaiian rolls, carrots, grapes.
2) Hot chicken from the deli, clearance French bread, sliced cheese, rocket apples, dill pickles.
3) Premade salad mixes, a $1 bowl, can of chicken, small bottle of dressing, ask for forks at the deli counter.
4) Fruit/veggie pouch for the toddler, variety of Naked or Bolthouse Farms juices to sample, bag of chips and jar of favorite dip, box of Lärabars, container of mixed nuts.
5) A protein, a vegetable, a fruit, some add-ons to make the meal fun.
6) Yes, sometimes I still find myself munching down on a handful of potato óles and I have no shame in this.
Don’t make food while traveling harder than it has to be. Just . . . pick out some yummy healthier foods and eat.
My favorite is to let each kid pick out something. One kid will get to pick out his favorite vegetables, while another is in charge of the fruit, one helps decide which type of meat or nuts. You get the idea. They’re much happier this way and so am I.
Is this something you have ever done? Can you bypass the fast-food and grab lunch at the grocery store and eat at the park? Or the trunk of the suburban? Or your friend’s backyard?
Tasha Hackett is a friend of Laura and author of Bluebird on the Prairie. When Eloise and Zeke meet under an extremely embarrassing circumstance, Eloise is fine with pretending the whole thing never happened. But they continue to be thrown together when Zeke lands a job working for her brother and it appears God has other plans for this couple. Find a copy of this touching romance wherever books are sold.
To connect more with Tasha and her historical fiction writing, you can find her at www.TashaHackett.com.