Seek, Substitute, and Select Healthy Food While Traveling

  • Traveling with a bloated belly that is backed-up by some restaurant food from the night before is never fun. Those flavor enhancers found at a recent convenience food stop can also ruin a trip. These sudden changes of diet that most of us experience while traveling can really tie the loops of bowels into knots.  These knots can be prevented and undone with some simple strategies to keep things moving smoothly. Seeking out the best foods, substituting the junk with the healthy choices, and selecting wisely are all ways for to eat healthily while traveling.


    I offer my recent food journal taken while I was traveling to Boston as an example. The first thing I did was to seek out the nearest Whole Foods Market. These resources are not hard to find and offer many healthy food choices. That is right; I went grocery shopping while traveling. Why not? My body is used to certain foods. Going grocery shopping at the destination is a great way to acquire healthy foods your body is used to eating. In my grocery cart, I put steel-cut oats, fruit, almond milk, almond butter, nuts, and a nice stone-ground loaf of bread. These foods sustained me through many breakfasts and lunches. The steel-cut oats were soaked overnight to be eaten raw in the morning with the almond milk in my hotel room. The bread smothered with almond butter worked well for lunch. Bananas, nuts, and apples worked well for snacks, breakfast or lunch. Not only was this meal plan healthy, it was also economical.

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    For dinners, I used a two-pronged approach. First, I substituted when possible. In restaurants, the menu is really just a list of ingredients. You do not have to follow the pre-packaged meals. If you see zucchinis in one dish and asparagus in another, well then you know that both are in the kitchen for the taking. For example, mashed potatoes are usually served with a meat, in my case a salmon. Because the potatoes have a high glycemic index, I simply asked the waiter to hold the potatoes and substitute them for additional vegetables that I knew were in the kitchen. Once I learned the art of politely asking for substitutions, I found eating out very liberating and healthy.


    My second strategy for eating out is to select better restaurants which usually have more talented chefs and fresher ingredients. A good chef knows how to balance a dish with four essential tastes: the salt, the sweet, the bitter and the acid. You will notice that I had a couple multi-course meals that used a variety of ingredients. Even when faced with a very high-fat course, the proportion was very manageable and less sinful than had it been an entire plate full of cream, butter and fat.  As the MyPlate program states, portion control is critical to healthy meals. Small proportions help to keep the calorie count down within a healthy range. High flavor content keeps these small proportions very satisfying. The best restaurants know how to satisfy you and stay within your calorie budget. By savoring a well prepared meal, I was able to leave a fine restaurant without feeling guilty. By saving money at breakfast and lunch, I was able to splurge at dinner on better food while staying within a reasonable food budget as well.


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    Seeking out healthy food, substituting for healthier food, and selecting high quality food are all strategies which allow me to eat healthily no matter where I am and that allows me to continue to feel great all the time. Sometimes finding healthy food is a bit of a challenge, but worth the extra effort if you value your health. On the entire trip, my biggest challenge was to find something good to eat at Fenway Park. I searched high and low, wading past the Fenway Franks, the fried dough, and the pulled-pork sandwiches (that was difficult to pass up). But I did it, I found the one and only fruit cart selling whole fruit (For those of you going to Fenway, it is behind the homeplate section). I got my apple and ran back to my seat to watch the Sox's. One other trick to staying healthy is to stay hydrated, especially when sitting in the hot sun watching a ballgame. On the entire trip, the only beverage I drank was water. No hidden calories, no extra sugar, just plain, refreshing water to wash all that good food down. If you seek healthy food, you will find it. If you substitute the bad for the good, you will feel better. If you select the best quality, your food experience while traveling will be memorably remarkable. Enjoy.


Published On: July 11, 2011

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