Nothing tests your will to eat clean like being on a road trip, especially when you’re weaving in and out of tiny towns where healthy eating options are few and far between. As I mentioned in a post last week, my family and I ventured on a 7-day road trip throughout California. From Southern California to Northern California, inland and along the coast, we visited both big cities and teeny tiny towns. With a bit of prep work, some research, and lots of asking around, I managed to keep on track with eating clean for much of the trip. I kept a log along the way, and so here’s how I managed to avoid the drive thru and eat clean, for most of our road trip.
Conquer The Road 1 of 7
Successfully manage your clean eating goals — by avoiding fast food and guilt inducing snacks — with these 8 tips.
Pack Your Own Lunch 2 of 7
Depending on your itinerary, it may only be possible to pack your lunch on the start of your journey, but no better way to start your road trip than on a healthy high note. Before you leave, do a bit of prep work and make a salad or two, put together some sandwiches, or pack some lunch meat and fruit, for a lunch you'll look forward to making a pit stop for. Even pack your favorite drink so you don't give into easily available soda. If you're on the open road, you can look up rest areas along the way, or find small parks or a farmers stand to pull into and have a picnic lunch before you head back out on your journey. Starting out in such a conscious way left us feeling energized and refreshed for the rest of our drive, not slogged down by greasy fast food. Plus, we saved ourselves some cash by not eating out, and using up food we already had in our fridge that would have spoiled by the time we returned from our trip.
Tip: Make sure to pack a lunch bag that will have plates, napkins, cups, and utensils, and bring along plenty of ice packs for the cooler if you're traveling in hot climates. Cold brew ice tea bags or little packs of natural lemonade concentrate can be added to water, and are great ways to enjoy your favorite drink and stay away from soda on the road.
Make A Batch Of Granola 3 of 7
Granola is easy and quick to make, and can be made in big batches that can easily last you a week. I love how you can personalize granola by adding different nuts, grains, and pieces of dried or fresh fruit too. Pack some travel size boxes of almond milk, which don't need to be refrigerated, and you have yourself breakfast, or a midnight snack, that is filling and nutritious. Suddenly, logging all those miles just got a bit easier.
Tip: If you'll be camping or staying in a hotel, don't forget to pack paper cups and plastic spoons so you can enjoy your granola throughout your road trip.
Ask For Modifications 4 of 7
Healthier dining options are usually more widely available in bigger cities and towns, but don't rule out the small guys! Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and you'll be happy to know that little country restaurants are willing to make modifications to menu items when requested. This is especially true on easy dishes, like holding the yolks to make an egg white omelet.
Tip: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so consider making it your healthiest one. This will give you the fuel you need to start your day, and leave you feeling like you have a bit more flexibility to indulge throughout the day.
Shop Local 5 of 7
Buy produce and local specialty items in the towns you visit. This not only gives you a taste for what each area has to offer, it also helps to support small local farmers, and gives you access to the freshest foods available.
Tip: Most small towns have a website that you can visit, to see the dates they hold farmers markets. If not, all you have to do is ask, and you'll always find someone ready to help direct you to the best place to shop local agriculture and support their community.
Eat Local 6 of 7
Social media has made it extremely easy to reach out and ask for suggestions on finding the best kept secrets or biggest gems in local food, catered to your dining needs. All you have to do is ask, or simply share where you'll be going, and you're bound to get countless suggestions of where to eat. By avoiding chain restaurants and supporting local, small eateries, you are given access to the freshest, most unique foods available. The dining highlight of our road trip was eating at a tiny hole-in-the-wall taco stand that only served one thing; smoked fish tacos. A friend, knowing our recent dietary changes, recommended it to us and she was spot on. The food was fresh, filling, and clean; we helped support a local small business; and we tried a food we wouldn't find anywhere else.
Tip: Share your road trip adventures with friends on your favorite form of social media, and make sure to ask for suggestions for eateries in advance. This will give you time to get responses, and check out menus and reviews on sites like Yelp.
You’re On A Vacay! 7 of 7
At the end of the day, you are on a vacation, and vacations are meant to be enjoyed! So indulge when necessary, or when your cravings are just too strong, and don't feel guilty about it!
Tip: Don't stress, and rid yourself of guilt if you stray off your course. Enjoy your trip!