This summer I travelled out west with my girls. I thought I would share a few pointers on how to eat healthy when on vacation and not break the bank.
Family road trips always seem to revolve around food, and finding where to eat when you are not familiar with the area is not an easy thing to do. It is so easy and comforting to head to the familiar fast food restaurant. Think about how often you eat out in a normal week at home. When travelling, sometimes you are doing that 3 times a day and after a week, the money AND the calories will add up.
Here are some things that worked for me:
1) Head to the nearest grocery store (EVERY TOWN HAS ONE!!) and stock up!!!!! Do NOT make the mistake of buying chips or candy for the trip. You will mindlessly munch away and before you know it you will consume 1000's of calories before stopping for a meal. Instead, stock your car or backpack up with:
bananas,grapes,baby carrots,organic apples, and any other fruit you don't have to cut up or wash.
Grab a box of healthy granola bars, or 100% fruit snacks.
If you have a tiny cooler bag, cheese strings are always a favorite with my kids.
For hotels we also buy pre made sandwiches and muffins. You can even buy boxes of crackers, although I don't or just like chips the entire box would be gone in an hour!!
One of my favorites is those bottles of 'green juice'. They are premade juice/greens mixtures usually found where the sandwiches are. Yop (yogurt in a bottle) is a favorite with my kids. Some hotels are equiped with mini fridges, and it is a great idea for hungry little ones that want breakfast NOW when all you want to do is drink your complimentary hotel room coffee and watch tv on channels you don't get at home.
Shopping and stocking up at the grocery store saves you a TON of money. Most importantly it allows you to eat some nutritious food in between stops at a restaurant or fast food joint.
If you are planning a trip somewhere (like in a gondola up a mountain)...pack a lunch!!!!!
But at some point you have to stop somewhere.... So where??
Chip wagons or fast food for the fries only ( and to fill up our water bottles). Milk is an option at most fast food as well.
Subway or Quiznos ( If I have to choose a comforting chain)
When in a mall I choose places like Jugo Juice, or a wrap or smoothie bar. You would be surprised how unbelievably filling smoothies are. Most big malls have a ton of options.
Mom and pop coffee shops are a good choice as well. Most of these usually have some sort of homemade sandwiches or food. A great alternative to food chains and a great place to ask about the area you are in.
What about restaurants???
To be honest, those don't happen every day, and when they do I choose the cheapest thing on the menu. I don't need the pancake special. Two eggs and toast will do thank you. For supper soup is a GREAT option.
There is NOTHING wrong with treating yourself to something quick and yummy. But not every day and certainly NOT three times a day. You wallet and your body will thank you later.