Are you a Paleo devotee and break down at the mere sight of that Auntie Anne’s Pretzel or Cinnabon?
Are you a vegetarian who gets bored with the airport ‘salads’ that have a few pieces of carrot and one unfortunate grape tomato?
Do you eat gluten-free but trust no one and end up eating bars the whole time?
Download these apps and store away these tips to eat by the latest nutrition trends when traveling.
As someone who is a former vegetarian, eats a whole food diet as much as possible and is gluten and soy-free due to an autoimmune disease, I know first-hand that traveling can pose challenges. However, it’s only an excuse not to stick to your food rules, it’s not a reason. Most people lose their nutrition plan entirely on the road. Instead, think of the 80/20 rule. Stick to your plan 80% of the time and allow yourself 20% leeway so you don't drive yourself crazy.
The Paleo diet is comprised of very little processed food, no starchy carbs like bread, rice, pasta or chips and no sugar. The easiest types of restaurants are Mexican if you forgo tortillas, chips, and rice. Instead, opt for all your toppings as a salad or get a fajita with veggies and meat only. Japanese restaurants can provide sashimi, seaweed salad, tataki, wakame, yakitori, and tamagoyaki. Any seafood or steak restaurant will work, but opt for extra veggies and skip the bread basket, mashed or baked potatoes and pasta. A higher end burger joint will typically have a lettuce or collard green to wrap your burger in. Look for places with grass-fed, pastured beef as the Omega Fatty Acid profile is the same as wild salmon! Other types of restaurants that are Paleo friendly include BBQ, Greek, and Middle Eastern.
The best app to find Paleo restaurants near you is the Paleo Digest App.
After a trip to the grocery store, you can store hard boiled eggs, rotisserie chicken and pre-cut veggies from the salad bar or produce section. Travel with canned sardines, wild salmon, hot sauce, jerky, unsalted and raw nuts, kale chips and Paleo bars like Epic that aren't high in sugar and are gluten and soy free. Always check bar and jerky labels for sugar, wheat, and soy. I also like to travel with Paleo Wraps, tortillas made from coconut. Super yummy and good with any kind of food.
For vegetarians, you have much more options than in the past when I started traveling and was stuck with frozen yogurt and soft pretzels at the airport. Too often, vegetarians end up being carbatarians and eat too much bread, pasta, and bars, rather than vegetables, beans, legumes and fruits. Focus on vegetables being the primary course on your plate and starchy carbs being a complement. The best kind of restaurants for you are Indian, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Japanese. American restaurants can be the hardest, limiting you to fried foods, boring salads, bread, and pasta.
In the hotel, load up on beans, veggies, eggs, cottage cheese and plain yogurt (if you aren’t vegan), hummus and bean dips and fruit. The Paleo Wraps mentioned above can also be an excellent choice.
The best app to find veg-friendly restaurants is Happy Cow.
Travel with unsalted and raw nuts and seeds, trail mix without the candy, fruit, fresh veggies, nut butter and Tasty Bite packets that are delicious, even when eaten at room temperature.
There is a range of people who are gluten-free. Individuals with Celiac Disease can't have any gluten, those with other autoimmune diseases should avoid it due to the inflammation it causes, and then there are those with gluten-sensitivity or just feel better without it in their diet. For those with Celiac, they will need to be much more strict and call the restaurant ahead of time or grill the waitstaff or cook to make sure the food isn't contaminated. Restaurants to avoid for people with gluten-sensitivity or intolerance include pizza and pasta. There are GF kinds of pasta and pizzas available. However, I wouldn't recommend them for Celiac patients due to cross-contamination. Many restaurants have gluten-free menus. Call ahead or check online before you go. Avoid all bread, tortillas, and pasta, and ask about all sauces, how things are cooked and even if a spice has gluten in it.
The best app for travel is Find Me Gluten Free.
In the hotel, you can do as the Paleo do and fill your fridge with rotisserie chicken, wild-caught fish, veggies, and fruit, as well as cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and tahini. Add rice tortillas, quinoa or millet or corn if you eat grains.
For travel, the Paleo and vegetarian snacks apply, just check the ingredients for wheat.
Stop using travel as an excuse to eat like you’re on vacation. Stick to your food rules and halt the pound-packing!