Spring Break is upon us! What that means for many families is lots of traveling and lots of dining out. If you have been putting forth a great effort trying to make healthy decisions, you have most likely been losing weight, feeling great and truly starting to see a change. But what happens when… you are invited out to eat or have a weekend getaway or work trip? Before you can even speak the words “What am I supposed to eat?” your body starts freaking-out; releasing one stress hormone after another! Let’s put an end to that cortisol factory. I have created an emergency travel pack and restaurant guide that will save you and your lifestyle change.
Small cooler or bag with nuts, granola and nut butter(s). Be sure to include napkins and spoons.
Ziploc or individual packs of protein powder
individual packs of organic nut butters
nuts and seeds
coconut cream or coconut butter
These items will help get you through times where you need to eat something and fast food looks like the only option. If you have to skip lunch, a shake is a great meal replacement. Just remember to always replace what you have used and you will not find yourself stranded.
On trips where I will be gone longer than a weekend I always bring meal substitutes. Eating out adds to the inflammation levels in the body. Supplementing with a shake for even one meal is a big help.
In your luggage cooler (destination dependent)
Can(s) of coconut milk
Coconut oil or creme
Combine foods that have carbohydrates, fats and proteins
Note: you cannot carry on liquids or peanut butter.
Types of Cuisine and Better Choices
With any cuisine, the key here is to get your macronutrients (healthy fat, protein and carbohydrates) in every meal. Be mindful of what you ate in your previous meal and what you will be eating later if possible. This will help balance meals and satiate you for longer periods of time.
Generally, a safe meal is a lean protein over a salad. This however can get old after a while so we have some suggestions.
I have a few “rules of tongue”
Order dressings on the side. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are preferable to a premixed dressing, which has added sugars and poor quality table salt.
Avoid sauces, as they are salt and sugar laden.
Pass on the “complimentary” breads and chips; they are appetite stimulants.
If enjoying a cocktail;
Avoid beer, as most are wheat based or made with GMO corn. Choose an import if beer is your drink of choice.
Mix spirits with soda water or fresh citrus (lemon and lime). Margarita “mix” plus tequila equals 350 empty calories.
Red wine, white wine or spirits on the rocks is sugar enough, as alcohol breaks down to sugar in the body.
A healthy alcohol guideline is two alcoholic drinks at a time twice per week.
Grilled over fried is preferable.
Here are some helpful hints to eat out at your favorite places;
Pass on the bread. Have the server take it away instead of agonizing over it.
Fresh appetizers include the tomato caprese salad, grilled calamari, artichokes, and salad greens
A fist-sized portion is recommended. Order it on the side of chicken, veal, eggplant or parmigiana. Perhaps ask for it to come light on cheese and add your own table side.
Risotto is a great alternative to pasta. (Wheat and gluten free). Pastas mixed with vegetables is also a great balance.
Pass on the chips or restrict yourself to 6-10 (portion size)
Most corn is GMO especially in a restaurant.
Choose a salad topped with chicken or beef fajita
Note: Chipotle is a supporter of local farms and is GMO free
American: the variety in an American eatery is abundant. Consider the “rules of tongue” here.
Avoid fried foods and order dressing on the side.
One other thing to consider is portion sizes (especially in Texas). Some find it helpful to order smaller portions if available.
Cut the meal in half and box up the other half for the next day.
If you are dining in comfortable company splitting a meal is a great idea.
Chinese/American food is laden with cornstarch-based ingredients that are very hard on your blood sugar.
If possible, fresh is best.
There are times where you must pick the lesser of two evils.
Sushi is made of raw fish and fresh ingredients.
Adding ginger is a plus as it fights inflammation.
Be mindful that fish quality is not always the best in grocery stores and / or restaurants.
Although fast food places make great claims about being healthier, fast food is not an option if you want to be healthy. These foods are laced with refined sugar, table salt, poor quality meats, GMO’s and chemicals. Brilliant marketing may have you convinced otherwise but let’s face it; no one is ever going to look or feel like a million bucks eating off the dollar menu!
I hope you find this helpful and continue cooking fresh whole real foods at home. If you have not yet replaced my top 5 in your pantry, click the link below to treat yourself to the power of knowledge and your pantry transformation.
Planning to eat at home is always preferable, however life gets busy and we all need a break from time to time. Below is a list of Local Eatery’s with fresh and / or higher quality ingredients:
Hubble and Hudson Bistro (or Award winning Chef Austin Simmons newest dining experience, Cureight for a very special night out)
Via Emilia Italian (Ask for Omar or Brian)