New York Times Bestselling Author, Founder Eat Clean Diet® Revolution and Strike Sugar.
Travel is on everyone’s mind again as the world slowly begins to open up. In a hot minute, the land border between Canada, where I live, and the United States, will be open again, something no one has been able to say for eighteen months at the time of this writing.
Grand vistas of glamorous locations appeal to our imaginations but not so much what to eat while on the road or in flight. The question of what to eat while travelling can be sweat inducing for many.
How do you Eat Clean while still enjoying your travel experience? What happens when you get into your hotel room late at night and there’s nothing to eat?
Since I, at one time, travelled out of the country two thirds of the year, promoting my books and retreats, and competing in fitness, I have developed multiple strategies to help you Eat Clean no matter what the circumstances.
Not having clean food on hand was just not an option for me. I had to get solutions fast.
Start with your Carry On.
Today travelling allows you to take a carry-on, on most flights. That piece of luggage is your secret weapon. A well planned, well packed carry-on can spare you lots of frustration when you need nourishment now. Not for you in flight service!
Here’s what to pack…
In Your Carry-on
Wet wipes – These are life savers. If you use a version that contains Tea Tree Oil you’ll keep your hands disinfected as well. Tea Tree Oil is extremely toxic for dogs. If you are travelling with pets, don’t choose this type of wipe.
2 small containers of sliced, in season fresh fruit* about ¾ cup each, stones removed. Fruits and vegetables with pits and seeds are not allowed across borders.
*If you are travelling between countries using a Nexus card, forget any seeded fruits or vegetables. They don’t pass. When you’re at the airport, find apples, a fruit cup, or a couple of hard boiled eggs and tuck them into your bag.
2-3 containers of organic, sulfur free, dried fruits like dates, figs, prunes or apricots, packed in reusable silicone bags. These are now available in convenient individual servings, from companies like Sunny Fruit.
Individual pouches of natural nut butter. These are to be eaten with your dried and fresh fruits. Good clean options include: Teddie’s, Once Again, Justin’s, Santa Cruz, Wild Friends, Stonewall and Crazy Richard’s.
*Individual packers of nut butter contain 8 grams of protein. Ideally you’ll want 2 of these to achieve as close to 20 grams of protein as possible. Be sure to check the label ingredients. You are looking for a label with only nuts and maybe a little sea salt. Remember that sea salt is clean food for your adrenals. Adrenals get taxed heavily while travelling.
Mary’s Crackers packed in a reusable bag or bags depending on how long you are away. A single serving of Mary’s is 13 crackers. You may even take the whole box, just remove the inner package from the box.
A small selection of tea bags to add to a cup of hot water on the plane or anywhere. Pack green, fennel or peppermint tea to support digestion. Try Nighty Night Tea with Passionflower and Hops from Traditional Medicinals, to promote sleep, and Throat Coat for soothing dry throats while travelling. If your bowels are unhappy during travel, Smooth Move tea is a godsend for achieving relief.
Pre-measure servings of hot oats as follows: ½ cup dry oats + 1 tablespoon flax and chia seeds each + 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds + 4 tablespoons hemp seeds for protein. Add an individual serving of nut butter (see above for clean brands) to your oats and ask the flight attendant for 2 cups of hot water. If you have a Yeti thermos you can ask to have that filled up too. Toss in some dried fruit and your meal is perfect and ready to go.
I add a half scoop of AgeLOC TR90 Greenshake for additional protein and greens.
Pre-measure a mixture of nuts, seeds and dried fruits in reusable silicone bags. Organic, raw, whole and unsalted versions are best. Each serving should measure ¼ cup. Include a date or two.
Pack an empty water bottle with a few drops of colloidal silver and gold already in your bottle. This supports your kidneys and your immune system during the day of flight or travel. Have the flight attendant fill your water bottle or fill it at the airport once you’ve passed through security.
For late afternoon/ evening flights: Pack a wide mouth Yeti or other thermos with chopped raw greens, shredded carrots, Forbidden Rice Ramen noodles and a heaping tablespoon of miso paste. Once you’ve arrived at the airport or your destination, fill with hot water and enjoy.
Bamboo cutlery is essential so you can eat your meal anytime and anywhere.
Large bottle of Water – 500ml – to 1liter is best. Travelling dehydrates your body very fast. You’ll want your own water supply with you at all times.
Look for fresh green juices at the airport. Some airports have these and some Starbucks in the airport have these too. Check the label for added sugar. You don’t want ANY sugar of any kind added to these beverages.
- Meat, preferably clean versions
- Cheese slices or cubes
- Vegetables – carrots, celery, peppers, fennel (no seeds)
- Muffins – clean versions only
If you are checking a bag:
One box of Mary’s Crackers.
4 pieces of packable fruit – apples and pears travel well – verify that you can take fruit with you to your destination
4 hard boiled eggs. You can get these in the airport if you’re travelling internationally.
Tuna in single serve packets.
In Your Hotel Room
Try to find a Whole Foods or similar natural food store like Trader Joe’s or Plum Markets.
- Fresh pressed green juices – One for each morning. Keep in mind that even local grocers often have fresh pressed juices. But the key is to only purchase those with a balance of greens and fruit. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, and less than 2-4 grams is best.
- Fresh, pre-cut, raw veggies from the salad bar or produce section
- Organic berries, apples and pears
- Locally made, organic hummus – look for clean versions
- Organic fresh ground almond butter – just nuts and salt, nothing else
- A meal sized portion of fresh salad with apple cider vinegar and oil on the side
- Pre-cooked/grilled chicken breasts
- Single Serve plain Greek yogurt like Fage
- Small containers of plant based milk to mix with AgeLOC TR90 Greenshake and a Beauty Focus Collagen packet- this can also be acquired at an in-hotel coffee bar
- Pack your supplements in individual silicone bags for each day.
Obviously all of this will need refrigeration and here are some solutions:
- The easiest option, of course, is booking a room with a mini-fridge.
- Request a mini-fridge upon making your reservation due to the special diet/medication you are on – nearly all hotels will honor this. Food is medicine.
- Bring along a soft-sided insulated cooler bag that you can fill with ice while in your room.
- The Cooler Plans from The Eat Clean Diet Stripped will serve you well. These are some of my most successful plans to help you shed the last 10 pounds. Make use of these and your cooler to stay on top of your game.
The most important part of dining out while traveling is to remember that YOU are paying for your food with your hard earned dollars. You have a right to insist that your money is buying food that enhances your wellness. You can make special requests. People do it all the time, and it is no longer something to be embarrassed about. In fact, it’s often expected and welcomed.
Look at the menu online in advance. If there is a way to order online, make a practice run ordering that way. You don’t have to complete the order and pay. Just practice placing it. You might be shocked at the options to substitute your protein, leave off sauces, butters, or even modify the cooking methods. This will help you feel more empowered to request the food you want, and less like a burden at the table.
Don’t be afraid to ask servers not to bring the bread basket. Not getting that basket isn’t going to decrease the price of your meal, but it will greatly increase your wellness and support your wellness goals.
Don’t be afraid to ask for double something when you have the option to choose more than one side. You can ask for a double of steamed broccoli prepared without butter to enjoy with your meal. You do not have to choose two different things.
Peer pressure on a trip- Other people don’t live in your body. Often on work trips, we are not surrounded by like minded people in the area of health and wellbeing. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’re ordering a healthy option. Stay strong and lead by example. People are watching you and their teasing is often happening because they really want to be as strong as you are in your convictions regarding your wellness.
Things you can order in a pinch when you end up at a restaurant that does not have a lot of options:
This is the most difficult part of travel for me. It is very important to stay hydrated, but often we avoid it when we are travelling because we don’t want to make frequent stops at the bathroom. The best way to prepare for this is to make sure you are regularly hydrated in advance, and that your body is well practiced at managing your hydration.
It is OK to carry your own water bottle into a restaurant. You do not have to order a drink in the restaurant. Restaurant owners no longer look down on water bottle toters. Carry your water, and drink it so you can be sure that you have achieved the proper hydration.
Resistance bands are easy to fit in your suitcase. That way you can incorporate fitness into the time you have in your hotel room or even at your campsite.
Airpods and a motivational book related to your health or personal growth can help keep you focused on wellness even on your trip.
Travelling and Eating Clean can pair nicely if you are well prepared.
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