I love being healthy, I can’t help it. I love to nourish my body with good food and I love being active, it makes me happy. This is why when I go away on holidays, I don’t just sign off on my healthy lifestyle and pick up the pieces when I get home, I love what I do so it isn’t a chore, a hassle or an inconvenience, it is a way of life – home or away.
Since setting out on our Canadian/US adventure, many people have asked me how I keep on top of a healthy diet and active living whilst indulging in some rest and relaxation at the same time. When I first started my health journey and set out travelling, you could say I was left pulling my hair out. I let the stress of it all get the better of me and it detracted from the joy of the experience. I knew this wasn’t the answer and since then I have tried and tested almost everything that allows us to eat well, move well and enjoy every minute whilst away from the creature comforts of home. How do I do it? It’s as easy as (organic) pie:
HOW TO EAT WELL ON THE ROAD
- DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU LEAVE
This will save you so much time and hassle once you arrive (as well as though heated arguments on where you should eat when you and your partner/friends/family are hungry).
My favourite way to find restaurants that will deliver on the healthy food front is tripadvisor.com. This website provides an incredible database for those looking for a positive dining experience (it is also a fantastic way to find a great hotel). It provides a whole host of traveller reviewed restaurants and café’s at destinations all over the world and ranks them in order of the most positive amongst travellers. Since discovering tripadvisor.com we have never ever got it wrong and cannot recommend it enough. They offer a number of filters that enable you to search for meal type, cuisine, dietary requirements and even cost – perfection.
Another tool I like to use when I travel is happycow.com. This little gem came in handy when Andrew and I travelled to Spain two years ago (there is only so much tapas one can have). This website can be used to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants (as well as vegetarian friendly if you have meat eaters amongst you). I eat meat, but my love affair with vegetables is on a whole new level. When I feel like I need a good serve of vegetables, salads and/or vegetable juices this is the first place I check. Again, these are all user reviewed which makes it a whole lot easier for you to make your decision on where to eat when travelling.
Between the two of these search engines, we have never missed or had a poor experience when dining out anywhere in the world.
If you are still stuck, a google search for “organic food in (destination name)” and/or a shout out on social media will also help!
2. FIND YOUR ORGANIC GROCERS
Whenever we are on the road, I will Google the local organic chain store for that area. Once I know it’s whereabouts, I will check to see how far it is from our accommodation and I will use this to buy some organic items once we arrive.
Before we arrived in Calgary, a quick Google search led me to discover a local organic store that was conveniently located on our drive to Banff National Park. We pulled in and picked up supplies – organic berries (are oh so good here in Canada), organic vegetables for snacking, activated nuts and seeds, some coconut water, some fresh organic salads, eggs, organic dark chocolate and some free-range organic meat for the road. Our cottage in Lake Louise had a kitchen and each morning before we headed out for the day we would make breakfast and pack some snacks. We saved a fortune (Lake Louise isn’t cheap) and felt a million dollars each and every day.
3. WHEN A KITCHEN COMES IN HANDY
When you travel the last thing anyone wants to do is cook but often there comes a time when you get tired of eating out. Whilst prepping your own dinner can be difficult away from home, when it comes to breakfast, lunch and/or snacks on the go, a kitchen will save you from having to make some difficult decisions that usually involve processed foods and sugar, not to mention, save you a bucket load of cash!
I like to make sure at least half of our accommodation on big trips has a kitchen that enables us to cook up a breakfast or prepare lunch whilst we are away – even if it is a bowl of quinoa porridge or some scrambled free-range eggs.
If you are struggling to find a hotel with a kitchen at your destination AirBnB offers a selection of apartments with fully equipped kitchens, just make sure you are in a good area (check trip advisor.com) that is close to organic food suppliers and restaurants (happycow.com will help you here).
When we stay in hotels without a kitchen, I simply ask the staff if they could remove the contents of the minibar and I load up our fridge with our easy to eat organic goodies. This also prevents anyone from late night munchies ;).
4. SUSS OUT THE LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET
When it comes to sourcing the best produce whilst you are away, local farmer’s markets are a great place to start, not only is all the produce seasonal, there are often a number of food stalls at these markets that will use local and organic produce to sell you ready to eat meals on the spot – great ideas for breakfast, brunch and lunch and they are also cheap!
Only recently we were lucky enough to be in town whilst the Whistler organic farmer’s markets were on. Not only were we lucky to have had the most delicious breakfast – an organic okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) that was loaded with fresh veg, we also sampled food from local organic providers including the most amazing chocolate zucchini bread and organic local teas and aeropressed coffee. Mixing with the locals also meant we got some great tips on where to eat, hike and shop for a total of $18 – winning all round.
If you’re travelling within Australia, you can also check out my list of the best Australian Favourite Farmer’s markets, hopefully there is one nearby.
5. LOAD UP ON HEALTHY SIDES
This is great when you are eating at a restaurant that you didn’t get to choose on your own. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner – this works a treat and more often than not everyone at your table will end up with food envy.
Sometimes when the mains are looking a little bleak, I will often order a bunch of sides instead – whether it is a side of steamed greens, a side salad, olives and a starter at dinner or a side of roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, avocados etc. at breakfast . All you have to do is ask the waiter to bring it out with the mains.
6. TRAVEL WITH SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS
I have witnessed this one plenty of times with clients, friends and family who travel with those who are on a different “foodie” page. More often than not there is an argument between the two parties that leads to an unpleasant dining experience, or even worse an unpleasant holiday.
I am not saying you need to travel with a health nut in order to be successful, all I am suggesting is that you travel with someone who likes to nourish their body and enjoys a health kick every now and then. You don’t want to travel with someone who belittles you or makes you feel guilty for wanting to be healthy. This is one of the reasons why I love travelling with Andrew, he doesn’t sigh or comment when I ask to stop at an organic grocery store for supplies (lately he has been leading the charge), nor does he mind if I decide to skip a few glasses of wine at dinner, he is happy with his choices and supports mine 110%.
7. ASK LOADS OF QUESTIONS
Don’t be afraid to ask waiters and waitresses where your food comes from or what ingredients it may contain. Whether your meat is grass-fed or your fish is fresh or farmed? Ask if it were possible to remove the dairy for instance, or order the dressing on the side? Opt for fresh ingredients and explain your intolerances – more often than not they are more than willing to accommodate.
Do you have any tips and tricks I missed when it comes to eating healthy whilst you are on holidays?