To me this is a simple answer, but I've been practicing for the better part of 10 years. I know what to ask for, how to order, what to bring with me, when to give in, and when to let go! I've put together a few tips and suggestions for you to think about the next time you have to be away from the comforts of your own kitchen, your own culture, whether for business or pleasure.
1. Pack your snacks for the first 12 hours, and the last 12 hours!
There is nothing healthy or worth eating on an airplane! There are very limited choices in airports- although depending on where you are flying some airports are doing great things with healthy food options. I got a bison burger (no bun) on a bed of organic spinach, with avocado, olive oil and lemon and mustard at the international terminal in Miami. I was impressed! You can usually find something that will work for a meal at your connecting airport- Mexican food usually works. Think Chipolte bowls, no matter what the company, you can get protein, grilled veggies (although you have to compromise on the oil here :( ), rice, and guacamole. A good choice all things considered. When packing snacks I think "whole foods", "portability", and "satiety factor".
So here's what's going with me:
-Artisan Pecan Butter Packets (3-4) http://www.artisanaorganics.com/products/
-Lamb & Bison Epic Bars (4-5) http://www.epicbar.com/
-Homemade bag of trail mix- I use cashews, pecans, toasted coconut, raisins, and sunflower seeds
-Raw carrots- I like to dip these in the nut butter
-Seaweed packets (2-3)- Seasnax are my favorite as they use olive oil and not canola! http://www.seasnax.com/SeaSnax-Organic-Classic-Grab-Go-6-Pack_p_24.html
-Chocolate- Ok, not a necessity! But when I want chocolate, I have to have a good bar otherwise I eat crapy chocolate and feel bad about it! So, I save myself the hassle and just pack one! My current favorite is from whole cocoa beans in Madagascar. The 85% dark bar does not have soy lecithin in it!! http://www.madecasse.com/
2. Know your destination, do your homework!
You need to know what kind of foods are available where you're going.
Is there a kitchen where you're staying?
Is there a grocery store or market near by?
Will you be preparing food or eating every meal out?
Where will you eat out?
This way you can plan for how much you'll need to compromise your healthy dietary practices, and your dietary intolerances for the allotted time you're away. Stick to the basics as much and as often as possible: protein, vegetable, healthy fat!
3. Never compromise on...
There are things you can't avoid: undesirable cooking oils at restaurants in countries that don't speak English and don't accommodate dietary restrictions is something that's hard to avoid. Added sugar in dressings, sauces, and prepared meals is not a battle I'm willing to deal with on vacation. Alcohol is fun in moderation. You're on vacation, enjoy yourself and let go a bit! But the one thing I never EVER compromise on is GLUTEN. This extremely harmful, and for my body poisonous little protein is never an option; as I'll feel the side effects for 6-8 weeks. Not worth it! That is your question to yourself with every food you don't typically consume: is this worth it or not? You decide.
4. Give yourself some credit
You practice healthy living at home, you eat well, you exercise, you feel good, you can do it on vacation! It should be relatively simple! Giving the excuse that you were on vacation so you completely let go doesn't work for me. Be an adult and take responsibility for your choices, it is your goals to come home from vacation weighing the same, feeling amazing, and refreshed. Who wants to come home from vacation feeling exhausted, fat, bloated, and set back- as now you have to "start all over" when you get home. Stay on top of it, give yourself some leeway to enjoy yourself, but know your limits.
I will give an update on this particular vaca, as to challenges and daily routines that worked for us. We are going for yoga, surfing, beach running, and good company. Luckily, I taught my best friend how to feel her best with the food she chooses, so we are on the same page. We don't have temptations between the two of us, but I promise to be honest and let you know what crazy things we did that were not planned!
Costa Rica is known for great coffee, which I'm pumped for! Adios chicos~