Eating real food while on vacation or traveling – you can do it!October 3, 2012
We’re on vacation with my parents this week which means we get built-in babysitters and, because it’s October, the beach all to ourselves.
The weather has been pretty warm too. Unlike last year my son is really enjoying the sand and ocean.
As for me? Well, solo entrepreneurs don’t have vacation coverage. Or paid vacation days! And my fall detox starts Monday so there’s certainly been some work to get done. It’s actually been tremendously relaxing though, to have a few extra hands caring for Danny and just being around my family. A little blogging in the evening…well, that’s my idea of chilling out.
The other thing that doesn’t totally disappear while away from home? The need to eat well. After just one day of restaurant food my body starts to rebel – my belly hurts, I’m tired, cranky and basically unable to enjoy vacation.
We brought some food with us – almonds, raisins, brown rice crackers. Canned beans. A cooler with our CSA share veggies. When you travel, bring food. Especially snacks.
Once we got here, the first order of business was to hit up the local supermarket. This is really the gold standard when you’re traveling – to avoid crappy restaurants and prepare some simple homemade meals instead.
(Of course, depending where you’re staying you may not have the option to cook. But to be sure – I favor vacation plans that include a kitchen. But even in a hotel you can make good use of a lil’ refrigerator.)
So, the challenge? The local supermarket isn’t a natural food supermarket. There’s no Whole Foods around here. It’s just a pretty standard conventional store with pretty standard conventional food. And to be sure – conventional food is rarely real food.
I brace myself for the challenge and hit the aisles. I see peanut butter full of corn syrup. Yogurts with single-serve packs of Fruit Loops attached. Chocolate Twinkies.
I cringe and push on.
I look for rice and find some. Brown rice. Score.
No organic fruit. We skip the berries and opt for bananas, pears and kiwi – fruit we can peel.
We hunt the dairy section for milk, finding every variety of flavored coffee creamer imaginable and finally…whole, organic milk. They only sell it in half gallons but that’s ok. I’ll take it.
The funny thing is, I’m not looking for goji berries or chia seeds or anything health-nutty. I’m just looking for plain ol’…food. So frustrating! But it’s possible. The typical advice is to shop the perimeter of the store, and that is a good way to go – veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, dairy, fish. But it’s definitely worth going down the Hispanic food aisle, where beans, rice and spices are sold in relatively unprocessed and inexpensive forms.
The next step is to find some restaurants offering…vegetables. That’s right. I find that if a restaurant has a few fresh veggies on their menu it’s probably better quality food overall. I use Yelp.com to find the best places to go, and always try to see a menu online beforehand.
We had seafood last night – I got tuna with brussels sprouts and mushrooms. A beet and arugula salad to start.
But sometimes it’s impossible.
Like today. We were in Rehobeth Beach and every place I wanted to go to was closed for the season. So we got fish and chips. I ordered mine over salad instead of fries. It was a compromise!
Ok, ok, we had the toffee bread pudding too.
Good thing I have eggs and kale in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow. And did I mention my detox starts on Monday? I’m already impressed with the enthusiasm of our group – they are fantastic and I am psyched to spend the next 3 weeks together, post-vacation!