Eating healthy during solo trips always seems to be a challenge. Why? It's not like there are any fewer salad bars in Albuquerque or El Paso. I think it comes down to our travel mindset. We look at traveling as a treat, and when we're having a treat, we're rewarded with treat-like objects within our reach. What can you do to stave off the desire to eat poorly on the road? Let's take a look.
1. Portion control
Restaurant portions are OUT OF CONTROL! Seriously, the last time I went to a restaurant, even the salad was enough for two full grown human beings. It's insane how much we connect volume with value. Put those thoughts aside when you are traveling. Reprogram your brain to look at portions reasonably. If the steak in front of you is bigger than a deck of playing cards, it well exceeds the standard meat portion that we're supposed to be eating. Evaluate what you eat. Ask for half your meal to be put into a to-go box before it even gets to your table. And if you're not staying where you can take a doggie bag, order off the appetizer menu and skip the massive, bloated entrees restaurants are serving up today.
Another great way to cut calories is to have your salad dressings served on the side, or to ask for steamed vegetables, a side salad, or rice in place of fries.
2. Buy local - go shopping for your snacking
Sure there are restrictions on what you can take through the TSA checkpoint at the airport, but guess what? All the cities where you're traveling HAVE grocery stores! I know they do. I've seen them. When you're driving from point A to point B, look for a market or fresh fruit stand. Buy a six pack of bottled water and some fruit to keep with you. The water will help you stave off hunger and keep you hydrated, which is critical when you're traveling anyway. The fruit will also keep you hydrated and kick any sweet cravings that may make you want to hit up a coffee shop for a bagel and a mocha.
3. Room for indulgence
If you want a little indulgence that will still serve up some antioxidants, hit the mall when your duties for the day are complete, find a confectioners shop and get a piece or two of really good dark chocolate.
And as much as I hate to come to grips with this fact, wine has calories. Repeat. Wine has calories. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a glass here or a cocktail there is just liquid and doesn't add much. You may be surprised at how many calories wine can tag onto a meal. A four-ounce pour will cost you an average of 100 calories and with cocktails, the sweeter it is, the higher up the calorie scale it will take you. A melon daiquiri will cost you 217 calories PER OUNCE! So one regular 4 ounce cocktail, and you've just drank the same as a twelve ounce STEAK. Factor it in, and remember to drink plenty of water along the way.
Eating right is a choice. We have a way of making it more difficult than it is when we're on the road. Take a step back, look reasonably at the food in front of you, and eat responsibly.
Safe travels... and bon appetit!