Eating well whilst travelling
How to arrive at your destination without compromising your healthy diet
One of the greatest challenges to those of us looking to explore ways to eat better and cut out toxins has to be: what to do when we are faced with a long journey? Motorway service stations are well-known for their range of fast food outlets and caffeine hits. It is rare that they offer motorists food or drink that can genuinely sustain concentration and energy levels whilst driving.
And here lies the essence of why it is so important to plan ahead when it comes to long distances. It isn’t just our health that is at stake, but our safety also. The sugar rush gained from a drink or snack to go is going to cause an inevitable slump in energy and concentration and awareness, as will a large fast food burger or meal laden with fat.
These foods are highly unlikely to offer the sort of organic qualities we are attempting to build into our diets and so we end up with a triple whammy of health related effects. Firstly the tiredness from the travel itself, secondly the effects of far-from-healthy food choices and thirdly, the potential hazards caused by tiredness and poor quality food that have an effect on our concentration levels and therefore our safety.
The key, of course, is in the preparation and the answer isn’t rocket science (it never is!).
Prior to a long journey, it is worth taking a bit of time to consider how much food and liquid your body is going to need for the duration and then plan accordingly. It’s probably going to be more effective to plan to take food that you can snack on regularly, rather than trying to take a large meal… Some suggestions for organic, quick and easy treats that will sustain both your body and mind whilst you travel the country are:
- Bags of organic mixed nuts and seeds that are great for energy;
- Organic dried fruit;
- Fresh organic fruit and vegetables… you may wish to get some organic hummus from the supermarket to add flavour. Or even better make your own hummus. It’s really easy to go with a bag of chickpeas, olive oil and lemon juice;
- Make a container full of organic fruit or vegetable smoothies before you set off;
- Filter some water and fill up a litre bottle;
- If you have a thermos flask, why not also make some organic fruit teas that will keep warm for at least the first part of your journey, depending on how long you’re travelling for.
The next part is going to be avoiding temptation. On long journeys, it is inevitable that you’ll stop at service stations for bathroom breaks and so have a think about what you will do to stop yourself from giving into temptation when you walk by all of those tempting treats and inviting smells from the fast food outlets. Will you lock your wallet in the boot of your car?
If you have planned a stop for a half hour’s time it might be worth taking the opportunity to grab a good few handfuls of nuts. By the time 30 minutes have passed your body will have recognised that it has been fed and will be riding high on the natural goodness of the calories you have consumed, making it less likely that you will feel the same level of craving for a sugary or fatty food when you pass by.
If you have a travel companion, it may also be worth asking them to help you avoid temptation. A friend or family member who is sympathetic to your attempts to live a better life may be able to gently guide you back to your goal and help you to avoid temptation when it arises.
Stress and boredom
If you’re travelling on business, then the stress and natural irritation that might arise either from a busy day at the office (or the demands of your workload) can naturally fester when you have time on your own to think in the car. It is during these times that pulling into the nearest service station in order to numb the negative emotions with sugary snacks is going to arise.
This is why it is going to be important for you to have an awareness of your emotional connection with food and the triggers, as well as the things you do once you start to feel the cravings. Have a think about your previous behaviour around food and maybe make some notes about what patterns you notice. What do you do when you feel yourself getting stressed? If you do tend to reach for food, it’s something you’re going to need to observe in yourself. Begin to track the feelings in your body as well as the associated emotions and triggers.
By raising your awareness, you give yourself the best chance of behaving differently if you find yourself getting stressed about your day whilst commuting, or even stuck in traffic.
Arriving at your destination
Of course, the part we often forget when travelling is arrival! What are your plans for food when you arrive at your destination? If you are staying away with friends or in a hotel then the same logic applies regarding the sourcing of food. It may be worth spending time before you head off on your journey locating the sources of organic food that are going to be available to you whilst you 're away from home. What produce can you realistically take with you and what can you get during your stay? Are your hosts going to be offended if there is food that they want to cook for you that you no longer want to eat? And how are you going to handle this situation? As always, we’d suggest a conversation beforehand letting people know what you are doing right at this minute to address your health concerns. Rather than waiting until you arrive only to find that your kind hosts have stocked up on huge amounts of food, none of which you can eat.
If you are staying in a hotel it is highly unlikely that they will be offering a breakfast that adheres to organic standards and so you may want to opt for paying for just the room and take cereal and homemade almond milk with you for your first morning, just in case you aren’t able to quickly locate alternative suppliers.
Some further reading
Give yourself additional time and opportunity to find and consume the food that is right for you…