This week, healthy travel is definitely on my mind. When you’re out and about, traveling for the holidays or just taking a weekend road trip, it can be so frustrating to know there’s probably healthy food somewhere, but just you don’t know where it is. I know on road trips, I’ve been in the car, trying to hold out because I’m sure there’s going to be a Panera on that next exit…and then 50 miles later, it still hasn’t happened, and I’m starving and pulling into the first Taco Bell.
Now you can use the Web site Good Food Near You to, well, obviously, find the good food near you! Type in your location (I did my home address just to play around with it at first) and it tells you the restaurants near you and the best things to order off the menu. I like to use this on my Blackberry; if you don’t know the location of where you are — you’re literally on the road — grab a city from a road sign, Google it to find the zip code, and go from there! If you have an iPhone, you can download a similar app: Goodrec Inc is a free app that does essentially the same thing.
Another thing I do is keep the nutrition info for the healthiest options from major chain restaurants stored in my phone. Almost all fast-food chains do have healthy options, so take the 10 or 15 minutes to look up the majors before you hit the road. And restaurants like Panera have many things that seem healthy, so it’s good to know the details. Don’t just put down the details for a salad. Be honest with yourself — if you’re going to want a burger when everyone else orders them, then find the burger with the most reasonable nutrition facts! (Hint: lay off the bacon and anything “double.”) I keep a list in my Blackberry so I can plan my meal accordingly. This makes traveling companions happy — they’ll know that you’re willing to grab a bite anywhere, even if you are watching your weight.
Also, don’t forget to put the good stuff in, not just take the unhealthy stuff out. If at all possible, round out the fast food main course with a side salad or fruit cup. Eating fresh food will make your body happy while traveling. And, of course, drink lots of water, to flush out the sodium from eating on the go. Even when I had my Happy Meal on the way home from Chicago, I added some fruit and water. (And it was a happy meal indeed. Hit. The. Spot.)
Knowing what restaurants have healthy options really helped me when I had to eat in the airport on Wednesday too. I hit Einstein Bros for a fruit salad, and then went to Wendy’s for a small chili, plain baked potato (I tossed half right away; they are massive), and side salad. It was great! I could have stopped with the chili and potato, but adding the colorful stuff just made me feel better.
Traveling happens! But traveling is wonderful, so you can’t let worry about your diet stand in the way of that. Take a few minutes this weekend to get prepared and then plan your road trips accordingly!