Caroline Says…Eat Well on the Road

Introducing Caroline Says… — a series of monthly posts sharing what I’ve learned from 30 years of globe trotting everywhere from Morocco to Madrid, Argentina to Africa, and all over the Continental US of A. Each entry will focus on ways to improve your travel experience. Today, it’s all about food. So dig in!

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EAT WELL ON THE ROAD

As I was recently reminded while scanning the unappetizing buffet options at an all-inclusive in Jamaica where I spent Spring Break with 40 high school seniors (THAT’S a blog post for another day!), it’s not always easy to eat well on the road. And sometimes you don’t want to. But there’s a difference between indulging in local favorites (really, when in Rome, who in their right mind is going to pass up that big ole’ ball of fresh mozzarella in their Caprese salad?) versus eating greasy hotel pizza in the Caribbean or a platter of Kung Pao Chicken from the airport Express line. The latter, combined with a few glasses of wine on a transcontinental flight, will leave you feeling so bloated that you can hardly fit down the aisle to deplane. Plus, your arrival day will be spent in a food-induced coma. So how does one maintain a delicious but healthy diet (NOT the Jenny Craig way) while on the road? Here’s what I do:

Pre-Departure:

  • Eat a good breakfast. Fortify yourself by eating a substantial and healthy breakfast before you go. Eggs, yogurt, the leftover steak from last night’s bon-voyage dinner…these protein-packed foods will give you the stamina needed to withstand whatever situation the travel Gods send your way.

In-Flight:

  • Pack snacks and plenty of water. There’s nothing worse than feeling parched or ravenous at 31,000 feet with no flight attendant in sight. A bag of almonds, a few pieces of fruit or veggies, or even a turkey sandwich on whole wheat will go a long way toward easing hunger pangs.
  • And never find yourself without water! The lack of humidity in the pressurized cabin makes it harder for your body to flush out germs, so hydration is crucial to staying healthy and feeling fresh. Remember, water needs to be purchased after going through security. (If not, you’re in danger of a pat down!) You can even bring an empty reusable water bottle through security and fill it up at a water fountain.
  • Expert Tip: FOODUCATE is a great phone app for determining good-for-you snacks at the grocery store, pre-departure.
  • Expert Tip: The energy bites from The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu are better than most energy bars. They, along with the Ranch’s tantalizing cookbook for later use, can be bought in their online store.

On the ground:

  • Avoid too much salt, processed, and fast foods* The trap many people fall into is hunger desperation. When you’re in an unfamiliar place and starving, you rush for whatever is convenient. A little careful planning with the help of a good dining guide (we provide to clients) ensures you eat well while trying local favorites.
  • *Except for Shake Shack when in NYC and In-N-Out Burger in CA…they’re too good to pass up!

In the room:

  • Lock or clean out the mini bar. Ok, this one is kind of extreme, but one longtime client, who is well aware of her weakness for late-night snacking, requests that hotel minibars be removed of all temptation before her arrival. Who needs a $10 candy bar anyway?

When in Rome:

  • A little splurge can be okay. Remember that you’re on vacation, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Many people actually return home a few pounds lighter after days of eating fresh, local fare and walking mile after enjoyable mile from one point of interest to the next. Eat like a local and love it!

Caroline Travels the World (eating well)…And So Can You.

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