Summer often results in a shift from our normal routine – with kids out of school and vacations, it’s a challenge to maintain a healthy diet. Too many changes in our eating can result in a recurrence of old symptoms and/or just not feeling optimal. Whether you take a trip or go on an outing with your family, a little planning goes a long way.

I am a functional nutritionist and I still need to plan ahead and be strategic during this hectic (but fun) season. Having food allergies myself, I know that finding places to eat while traveling is a challenge. Let me tell you how I navigate our meals on the road to make sure we eat clean without interrupting our adventure.

In the Car

If traveling by car, bring snacks and finger foods in a cooler that can be eaten on the road. Some great examples include:

Hard boiled eggs, Pre-chopped veggies- (I’m loving pre-peeled and chopped jicama found at Trader Joes or Whole Foods), FruitNutsDIY trail mix (e.g., nuts, seeds, unsweetened large coconut flakes).

If you know there is a kitchen at your destination, spend some time meal planning before your trip. Not every meal needs to be planned, but if you prep a couple then you have some staples that you know will agree with you.

For example, I cook up ground meat with taco seasoning and roast or sauté chopped veggies. Then I’m not having to pack all the seasonings, but we have food available for making taco salad or taco bowls. Or I’ll make a hash with cooked grated veggies, ground meat and seasoning that can be combined with a fried egg for breakfast or on a bed of leafy greens for a hearty salad. Additional foods packed might include: eggs, Birch Bender Paleo Pancakes (we love these on ski weekends in the winter- only additional ingredient needed is water and oil for cooking), leafy greens, and veggies for salads or snacking. 

On the Plane

If traveling by plane, here is a list of snack ideas that are TSA-approved:

Jackson’s Honest chips

Nearly Naked popcorn

Grass-fed beef jerky

Quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cacao solids)

Primal Kitchen barsBulletproof bars

Where to Shop and What to Get

Recently, we took a trip and had a kitchen for cooking, but in the spirit of a true vacation, we barely used it. We flew to our location and didn’t pack food beyond the day of travel. Once we arrived at our location, I went to Whole Foods to get some groceries for some quick fix meal options. While Whole Foods can be more expensive, using their app and the Amazon prime credit card provides some savings. Also, I know spending money at the grocery store on quality food for multiple meals, ultimately will be less than what we would spend eating out, even on food of a lesser quality.

The quick fix foods that I bought included:

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Smoked mackerel 
  • Wild caught salmon
  • Leafy greens
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Unsweetened yogurt (coconut milk for me)
  • Low carb grain-free granola
  • Nuts
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Peppers
  • Jicama
  • Lemons
  • Avocados
  • Good quality cheese (for the rest of the family)Gluten free crackers

Tip: leafy greens with smoked salmon, pistachios, jicama and blueberries makes a delicious summer salad loaded with healthy fats and nutrients. Olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper work well for a salad dressing.

Exploring Local Restaurants

For the times that we did eat out, I used apps like Yelp and searched for ‘gluten free’ ‘paleo’ or ‘farm to table’ food or restaurant. Reading reviews on Yelp or Google can be helpful when selecting restaurants serving food in alignment with your current diet. We were near the ocean so I was enjoying fish tacos, substituting lettuce wraps for tortillas. 

About the Author

Sheila is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. She earned her Master Nutrition Therapy certificate from the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver.

Sheila has particular expertise in helping individuals with autoimmune conditions and food sensitivities. Nutrition helped Sheila recover from her own health challenges, so she knows the importance of finding foods that leave you feeling nourished rather than deprived.

To request a nutrition consultation, click here.