It’s that time of year again – holidays at the airport, in the hotel, out of the car and the hardest place of all – in other people’s homes! Well meaning to be sure – but it’s a common lament that “Aunt Harriet” just doesn’t understand gluten intolerance and is crushed that you won’t partake of her 30 year old recipe for Christmas morning sticky buns. And neither will your children. Oy. Eating while traveling – especially for those who need or want to follow specific diets – can be a challenge. Here are my top tips for staying on track, not offending others, and feeling satisfied while outside of your comfort zone.
Tip #1 – Prepare, prepare, prepare! Make lists, check them twice – determine which foods are naughty or nice…. ok, I’ll stop there. But the point is that if you don’t decide ahead of time what to take with you then you’ll be at the mercy of what’s available. Believe me – I’ve been a victim of the gas station grab & go myself – should it be the Planter’s peanuts roasted in soybean oil? Or, the packaged popcorn made with canola? Choosing the lesser of two evils is good – but may be unnecessary with the proper planning and packing. Which leads us to our second tip.
Tip #2 – Choose foods that are appropriate for the type of traveling you’re doing. If you’re flying, don’t pack a yogurt that’s apt to get warm and explode in your bag once you reach the 30,000 foot cruising altitude. However – if you’re not dairy intolerant 😉 – it may be a good choice if you’re car traveling and have a cooler to keep it fresh. My favorite airplane foods include raw nuts, dried fruit, olives, hard cheese, rice crackers, avocados and other low glycemic fruits. I also love the convenience of the nut butters in blister packs that can be used to spread on a few apple slices or just simply eat right out of the package!
Tip #3 – Stick to whole foods when possible. Our last tip gave some ideas on foods to take along and as you can see – besides the rice crackers – most of them are are natures grab & go’s. I remember a client mentioning to me how tired he was of having to read labels and when I suggested that he buy food without labels his astonished response was “do they make those?” 🙂 Nature does!
Tip #4 – Does it smell? Be kind to those around you….being enclosed in an airplane when someone starts to peel a boiled egg is certain to cause heads to turn. Some foods have a higher sulfur content and will definitely leave your seat mates unhappy when you open that snap ware – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, onion, potato salad, hard boiled or deviled eggs are some of the main culprits . Don’t forget some cheeses like gruyere and swiss are pretty pungent. And, tuna fish? Save it for home. Better choices are carrots, celery, radishes, apples, pears, berries and dehydrated snacks. Even oranges can be bothersome in a closed arena.
Tip #5 – Forgot to prepare? Plans gone awry? Relax. Missing a meal now and again – or even having to make choices between the lesser of two evils will not kill you. It takes at least 3 weeks for starvation to even begin – and hunger is a long way off from starving. For those with serious health issues such as celiac disease or anaphylaxis toward certain foods – this blog is not for you. Preparation is essential. For the rest of us – remember that what we’re really trying to do is reduce chronic abuse on ourselves by eating on the fly. A little forethought can make for a very merry, non-bloated holiday travel. Oh – and don’t forget to drink plenty of good ol’ water!