There is No Secret to Getting Fit

My Journey to Fitness

Eat clean? But I’m on vacation!

on November 14, 2013

A lot of people ask me how I stay on track with eating clean when I am traveling or eating out at restaurants. For me, a vacation, weekend getaway, business trip or even just going out to dinner is not a reason to binge or eat junk food. When I committed myself to this new lifestyle, I didn’t commit to it with exceptions. Of course I try new things and have tastes of foods I don’t regularly eat, but when I am eating away from home, I still focus on eating clean.

The first thing I do is plan ahead! I always pack my regular snacks of raw nuts, apples and other fruit. Depending on where I am going and for how long, I also pack my breakfast. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am not a big fan of breakfast. There are three things I typically eat for breakfast. My most frequent breakfast meal, and awesome post-workout meal, is a green smoothie. My favorite meal when I have time, 1 1/2 – 2 hours, before a workout or when I am traveling is oatmeal with my own twist.

This past weekend, I was in Florida to run my first half marathon. We stayed on Disney property. I was able to order groceries ahead of time to have delivered to our room, but I also packed a few breakfast essentials in my checked bag. The only things I needed for my breakfast that I hadn’t packed were a few organic apples and raisins (though I usually pack raisins too). Our room had a microwave, some paper plates, paper bowls and plasticware. I was good to go!

I packed a small container of honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract and my oatmeal packets. Oatmeal is one of the few grains I ever eat, and I really like these little oatmeal packets. There are two brands I use, this one and Three Sisters Plain Grain, but they are the same thing. They’re organic, multigrain with no added sugar and only a pinch of sea salt. My only “complaint” is that they include whole flaxseed, not ground flaxseed.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

1/2 apple
1-2 tbsp. raisins
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. honey
splash of vanilla extract
1 packet oats (1/3 cup)
3/4 cup water (or fill pouch to top- past the water line)
Optional splash of almond milk

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Dice your apple and place in bowl with raisins, cinnamon, drizzle of honey and splash of vanilla. Top with the oats. Pour water over the oats and apple mixture. Microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up.

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Stir and top with a splash of almond milk if you like! You can also enjoy the other half of your apple, give it to the kids, or save it for later.

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If I am traveling somewhere without access to a microwave or it’s just not possible to make my own oatmeal, I can always find plain oatmeal at restaurants, buffets and hotels. I still pack my cinnamon, raisins, vanilla and honey. I grab a bowl of oatmeal and an apple (you can always find apples too) and I make my breakfast. You can change it up with some nuts, banana or other fruit. Skip the brown sugar. The touch of honey and the raisins and fruit really sweeten it up.

As far as regular meals go while I am away, I usually order a salad for lunch. I choose salads with dark greens, chicken, additional veggies, sometimes nuts, occasionally some goat cheese, and always dressing on the side. I usually chop up my salad, toss in a small drizzle of dressing and enjoy. I avoid salads with lots of cheeses (other than a bit of goat cheese), tortillas, breads, croutons, and beans (because I have an intolerance to beans).

For dinners, I can eat just about anywhere and get something that passes my clean eating criteria. The first thing I look for on a menu are the grilled items. Once I’ve found something I am in the mood for, I look at all of the sides that come with every meal on the menu. For example, while in Disney, we were at a restaurant that had grilled steak and grilled chicken. The steak came with mashed potatoes and green beans, the chicken came on top of some sort of spinach and mushroom risotto (apparently the spinach in the risotto counted as a vegetable). I chose the chicken, substituted the risotto for green beans and I added broccolini that I saw was an option with another dish. I do this everywhere I go. I even eat burgers, no bun with double veggies instead of fries.

I don’t get bored with this. I don’t feel deprived. This is what my body craves now. This is what I enjoy. If my husband orders something that I don’t regularly eat, but I used to enjoy (such as risotto), I may have a taste (a taste to me is one or two small bites). I know that eating too much of anything like this will not agree with me, so a taste is always enough to satisfy my curiosity. That’s really all it is… I’m curious what it tastes like. I try it, enjoy the taste and move on.

There’s no reason to treat vacations as a vacation from living healthy. Why is it OK to accept that you might gain five or more pounds on vacation? Why is it OK to stop workouts and eat junk? Why not commit to a healthy lifestyle and stick with it. Have the occasional treat, take rest days from exercise as needed, but make this your normal routine and stick with it when you travel because it’s much easier to keep moving forward than to fall backwards and start over.

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One response to “Eat clean? But I’m on vacation!

  1. katez says:

    This is such a great post, and touches on something I deal with on a daily basis! Travelling for 5 months has forced me to be creative in situations to ensure I continue to live the healthy lifestyle I’m used to. Always looking for new ideas, so your suggestions are greatly appreciated! Let me know if you’d ever like to do a guest post!- Kate

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