While taking a 5 week “vacation” (which sounds so glamorous and this was decidedly NOT – maybe driving tour? road trip?) with my husband, 3 kids, and yes, our golden retriever, I had a good amount of time to practice healthy eating and staying active while on the road. I’m not going to sit here and BS everyone and say I ate perfectly, not even close. I had s’mores with my kids and we tried exotic sodas at a candy store and I ate hot dogs for dinner when we camped. But I did manage to get veggies in every day, plenty of fruit and protein, and stayed hydrated and active. Here’s how I did it.
LOOK FOR THE BEST OPTIONS
In many places we stayed in hotels with free breakfasts, some better than others. Usually there were pastries, toast, instant oatmeal, apples and bananas, and yogurt to choose from, probably none of which I’d buy for myself at home. But I needed a) protein and b) nutrients, so I chose the items that gave me the best of these. I skipped sugary pastries and breads with no nutritional value, and went with hard-boiled (or if the hotel was nicer, sometimes scrambled) eggs on wheat toast, with a piece of fruit and sometimes a yogurt.
BUY YOUR OWN FOOD WHEN YOU CAN
We traveled with a cooler and bought groceries each week. While making fancy salads full of greens and chopped veggies wasn’t an option in a hotel room or during a car ride, I made wraps with grilled chicken (that I cooked up each week either camping or at a cabin and stored in tupperware in the cooler), baby spinach, and hummus. Mini sweet peppers were the perfect veggie side as they are very portable. Snacks are easy – a piece of fruit (apples, bananas, clementines, peaches, berries) or a Larabar.
LIMIT, DON’T ELIMINATE
Part of the fun of our trip was trying restaurants we’d seen on the Food Network or Travel Channel. I’m sorry, but there is something wrong with your head if you go into Pink’s Hot Dogs or Hash House a Go Go and order a salad. So yes, I ate chicken and biscuits smothered in the most delicious gravy I’ve ever had in my life, but I split it with my husband. I might have eaten the entire Pink’s hot dog on my own though. But there was avocado in it!
GET EXERCISE IN WHERE IT FITS
While I never wrote and performed a workout on the entire trip, I never stopped moving. Since we were vacationing mostly in National Parks, getting exercise in was easy – we hiked, and hiked, and hiked some more. I did not push myself into HIIT or other workouts, because my body was telling me I was doing enough.
I never went anywhere without my water bottle, and while hiking, I had extra water bottles. Sipping on water all day kept me feeling my best and kept swelling to a minimum, even if my meals were high in sodium or the elevation was bothering me.
This is the time when your supplements are so vital. The right prenatal vitamins will be your safety net if you don’t get your normal amounts of vegetables and nutrients in for the day. Cod liver oil is another supplement that helped me not only provide my baby with brain-building DHA, but also helped me with sore joints and aching muscles throughout a strenuous trip.