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5 Ways to Stay On Track During a Road Trip

Taking a road-trip or going on vacation can seem like a great time to go off the wagon with your eating. I’ve been there many times. I always seem to justify it at the time…after all, I’m sampling the local cuisine. The reality is, gorging on foods I don’t normally eat, such as grains and sugar, reeks havoc on my body and leaves me feeling lethargic, achy and overall pretty crappy. It’s rarely worth it. Here are five things I do to stay on track when I’m away from home.

Pack snacks. This seems obvious but is easily overlooked in all the rush to get going. Nuts, seeds, high-quality beef jerky, sliced veggies, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, and of course, Nourishe muffins, are all easy options. If you have the time before leaving, make something heartier like chicken or tuna salad and toss it in a cooler. Food at the ready means you're less likely to give in to disgusting gas station gourmet to beat back hunger demons.

Panera Hidden MenuKnow your options. Have a few go-to places in mind for during the drive. I’m not typically a huge chain-restaurant fan, but there are a couple of pretty good options these days that are near the interstate. Chipotle’s burrito bowl (no rice/beans if Paleo) or salad with extra meat fits the bill, as does Jason’s Deli’s salad bar or Panera’s Cobb Salad or even better, their hidden menu (if you can get it.) The hidden menu has great breakfast options too! The Corner Bakery is also good for breakfast with several scrambled egg dishes available.

Do some research. If you have a smart phone or tablet, you can find a decent place to eat - even if you didn’t have time to look before leaving home. Both Yelp and Urban Spoon allow you to search nearby restaurants. Urban Spoon offers farm-to-table and gluten-free friendly as criteria under Features. We use these apps both en route and once we arrive at our vacation spot. When time permits, we research our destination in advance and pick out a handful of restaurant options that look intriguing and workable. The anticipation is half the fun!

Start with Gluten-Free. One way to narrow down your options more quickly is to look for restaurants that offer a gluten-free menu. These restaurants generally have more options and are used to customizing some of their menu. In addition to Urban Spoon, there are a bunch of resources online that list gluten-free friendly restaurants, such as http://www.glutenfreeregistry.com/

Plan your cheats. If you know you’re going to have some cheat meals while you’re gone, go ahead and plan out when and if possible, where. Having an upcoming cheat meal to look forward to can help you stay on track…especially if you know what it is and can be anticipating it. You just have to have the discipline to get back on track after the glorious cheat!

Going on a road trip doesn’t have to mean gorging on all manner of foods you wouldn’t normally eat. It does take a bit of planning, but by doing so, you can save money (by not buying convenience store snacks), stay feeling good and still have some pretty fabulous meals!

- Nicole

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