Road tripping is fun, exhilarating and liberating. Knowing that you have power over which direction the wheel turns offers a whole new level of freedom unlike much other travel. But preparing for a road trip can seem daunting, especially if you’re moving across the country, like me.
The great thing about traveling by car is the ability to pack whatever you want, including food. If you are trying to be conscious of what they consume or are following the Autoimmune Protocol, traveling can be a point of stress because of the lack of control over meals. It’s gotten easier over the years to have access to healthier options while traveling, however, it’s still not always easy to find easily accessible meals from most standard restaurants.
There are less readily available options for on-the-go traveling. So in preparing for my journey I knew I needed to be able to pack plentiful food, and be prepared to find places along the way that will accommodate. The key to having a successful trip is not feeling overly exhausted at the end of it. For someone dealing with an autoimmune disease this can pose a challenge already, the last thing you’d want to do is exacerbate those symptoms by eating foods that will irritate the immune system.
Here are my pointers for for planning what to eat on a road trip!
1. Plan & Prepare!
The key to being successful with following most any lifestyle change is preparedness. Before your trip plan out the number of day’s you’ll be gone. Then estimate how many meals you will need, out of those meals see how much food you can prepare and take before hand, and how many you will try to find in cities you pass through. From there think about which foods are easiest not only to prepare but to travel with in a cooler or otherwise less perishable. Some of my favorite recipes are plantain crackers, fig protein balls, and bacon beef liver pate. Some other handy items are things like Epic bars, prosciutto, avocados, apples, bananas, nuts or seeds if you tolerate them.
2. Beware of your triggers!
Knowing yourself is essential to success. Fully understand your own boundaries and food preferences. By having the awareness of which foods are absolute no’s for you individually will allow you to have a baseline guide of what to steer clear of so you’re not exposing yourself. For me, my top culprits are gluten, dairy and most nightshades.
3. Stay where you can cook!
Or at least have access to a mini-fridge. There are great places on AirBnB that allow you to have access to a kitchen, at least a fridge and often times an entire apartment. By booking places to stay where you have the option to eat in you’ll be less likely to get exposed to inflammatory properties from restaurant foods.
4. Eat from roadside stands, farmer’s markets and grocery stores!
These are by far your best options for access to food that you haven’t already packed. I love stopping at roadside stands for fresh fruits and vegetables, there’s a whimsy about the experience of getting food off the side of the road. If you’re lucky in the summer you’ll find bountiful peaches, strawberries, blueberries, melons and squashes. The same goes for farmer’s markets. Not to mention it’s a great way to explore the local area, chat with people and enjoy the local bounty. Shopping at grocery stores will help cut down on your food budget. Don’t get me wrong, if there’s a restaurant that serves amazing fresh organic whole foods go for it and enjoy that experience, but having these resources will help you the rest of the time!
5. Relax and have fun!
I know this one’s tough, because often it’s easy to get overwhelmed by having to constantly be aware of what you’re putting in your body. By having the tools mentioned above and preparing beforehand, you’re going to be able to relax and have the fun you want on the trip without having unnecessary anxiety over what you will eat.