Most of my life involves traveling, whether it’s to attend or speak at conferences or to support Martin during the NASCAR season. While I definitely began to eat differently after my cancer diagnosis, I always considered myself a pretty healthy eater. But eating after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer (if you’re going to follow a strict diet), can be stressful and tough! It takes a lot of meal prep and planning ahead!
Eating clean, good food on the road isn’t always easy. My two biggest tips to eat healthfully while traveling are these: invest in a good cooler, and plan your meals and snacks. The amount of prep you put in at the beginning of a trip will make life so much easier once you’re away from home. I’m a huge fan of the soft tote style Yeti cooler; it’s easy to travel with and keeps your foods cold for at least 24 hours! You don’t need the most expensive one — just whatever size works for your needs.
For this year’s Ovarian Cancer National Conference, I knew I’d be staying in a hotel in Washington, D.C., so I brought my cooler packed with easy meals and snacks so my nutrition could stay in check. Most hotels will bring you a mini fridge if you ask at check-in, which is easier than refilling your cooler with ice every day!
I typically prep my smoothie ingredients in a jar and freeze them and throw my travel nutri-bullet in my suitcase. It’s a super easy way to have a healthy, green smoothie in your room for breakfast. I always pack lots of fresh fruits and veggies, homemade trail mixes and granola to snack on!
Our trip to D.C. was my sister Jill’s first time visiting our nation’s capitol, so we made a point to get out and do some sightseeing in between breakout sessions. If you’re in DC and looking for an incredible place to eat, Nora’s Organic Restaurant was America’s first certified all-organic restaurant, and we had a delicious meal there! I just Googled “organic” restaurants when we got there, and Nora’s was the first to pop up.
Here are a few other resources you can try to find healthy restaurants while traveling:
- Organic Travel – Guides to Healthy and Organic Places (I was happy to see Charlotte’s Luna’s Living Kitchen included on their list! Order their amazing holiday pies here.)
- OrganicRestaurants.com connects people who eat organic food with places that offer organic food wherever they are in the world – while providing users the opportunity to rate and review listings in transparent detail so organic foodies find healthier choices.
I try to eat healthy food at every meal, but my rule of thumb is to eat healthy 80 percent of the time and allow yourself to indulge 20 percent of the time. By that I don’t mean eat an entire pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I just mean I’ll have a small slice or treat myself to a dessert during the holidays. I normally don’t eat refined sugar so even a few bites or a small slice of something is a big treat for me.
Of course, this is harder at the holidays when it seems like there’s a celebration at every turn. Most of my family and friends have adopted healthier eating habits so there’s usually something I can eat when I arrive, but if I know we’re going somewhere there won’t be food that I can eat, I will eat before we go! And if all else fails and I really get in a bind, I usually keep Larabars, trail mix and healthy snacks in my purse to munch on!
Don’t stress yourself out if you can’t eat healthy all the time. Just make small changes a little at a time. One month, try to cut out refined sugar. The next month, try to have meatless Mondays and eat more plant-based foods. Try juicing or green smoothies a few days a week! Small changes will make a big difference over time!