How to Eat Clean When Traveling & Camping
It’s that time of the year when we’re craving the warmth and fresh air of the great outdoors. By now we’re sure you are soaking up the sunshine and spending the majority of your time outdoors. It’s also a busy season for family vacations, travel and camping, which can be exciting (and delicious), but many people seem to fall off the wagon with their healthy lifestyle and end up with a bloated belly or feeling tired and lethargic, which can put a damper on your summer travel plans. There’s no need to end up with a stomach ache or feeling zapped of energy when you can use a few of these simple clean eating tips to help you eat whole foods that taste amazing and keep you energized while you’re away from your kitchen.
Find a Healthy Local Food Store. Whenever I’m headed out for a trip, I always head to my computer to Google a healthy food store that is near my hotel or camping ground. I like to find health food stores or a large market with a variety of fresh produce such as Whole Foods Market. When I arrive at my destination, my first stop from the airport before I make it to the hotel or the camping ground is always the food store. I stock up on the below items to enjoy for breakfast, snacks and other easy meals that can be assembled without cooking.
Search for a Farmers Market. Google can be your friend here, too. Do a Google search for farmers markets in your area before you arrive to see what days and times the markets are open. You can also ask your hotel or campground if there are any local farmers markets nearby. I often ask locals when I’m at the gas station or other public areas. You can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to make salads and snacks with the shelf-stable ingredients mentioned below.
Request a Fridge (for hotel rooms). If you are staying in a hotel room, you can request a small fridge for your room to store the food that you purchased at the food store or farmers market. If there is already a mini fridge in your hotel room, you can request that it be emptied out so you can store your perishable food. You can also request another mini fridge to add additional food, if needed. Two mini fridges are perfect for storing my food for a few days in a hotel!
Bring a Cooler (if camping). If you are camping, you can pack a large cooler with a few foods that you’re going to eat that day and evening such as cooked whole grains like quinoa or wild rice, chopped fresh fruit and vegetables, salads such as egg salad or chicken salad as well as salsa, homemade guacamole and hummus. If salads are too difficult to enjoy while traveling, opt for a sandwich instead.
Pack Dry Goods. Raw nuts, seeds and dried fruits (no sugar added) are great options. You can make your own granola (like the recipe below) and store it in small individual bags or a sealed container to bring with you for your airplane or car ride. You can also pack a loaf of whole grain bread that you can use for sandwiches throughout the week as well as for breakfast served with creamy almond butter or mashed avocado and sea salt. Nut butters such as almond butter, cashew butter and peanut butter are easy staples that don’t need to be refrigerated so packing a jar of nut butter can be a great asset to your travel because it can be used on everything from sandwiches to bananas and more. Sometimes a spoonful of peanut butter goes a long way when you’re hungry while camping and need a little something to enjoy! You can even find small packets of nut butters in individual serving sizes in the store or online (such as Once Again Nut Butter) so that you don’t need to carry around an entire jar.
Add in Flavor Boosters. I love to create flavor in my food and one of the best ways to do that is to add a punch of goodness with foods that are simple yet pack a lot of flavor into every bite. My favorites include ripe avocado, hummus, balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, high-quality sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, fresh lemons, herbs (dried or fresh depending on where you are staying) and spices can do wonders. The great thing about these flavor boosters is that many of these items don’t have to be refrigerated.
Choose BPA-free Cans. When you are in the mood for beans such as chickpeas and black beans for camping, choose BPA-free cans for a healthier canned option. You can easily drain the beans and add them to your salads, whole grains such as quinoa or serve them as a side dish with fresh herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
Drink filtered water. I suggest purchasing bottled waters for camping and traveling such as Mountain Valley Spring Water in a glass bottle instead of using tap water or plastic water bottles. Tap water can be filled with chlorine and fluoride, which can upset our stomachs over time and cause unwanted symptoms.
Healthy Travel Options
Here are a few quick meals and snacks that you can whip up whether you’re in your hotel room, cabin, tent, or on-the-go in an airplane or in a car. Mix and match these options to keep your taste buds happy and don’t forget to bring along a few flavor boosters mentioned above such as sea salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh lemons!
- Whole grain sprouted tortillas with almond butter, bananas and ground cinnamon wrapped up. Spread a whole grain tortilla with creamy almond butter then add thin slices of 1 small ripe banana and a few sprinkles of ground cinnamon. Wrap the tortilla like a burrito and enjoy.
- Homemade oatmeal packets. Before you leave for your trip, spoon in a ¼ cup of rolled oats into a small sealable container and add in your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruits as well as cinnamon, cocoa powder or coconut flakes. Then seal the container and when you arrive at your destination, just add water and you’re ready to eat the oatmeal with a spoon
- Sliced apples, bananas and oranges with a spread of almond butter or peanut butter.
Lettuce wraps with organic chicken or whole grains such as quinoa or wild rice. Use lettuce wraps as your ‘tortilla’ and fill them with protein such as beans or chicken, healthy fats such as avocado and a complex carbohydrate such as quinoa. Then season to taste with salt and pepper and add salsa or guacamole on top.
- Veggie pita with hummus. Stuff each half of a large pitta with vegetables and hummus for an easy sandwich-like dinner.
- Avocado sandwich. Mash a ripe avocado and use that in place of your mayonnaise and add your favorite ingredients on top for a sandwich you can eat on-the-go.
- Black bean burritos. Take a large whole grain wrap and add a spoonful of guacamole, salsa and hummus followed by black beans, fresh herbs such as cilantro, sea salt and pepper. Fold up and enjoy.
- Chickpea tacos. You can create soft tacos or hard tacos and stuff them with chickpeas, quinoa, diced veggies, fresh parsley, sea salt and pepper.
- Healthy packaged tortilla chips (that are baked not fried) for dipping into salsa.
- Fresh fruit cut into small pieces to serve with toothpicks.
- Carrots, celery and zucchini raw veggies to serve with hummus.
- Apples, bananas and oranges to eat alone or with a drizzle of almond butter.
- Whole grain toast with a spread of creamy peanut butter and no-sugar added jam.
- Granola (see below for a homemade granola recipe).
- Raw nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and any others you’d like. Make sure you purchase raw nuts and seeds and not the varieties that are sold with refined salt and refined vegetable oils.
Here’s a tasty granola recipe that you can make before you head out for your summer travel plans. It’s a great way to eat clean when you’re on the go without having to reach for fast food or a vending machine snack at the airport or rest stop.
Beautiful Buckwheat Granola Recipe
(Free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and refined sugar)
- 2 cups raw nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, pecans)
- ½ cup uncooked buckwheat
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 4 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey
- 4 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl; mix well to combine. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet.
3. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven. Add all of the oats to the buckwheat mixture on the baking sheet; use a spoon to gently mix it together and immediately bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. Serve alone as a snack or add to yogurt and cereal.
5. Storing: at home, store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
6. Storing: for traveling/camping, store in small parchment paper bags for individual portions or small sealed containers for up to 5 days.
About our guest food blogger:
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is the Editor-in-Chief of www.TheHealthyApple.com. She is a chef, culinary nutritionist, professional recipe developer, food photographer, writer, and motivational speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free “clean eating” recipes. After visiting countless doctors and the Mayo Clinic with no results, Amie was able to heal herself from a decade of chronic pain and multiple ailments, including Lyme Disease, Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, Leaky Gut, and Heavy Metal and Mold Toxicity. Amie cooks for a variety of clients, including celebrities and people with busy lifestyles, who enjoy healthy, organic, whole foods. Her work appears on Martha Stewart, Fox News Health, WebMD, The Huffington Post, The Food Network, and PBS, and in Glamour, Clean Eating, SELF, Vegetarian Times Prevention, and many other magazines and media outlets. Amie splits her time between Manhattan and New Jersey.