Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Traveling on a Special Diet

This week on the podcast we are talking about go-to quick and easy meals. Two weeks ago on our podcast, we touched on the topic of traveling with a special diet. This week, I will be leaving for my first vacation in two years, and I have a plan to eat healthy (and budget-friendly) while still on the road.

I follow a low-carb and mostly dairy-free diet as my boyfriend calls it, boring. I’m lucky that so many places have these options while dining out now. You are probably wondering why I use the word “mostly.” Sometimes we are put in situations where we need to eat something and we may not find that particular option on a menu. I could be extremely strict about it, but sometimes we all need to live a little. For example, I can eat cheese. I say I am primarily dairy-free, because, as I mentioned in my last blog, I get sick when I drink milk, eat yogurt and various other dairy products, but a small amount of cheese (like a cheese stick) does not make me sick.

Two years ago, I traveled to Las Vegas with Christen and Cindy for Christen’s bachelorette party. While there, I tried to stick to my diet plan, which required a lot of prepping. Here are my tips for traveling on a special diet:
  1. Know the parameters of your diet. What can you eat? When can you eat? What needs to be refrigerated? What can you eat that can withstand long plane/car rides? I have to eat a certain amount of protein per day, and I need to supplement my diet with protein shakes. If I were buying shakes on the road (yes, they do sell them at gas stations), I would be paying twice as much as buying protein powder or shakes ahead of time.
  2. Plan! Plan! Plan! Yes, you can “wing it,” but there will be no guarantee (as I’ve learned the hard way) that you can find snacks along the way for your special diet. It’s always good to have an idea where you are going to eat and what snacks you want to eat ahead of time. I suggest doing some research on restaurants before traveling so that you can pick the right restaurant. For example, if you follow a vegan diet, you may need to find vegan-friendly restaurants near where you will be staying.
  3. Buy in bulk when possible. This is a big one for me because buying low-carb snacks on the road can be unhealthy and expensive. I typically go to my local bulk foods store and buy individual bulk ingredients to make my own trail mix. I also make sure I stock up on protein bars, peanut butter, low-carb crackers, and celery sticks. If you are taking a road trip, you can buy a case of water instead of paying individually for water at a gas station.
  4. Pre-portion your snacks. The last time I went on vacation, took tiny zip lock bags and made tiny portions of my snacks before storing them in my suitcase. I didn’t check any luggage, and I was able to get my snacks through with my carry-on bags with minimal security issues (apparently my individually packed protein powder could have been a powder bomb, so they had to take a closer look).
  5. Always be prepared. There have been many times that I have been stuck in the middle of nowhere and unable to eat when I need to eat because I was unprepared, or I was dehydrated because I didn’t have a bottle of water. Now, I carry a protein bar or a protein pack of almonds in my purse and I have another in my work backpack. I also make sure I have a refillable bottle or cup in my car or in my backpack for those times that I don’t have anything to drink.

I know it seems like a lot of work but preparing my travel snacks ahead of time really does save a lot of money when on the road. Yes, you still will want to eat at the cool, local restaurants but the more money you save on snacks, the more money you can spend dining out or on souvenirs.

I want to hear from our readers. What is your favorite road-trip snack? Do you plan it ahead of time or do you “wing it” when on the road? Let’s continue the conversation right here or on our Facebook Group MMC Chat. Don’t forget to check out our podcast as well!

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