Travel on the Whole 30
So many people that I have talked to believe that in order to do a type of challenge like Whole30, you need to put your life on hold. You need to limit social events, plan around travel, and make sure that nothing gets in the way of your Whole30 for those 30 days.
I didn’t have that luxury and honestly believe that if you are going to make long term changes and see success over time, you have to go on living your life. Life doesn’t stop so you can get healthy. Health has to fit into your life, you can’t always plan to fit your life into health.
That being said, my life was a little abnormally crazy when I did the Whole30. My husband was gone and I was travelling a lot for the first 19 days of the Whole30. I visited my family in Minnesota, Oklahoma and saw numerous friends throughout this time. My son and I had the joy to experience airline travel (alone with an 8 month old…) and we stayed in a hotel room for five days! I became an expert on Whole30 dining out and making Whole30 compliant “meals” in a hotel room.
Overall, I am glad that this worked out this way. It made the rest of the Whole30 seem like a breeze when we were home and I am more confident in my ability to make healthy choices and still live my life. Honestly, the social arena is always where I made excuses and failed so often in my health. Through this experience I learned how to balance this struggle.
Plus I have a few things to share about travel and the Whole30 and eating healthy in general. I don’t know if it is just me but so often I would go on vacation and give myself permission to eat ALL THE THINGS! The result was feeling tired, sluggish, and sick. I was not comfortable and it would hinder my experience on vacation. What I thought was a good time to “let loose” led to a bad experience overall.
In eating Whole30 while on vacation, I was still able to enjoy my time, maintain a healthy relationship with food and have enough energy to enjoy all the activities. And this vacation did not involve me wearing a bathing suit, but if it did, I would still feel as comfortable in my bathing suit at the end of my vacation as I did at the beginning! WIN WIN WIN!
So, those are the pros to maintaining your Whole30 on vacation and it inspired me to maintain healthy living in general on all future vacations! No longer do I have the mindset that I deserve a break in eating healthy (I deserve to feel good!) or that I am out of control of what I eat while on vacation (I always have control over what I put in my body). Now without further ado, here are my Whole30 travel tips:
Plan – Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
This one is so obvious and one that people to often use as an excuse. In reality though, if you are going on a trip, a fair amount of planning is already going into this endeavor! So why not continue on this train and plan out your meals a little more? Here is what I found helpful in planning:
- Plan your snacks and meals while you travel. How long will you be in transit? Do you need to plan a meal? Snacks? How much will you need? Plan out what you will need and be realistic about it, and then add extra – just in case you are more hungry then you plan for or you are caught in some sort of delay. Whether you are driving or flying, chances are you will need snack or meals. You can check out restaurants at the airport or along your route if you can’t pack enough food for you to need. I will be talking about helpful snacks and dining guides later in this post
- Plan out your meals. How often will you be going out? Check out restaurants on Yelp that will be able to accommodate your dining needs, but honestly if you are going anywhere but Fast Food restaurants you should be able to find something. How often will you eat a meal in? Does your hotel have a fridge? Does it have a microwave? Does your hotel offer a hot breakfast and what is in the hot breakfast? Plan out your days and you will be able to know you will be able to make healthy choices
- Find a grocery store near your hotel. Once you know how often you will be eating in your hotel room, you will need to find a grocery store near your hotel and plan to buy Whole30 compliant ingredients and make meals with these ingredients.
Pack your Snacks/Meals
Snacks and “snacks” turned into meals are a must while travelling – at least for me. I had snacks for travelling and I bought snacks for in the hotel room. Here are a list of snacks that I brought and snacks that I bought once I got to my destination.
Snacks for travel:
- Compliant Rx bars or Larabars (When I can find Rx bars, I like those better because they have more protein and less sugar so they keep me satisfied for longer and I don’t feel like I am creating a sugar demon in me)
- Baby Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas – These are easy to munch on while travelling and don’t make a mess
- Justin’s Almond Butter packets – These are small and easy to bring with you when you travel. Pack a few in your carry on and some in your bag for once you get to your destination. Keeps you full and satisfied.
- Apples or oranges – I always think this is the easiest fruit to travel with and will leave you with the least amount of mess
- Nuts – While I found I have to be careful with these, as too many will cause me to bloat or break out, these are handy to have while travelling and will keep you full in a pinch.
- Dried fruit and Coconut – I found the best was dried apples but make sure there are no added ingredients and sugar.
- Hardboiled eggs – I did not bring these but this would be a good thing to have while travelling. Although if you are on a plane, be conscientious of the people around you; nobody wants to sit next to the smelly kid….
- Compliant Jerky – While I did not bring this because I could not find it, this would be a great thing to have while travelling and a great source of protein.
Many of my packing snacks came from my emergency list:
Plan your Meals In
Whether you are planning on having breakfast, lunch or dinner, or all three in your hotel room, the key to dining in a hotel room is simple! The fewest ingredients and least amount of prep work will go a long way. Use the emergency lists and combinations to find easy meals and snacks.
For me, I went easy. For breakfast everyday, I ate three eggs over spinach (I had a stove top but you can make scrambled eggs in a mug with a microwave) and a sweet potato (microwaved for three minutes). For lunch I made tuna salad with a cut up apple, Paleo Mayo, and mustard.
- Tuna salad – Paleo Mayo to taste, tuna, apple -cut up, salt and pepper to taste, mustard to taste
- Applegate hot dog
- Pre cooked chicken
- Sweet Potato
- Carrots and guacamole
- Avocado with salt and balsamic vinegar
- Apple and almond butter
Grocery Shop When you Arrive
After I got to my destination, I made sure that I went grocery shopping. I did bring some meal options in my checked bag for meals but I had to go out and purchase some key ingredients for easy meals. Most dinners we went out to eat but for lunch and breakfast, I made sure I had ingredients in my hotel room. My shopping list was made of stuff you could find at any grocery store, so I didn’t have to search to find a Whole Foods or a Trader Joes. Here was my shopping list (including some things I brought in my carry on)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Wholly Guacamole
- Nut butter
- Whole 30 Mayo
- Applegate Hotdogs
- All snacks that I mentioned in the snack section
For dining out, see my dining out guide!
That’s it! I learned a lot through this experience and I am so glad I had this opportunity to live life through the Whole30. I had two big takeaways through this experience. First, when I eat like this, I don’t leave feeling gross (shocking revelation, right??). Second, when you plan and prepare, you won’t fail. You can vacation, travel, see friends, and do all the things you normally do when you are on the Whole30, as long as you plan. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take long but it does take some intentionality. So be intentional, plan, and prepare and rock on! You got this!