Eating clean at home is relatively easy. You cook what you want to eat and provided you have the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry you shouldn’t be too tempted by takeout and fast food. Things get a little more complicated when you’re away from home.
When You’re Traveling
Do your homework before you head out. What options will you have on the road and once you arrive at your destination? See if there are grocery stores close by and if you will have access to a mini-fridge (if you’re staying in a hotel).
Pack some emergency snacks in case you can’t find anything you can eat. Stock up on nuts, fruits, seeds and raw vegetables. If you can, pack a little cooler with other ready to eat food. Having water and herbal teas on hand will also help when you’re traveling.
When You’re Invited To Dinner
Depending on your relationship with the hostess, you may or may not want to mention your dietary restrictions. In either case it’s a good idea to have a substantial snack before you head out the door. You don’t want to arrive hungry and be tempted by all the “off-limit” food options.
Make the best choices you can. After that it’s a personal decision if you want to avoid most food or have some foods you wouldn’t normally eat in order to avoid offending the hostess. At the end of the day, a few bites of processed foods won’t kill you. Just avoid any known trigger foods and if you can, stay away from wheat and sugar.
When You’re Going Out To Eat
Research the place ahead of time, or if you have input in where you should go, pick a restaurant that you know has choices that fit into your eating plan.
Most restaurants offer their menus online. Start there and see what you can find that’s at least close to being acceptable. Then give them a call and see what they can do to accommodate you. You may be able to make some small tweaks in the menu to cut out foods you’re trying to avoid. Stating you’re on dietary restrictions or can’t handle certain ingredients will help. Of course it always helps to be nice to the person on the other end of the phone line and your server once you get to the restaurant.
One more quick tip. Anytime you head out, even if it’s just for a few short hours, carry a healthy snack with you. Keep some non-perishables like nuts and dried fruit in your purse along with some bottled water. No matter what happens, you’ll have your snack and can make it until you get back home to cook a clean meal.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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