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Traveling is one of the biggest reasons healthy eating gets derailed. All of us do it, and nearly all of us feel "out of our element." We don't always have access to fresh vegetables, and in the case of traveling to day-long or weekend-long conferences, nearly all of the eating choices are out of our hands.
Unless you're prepared, you'll find yourself entirely at the mercy of the devious food industry engineers and executives who strive to shovel as much salt, sugar, and fat down your throat as possible. There's really only one thing to do in this situation, and that's travel with some of your own food. No, I don't mean that you should cram a few bunches of kale into your luggage. There are, however, some minimally processed food products that can be saviors in case you find yourself in a place where healthy food options are minimal.
1. Vega One Packets
Not sure you're going to get a full complement of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in your day? Bring a long a few Vega One packets and some sort of bottle shaker, like a Blender Bottle, and you'll ensure a great healthy start to your day with one of these shakes as part of your breakfast. It's also good for a nutrition boost post-workout at the hotel gym.
2. Quick-Cooking Oatmeal
Make sure you bring along a glass container (like a pyrex bowl with a lid) and all you'll have to do is make some hot water by running water through your hotel room coffee maker.
3. Dried Fruit (as a condiment)
Bring along some raisins, cranberries, goji berries, dates, or any other kind of dried fruit (make sure to read the label and check to see if its unsulfured, unsweetened, and doesn't contain oil) to sweeten up your oatmeal.
4. Chia Seeds
Mix in some chia seeds with your dried fruit and you'll have created a perfect topping for your oatmeal. Chia seeds have as many or more antioxidants than blueberries, have a great omega-3:6 profile, and will keep you full and energized until lunch comes along. Hemp seeds are a good alternative, too.
5. Vegetable Juice Powders
I'm a big fan of Dr. Hagiwara's Green Magma (can find it at Whole Foods in the Whole Body section), which is essentially barley grass powder. Barley grass is another super nutrient-dense food along the lines of wheatgrass, and bringing it along ensures you'll be able to get a blast of alkalizing chlorophyll at some point in the day. It tastes more or less like grass (I actually like it), so if you don't like the taste, mix it in with your Vega shake and you'll be good to go.
6. Healthy Whole-Food Bars
It's always good to have a few bars with you in case you find yourself out of your hotel room and in a place where healthy food is nonexistent, but be careful of seemingly healthy bars like Cliff Bar and Powerbars, among others. Many of them contain cancer-promoting soy protein islolate, as well as other strange chemicals, so make sure to read the ingredients labels before you buy anything. Kind Bars are ok, but be careful if you're an ethical vegan — a lot of them do contain honey. I prefer Larabars and That's it bars, which have fewer ingredients.
7. McDougall Soups and Noodle Bowls
These are fantastic and can sometimes replace whole meals, or a major portion of them. Many of them are gluten-free too, and I believe all of them are vegan. You can find them in the section with canned beans at Whole Foods or in many other grocery and health food stores. I saw a great tip from Jeff Novick somewhere about these: only use HALF the seasoning packet. It'll taste exactly the same and will cut down on any excess sodium. My favorites are the black bean and lime and the pad thai.
8. Brown Rice Cakes
This one is somewhat unnecessary, but if you're one of those nervous travelers who end up snacking too much, rice cakes are a good option to bring along with you. Just make sure that the variety you get doesn't have excess salt or sugar; remember, the number of milligrams of salt should be equal to or less than the total number of calories.
So, while traveling might not be optimal for staying perfectly on point with your healthy eating habits, these products can help give you a fighting chance when you think healthy eating is hopeless. As opposed to feeling exhausted and nutrient deprived, you'll be able to deal with the stresses of travel and unfamiliar surroundings while still feeling great.