This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clif Bar & Company. All opinions are 100% mine.
Growing up I never cared about what kind of food I was putting in my body. I was naturally tall and lanky, and being on the track and cross country teams meant I was running 30+ miles a week, so weight was never a real issue.
It wasn’t until my dad ended up in the hospital for heart disease that I ever began to consider food as being anything more than a tasty hobby.
When you begin to look at food for what it is – nourishment and a life source – it’s easier to be picky about what you put into your body.
Me? I’ve cut out meat entirely, and consume a very limited amount of products that contain dairy and egg. Mostly I try to eat whole foods and homemade meals (so I know exactly what’s going into them!) but, of course, when you’re on the go and out and about that’s a little more difficult to monitor.
I do a fair bit of traveling and when you’re spending the day in airports and the sky or venturing out for a meal in an unfamiliar place it’s good to have a game plan.
I’ve gotten pretty good at eating well on the go, and I want to share my tips with you.
Have a backup plan
Don’t count on always being able to find good food that’s good for you when you’re somewhere new. I am similar to the average grandma in that my purse is always stocked with snacks and energy bars. When I’m traveling you’ll probably find me with a piece of fruit, a tin of nuts, and an energy bar or two.
The Clif Nut Butter Filled Bars are my personal heaven. I’ve always been a fan of Clif Bar, but they took things to the next level when the filled their already tasty bars with nut butters. My favorite is the chocolate hazelnut butter bar, but the coconut almond butter is a close second.
Clif Nut Butter Filled Energy Bars are USDA Organic and made with delicious, creamy peanut, hazelnut or almond butters. AND if you’re anything like me, when you’re vacation your ideal definition of “out and about” falls somewhere between hiking and swimming in the ocean.
Clif Bars are the perfect food to have on hand if you’re going to be doing physical activity like hiking, biking or swimming.
Annoy the waiter
This is one I’m guilty of – as a vegetarian I’m never sure if the soup I’m ordering is made with an animal broth or veggie broth, and it’s important to me to know whether or not there will be any surprise bacon crumble on my salad.
I ask all of the questions when I go out to eat, and more often than not the waiter is happy to answer my inquiries.
If you have any dietary restrictions or health concerns, lay them out on the table right away and ask your waiter for suggestions and ideas. This isn’t the time to be timid!
Check the label
Not all convenient prepackaged foods are created equally. Another reason why I love Clif Bars? Their ingredient list is full of organic, non-GMO ingredients. Bonus points for being able to recognize every single ingredient on the product list!
I usually make organic and non-GMO a secondary consideration when choosing what to eat (no meat/dairy is most important to me!) but it is still something to be aware of.
GMOs are organisms—including plants and vegetables—that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals and it’s estimated they are present in approximately 70 percent of processed foods in supermarkets. Studies show that GMO crops lead to the increased use of toxic chemicals, herbicides and pesticides in conventional farming, which is exactly the type of thing you want to avoid.
An expert on this type of thing is Kate Geagan MS, RD., an award-winning dietitian who is considered “America’s Green Nutritionist.” Kate is the author of “Go Green Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet.” Kate is helping lead a national conversation which champions cleaner food choices to support a thriving body and planet.
At least 26 countries worldwide totally or partially ban GMOs, and more than 60 countries require GMO labeling. Now not all GMO products are labeled, but you’ll often find that non-GMO products are. The Clif Bars packaging screams it loud and proud so you know that you’re putting good into your body.
Want to learn more about Non GMO? Check out Clif Bar’s site where they break it down beautifully!
When in doubt, opt for what you know
When you’re traveling, you may not even know the language to read the labels if you wanted to. If that’s the case, opt for what you know. You’re likely to be a lot better off buying an apple or banana than gambling on a processed product with mystery ingredients.
Buying fresh produce or simple foods like pasta with red sauce will be your safest bet.
Do your research before you go
This one might seem obvious, but while you’re planning your trip you’re probably thinking more about where you’ll stay and what you’ll see before you think about what you’re going to eat.
Before your trip research restaurants that offer healthy, wholesome foods that will accommodate any dietary restriction you might have.
Have a list of at least 2 or 3 and know how far away they are from where you’re staying, the general price range, and what they offer.
This list will be your safety – you’ll be able to explore and try to find restaurants on your own while knowing that you have at least a few backup plans.
Ask for substitutions
Again, this aligns with bugging the waiter. You’ll be surprised how many restaurants don’t offer a single vegetarian item. I used to think that I couldn’t possibly eat there, but now I’ve learned 99% of the time, restaurants are happy to make simple swaps for me.
Just the other day I ordered a pasta dish that was supposed to come with seafood or chicken in the sauce. I asked if I could swap that out with the veggie of the day and they were more than happy to oblige.
As long as you’re not asking for overly complicated or extravagant swaps, usually it’s as simple as throwing one thing in the pot as opposed to another, and the restaurant won’t blink twice.
Bonus Tip: Go to an Indian Restaurant
This is my biggest secret when I’m in a new place – I am 100% sure I will be able to get food that’s good and good for me at an Indian Restaurant. I’ve never been in a single one that wouldn’t allow me to order plain rice and steamed veggies – nutritious and full of good, energizing carbs.
No matter what your dietary restrictions are: Vegan, paleo, dairy-free, etc. chances are they’ll be able to serve you something simple that you can eat. Plus, you can eat your weight in Naan bread while you wait for your order.
What tips do you have for eating well when you’re on the go or in a new place?