This past week, our family went on mini get-away to Santa Cruz, California. We spent 3 days exploring the beaches, relaxing, checking out the town, looking for surf, and of course, eating….. Even when I’m away from home, eating and food is always on my mind. Just because I’m away doesn’t mean that I want to sabotage my good eating habits. And if you have done any traveling at all, you know that it can be a challenge to stay on a REAL food diet when away from home. I try my best. And I want to share with you some things that I did to help my family eat well while away from home…..
I started by planning ahead a bit. A few days before, I prepared some snacks for us to bring along. We were traveling by car, so I had room for a cooler. There were 2 adults, 2 teenagers, and 1 active little toddler along for the ride, so I knew there would be hungry mouths. I find that if I bring healthy, delicious snacks with me, we can avoid buying things on the road.
This is what I made before hand:
- Homemade Yogurt (this I make every week anyway)
- Coco-Banana Balls (I substituted dried tart cherries for half of the dates)
- Cashew Pomegranate Bites
- Hazelnut Sesame Bars (Rolled them into balls so it was super easy)
- Carrot Ginger Coconut Muffins
- Grain-free Everything Crackers
- Egg Salad (made with 8 pastured eggs, olive oil, mayo, and sea salt)
It may seem like a lot to do, but actually, I only spent 1 hour in the kitchen 2 times…. except for clean up. Luckily, I have an amazing man who is eternally cleaning up after me in the kitchen. Thank you, Alexei!!!
Other things that I packed:
organic roasted chicken (deli), organic salami, goat cheese, apples, bananas, coconut water, gluten-free instant oatmeal, raisins, dried mangoes, avocados, and cucumbers
Luckily, our hotel had a mini fridge to keep all of our goodies in……
Our hotel offered a free continental breakfast. I knew that it wasn’t for me, but I went to check it out. The usual highly processed, carbohydrate- laden fare. Nothing nutritious. At least they had REAL butter….
This is what I had instead:
The thing that helps me the most while traveling to stay on a REAL food diet is to search out the local health food store wherever I am. Most places have a Whole Foods these days. Santa Cruz has Staff of Life, which is amazing, and New Leaf Community Market. Both places have a salad bar and a hot bar. We often stop at these type of places for meals. It’s cheaper than eating at a restaurant every time, and lots of organic options.
We did eat out while in Santa Cruz. I did a bit of research found some places that served organic, unprocessed, local foods. Santa Cruz is pretty progressive that way.
A friend recommended a place called BURGER. A higher end burger place serving grass-fed beef and wholesome, local ingredients. They have an eclectic burger menu, and the paper products and utensils were all made from 100% recycled materials. I had a lettuce-wrapped burger with sweet potato fries…and a glass of white wine….. not the healthiest meal on the journey, but it was delicious and good quality. It’s nice to get grass-fed beef in a restaurant.
We also ate at a place called CHOCOLATE in downtown Santa Cruz that touted organic fare. Not a lot of gluten-free options, but the food was tasty. I had the free-range chicken soup with an organic baby greens salad. Alexei had the chicken pot pie (not GF). It looked yummy.
The best place that we ate in Santa Cruz is a place called Conscious Creations, a sweet little cafe serving organic and local foods. The vibe was relaxing, the food was amazing, and the owner, Josh, was super friendly. The menu was an eclectic mix of soups, salads, wraps, quesadillas, and tacos. Seemed like Josh changes the menu frequently in order to keep the ingredients exclusively local and organically grown. Superfood smoothies, juices, coffee drinks, and some artisan treats also graced the menu. I had the pork tacos, loaded with shredded veggies and an amazing tzatziki sauce. They were so good, I had 2 orders. Alexei had a breakfast wrap with greens, pesto, and eggs. We were very happy and satisfied. Great flavor, beautiful presentation, and super healthy. A true gem in Santa Cruz. Be sure to stop by if you are in the area.
One last meal to show you. I had the pleasure of visiting my dear friend, Carey, and her daughter, Trinity, while down in Santa Cruz. We got to visit their sweet little home with amazing gardens, fruit trees, and chickens. We made home-cooked meal together that made me very happy. Local, grass-fed steak (biggest steak I have ever cooked), collards and chard from her garden, shiitake mushrooms and asparagus, and some of the best kraut I have tasted (with caraway seeds.) Thanks, ladies, for the hospitality. Not the best photos but trust me, IT WAS GOOD…….
We had a great trip. It was good to get away for a few days. It took a little planning, but we avoided eating any “junk” while on the road. So next time you decide to take a little journey, remember:
- Plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks to pack along (you can even check in a cooler under the plane)
- Search out the local health food store, and visit their salad and hot bars (usually healthier AND less expensive than restaurants)
- Do a little research and locate restaurants that serve local and organic foods (The internet makes it super easy. I do love my iPhone for this reason)