This past spring I traveled to Hawaii with my family. It was our first vacation as a family of 4! I’m often asked how I manage my diet and lifestyle choices while traveling. The answer is: it’s easier than you think!
You might be heading on a summer vacation soon too or planning a fall trip, so I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for eating plant based while on vacation and away. With a little foresight and planning, it’s totally do-able and can be fun and adventurous!
TIP #1: PREP BEFORE YOU GO
Before you travel, many places (particularly large hotels and resorts) have their menus listed online! Before I travel somewhere, I’ll always take a few minutes to scout out the dining options. You never know, sometimes the “steakhouse” is the one that actually has the best plant-based options (never under estimate the power of making a meal out of some amazing sides!)! Some restaurants also offer, ‘spa’ menus that have many vegan and gluten free selections. (Where we stayed had one, but I didn’t find out until our trip was almost over. Luckily, their regular menus had plenty of plant based options to choose from, like this grilled veggie & hummus platter!)
TIP #2: ASK
Most restaurants are happy to accommodate your dietary needs but you need to ASK. I made some minor adjustments to dishes on the menu and I will show you how!
For example, I find veggie burgers are often a little boring. Or maybe you are gluten free and they have no GF rolls. One easy modification is to request it over a salad. Most places have a simple green salad, and have no problem letting you order your burger this way! (Here is my slightly altered veggie burger. Topping it with avocado was my idea!)
TIP #3: EAT LOCAL
One thing I love about traveling is eating local produce and experiencing how others cook differently. It’s so inventive, creative and tasty! (It also inspires me and gives me great ideas for future recipes!) 🙂
Depending on where you’re visiting, there may be tropical fruit, pasta, rice & beans, local greens, grains or veggies to try!
I love that even in places I don’t associate with plant based living (Jersey Shore?) more and more places have plant based options on their menus now, too! I just had an excellent acai bowl and a few good smoothies down the Shore at a place I spotted. So just keeping your eyes open leads me to Tip #4!
TIP #4: ENJOY THE ADVENTURE (and surprise!)
We arrived late, hungry and tired and the lounge / bar area was the best bet for a bite, especially with the kiddos in tow. What’s a healthy plant based eater to do!? Well first, have a look at the menu! 🙂
Here’s what I ordered…. straight off the menu, no modifications needed! A gorgeous salad (not pictured) with this delicious veggie sushi roll. In fact it was SO good I ordered it another time on the trip since I enjoyed it so much!
Lesson here: just look. SO many restaurants and hotels are realizing the benefit of a plant based diet and offering more vegan dishes on their menus.
It’s really no surprise. The fact that a plant based diet is not just better for YOU (lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer!), but it’s also better for the environment and this precious world we live in (fewer greenhouse gas emissions, less water and petroleum used, no antibiotics, no sewage waste). And as this meal shows, just as tasty and creative as the alternative!
TIP #5: STOCK UP!
To wrap up (pun intended with this pic, lol!).
We ALWAYS stop at the market while on vacation. Especially with 2 small kids in tow, it’s so helpful to have snacks and meals ready to go in the hotel room! I love to stock up for the week to fill in the gaps, get healthy snacks, easy breakfasts and more. For this trip, there was a Whole Foods on the way to our resort so we got a bunch of fresh fruit, fresh veggies, hummus, avocados, vegan cheese and nuts.
It feels a little silly to bring food with you to someplace that has room service and restaurants, but trust me, it’s worth the extra effort!
(Note: this is, in fact, their wrap that they were able to modify into a veggie wrap. I know I brought a lot of food, but I didn’t pack my own grill! You have to draw the line somewhere!)
So, as you can see, eating plant based or a whole foods diet on vacation is actually not just possible but DELICIOUS! Just like at home, you VOTE with your dollars. If people continue to stop buying unhealthy processed food or harmful, factory-farmed meat (side note, if you do eat meat please opt for grass fed and pasture raised!) companies have no choice but to listen and change their ways. You can see it happening all over. Restaurants, hotels and even grocery stores are LISTENING! Eat what you want and know will be the healthier choice for you and the planet (and is more often than not a truly yummy pick too!).
Enjoy the rest of your summer! Safe travels if you are going on a trip and enjoy the healthy and nourishing food this gorgeous planet has to offer!