I am happy to welcome Guest Blogger – Alea from Premeditated Leftovers. I hope you enjoy the great tips and fabulous recipes she shares with us today for LOVA on the Go Series.
On one of our cross-country trips, we arrived to our destination late and were faced with more delays when got there. We were all tired, grumpy, and exasperated. My husband asked me, “What do you want to do?” I answered through gritted teeth, “All I want to do is feed my kids a nutritious meal”. My husband reminds me of those words every single time we travel! Sometimes I find his teasing amusing, occasionally I find it annoying, but a decade later those words are still true: I want to feed my family healthy food while we are traveling.
One of the ways I “feed my kids a nutritious meal” on the road is by preparing some of the meals myself in our hotel room. This requires a little bit of advance planning, but is actually not that difficult. It is healthier than eating fast food and can be more relaxing than going to a “sit down and wait” restaurant.
- Ask for a room with a refrigerator and microwave when you reserve your hotel room. You can create an amazing number of meals with a microwave and mini-fridge and you will more than make up for any additional charge by reducing the number of times you have to eat out.
- Plan which meals you will “eat in” into your schedule. Will you be eating most of your meals in your hotel? Only eating breakfast and dinner in? Research restaurants in the area that serve healthy dishes for those times when you want to treat yourselves.
- Google grocery stores near your destination, so you know where to do your grocery shopping. If we are traveling by car, I pack some non-perishables from home reducing the amount of shopping I must do when we arrive.
- If possible, pack a few essential cooking utensils: large lidded bowl, can-opener, knife, adjustable measuring spoon, Pyrex measuring cup, and wooden spoon. I do this even when we are staying someplace with a real kitchen, however, meals can be prepared without any of the above items. An ice-bucket makes a great salad bowl, coffee cups double as soup bowls, and hotel employees are usually willing to loan you items like a can-opener.
- Take advantage of shortcuts, buy smaller size packages, and don’t be afraid to make substitutions. Buy pre-cut veggies and diced veggies to reduce prep time. Buy the smallest amount possible to minimize waste. I also make healthy substitutions when on travel: instead of using dressing on a salad, I might top it with salsa which also doubles as a dip for chips and veggies.
Healthy Meals to Prepare While on Travel
Healthy Breakfast Ideas on the Road: Oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruit are delicious components of a simple breakfast. I like to make my own oatmeal packets before we leave.
Homemade Cinnamon and Spice Oatmeal Packet
Combine all ingredients in a snack size baggie. To serve, combine with boiling water until it reaches desired consistency. A couple tablespoons of chopped nuts make and a good addition and if you have access to a can opener, 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin makes a delicious addition!
Even though I like to keep it simple, my husband occasionally likes complicating things. On our last trip he brought a waffle iron and made us waffles on our first morning. Then he froze the leftovers, so all the kids had to do was heat up waffles in the microwave for breakfast while we slept in.
Easy Lunch Recipes to Make While Traveling: I always make sure I have the items necessary to make sandwiches on hand for picnics, but I occasionally get fancy and make wraps or quesadillas if we have stopped by our hotel for lunch.
Easy Asian Wraps
Heat the tortillas for 20 – 30 seconds in the microwave to make them more flexible. In a small bowl, combine the dressing and yogurt. Spread the dressing on the tortillas, spoon the Asian Chicken Salad on to the tortillas and wrap.
Easy Veggie Quesadillas
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup finely diced veggies
1/4 cup salsa
Place a tortilla on a plate. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the tortilla, then sprinkle half the veggies on the cheese, then pour half of the salsa on the veggies. Top with a tortilla and microwave for one minute or until cheese is melted. Repeat. Cut both quesadillas in half and serve with a salad or fresh fruit.
Simple Travel Snacks: If I have time before we leave on travel, I will bake a batch of cookies for our trip. Then when we want something sweet, we have something on hand and do not resort to packaged junk food. My husband has packed our ice-cream maker on a number of trips and made fresh ice-cream for the kids. But I am all about easy and lean towards simple snacks:
- Chips and salsa
- Cut veggies and hummus
- Fresh fruit
- Dried fruit
- Nuts and/or trail mix
Easy Dinner Recipes for When You “Eat In” While on Vacation: The first evening we arrive I make it really easy and serve Rotisserie Chicken and side dishes from the deli of the local grocery store. Then I can use the leftover chicken to make other items.
Asian Chicken Salad
16 ounce bag of shredded cabbage
1 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 pepper diced
1 cup leftover chicken, diced (optional)
almond slivers (optional)
~ 1 cup Asian salad dressing
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until thoroughly combined. The leftovers will keep well and can be used in a wrap (recipe above).
Other Dinner Ideas:
Combine your favorite salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add leftover chicken and/or a can of beans (drained). Serve it on a bed of broken tortilla chips and top with salsa.
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake 2 at a time for 8 – 10 minutes, flipping them over after half the time has elapsed. Moisten them with 1 – 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and then top with whatever you have on hand (cheese, leftover meat, leftover onions or peppers).
“Eating in” while traveling is not only healthy and frugal, but it can also be fun. I hate to admit this because someone might try to revoke my status as a foodie, but I even prepared some of my own meals while staying in France with my husband on our second honeymoon. We were staying in a hotel in Grasse and each morning we would walk down to the town center where I would buy what I needed from the local merchants. It was fun to live a bit like a local and it was magical eating dinner on the balcony of our hotel overlooking the valley.
How do you eat healthy while traveling?
Alea Milham shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home at Premeditated Leftovers. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less. Alea can be found on Pinterest and Facebook.