Traveling severely limits your eating options if you’re barring really popular ingredients from your diet. Sugar is the prom queen of the food pyramid: Everyone wants to invite it to the party. Except for me, the nerd in the corner eating carrots. The prom queen and I are not friends right now.
However, traveling the last couple days has forced me to be extremely creative, especially since I don’t have access to my own kitchen and my own ingredients. It’s been enlightening, actually, to realize that vacation doesn’t have to equal binge-eating crap food. I’ve been very satisfied with my meal choices during this trip, so I’m combining tips into a bulleted list (I’m obsessed with lists) of how to travel sugarless.
- Be “that guy.” When ordering at a restaurant, be open and honest with your server about your food restriction. Every server I interacted with on this trip was more than happy to accomodate my “sugar allergy,” and even double-checked with the kitchen before putting in my order to make sure my meal would be sugarless. Our server tonight said he told the kitchen staff that I had a “deathly sugar allergy” and I’d “die if I ingested it.” While it wasn’t completely true, it put a pretty humorous spin on this challenge. Bottom line: Even if it makes you feel like “that guy” to be picky about your food, know that a good server won’t see it that way. They’re more than happy to help you out.
- When in doubt, go green. I’ve defaulted to salad a lot, and the leafy greens haven’t disappointed. I try to order some sort of meat, usually chicken, on the side for protein. Look for mixed leaves, like arugula, spinach, and kale, instead of iceberg lettuce. For dressing, balsamic vinegar and olive oil will rock the face off any salad.
- Go deli. If you’re short on time, instead of grabbing fast food (yuck), go to a grocery store and hit up the deli section. Get some wheat crackers that are sugarless (it’s possible; I found rosemary Open Nature Wafer Thins), then get a bowl of antipasto. Mediterranean food and certain kinds of sushi are a safe bet, if you stay away from sauces. Which leads me to my next point …
- No sauces. Just don’t do it. Sauces will, guaranteed, have sugar. Plus they have a billion calories you could put toward something that’s actually filling. Believe me, no one hates this more than me … I’m a sauce fiend (I’ve been craving barbecue sauce since Day 1). But it’s really fun to enjoy the taste of dinner without drowning it in extra sugar.
- Grilled is good. Fried is bad. Grilled salmon and chicken usually won’t have sauce associated with them (this isn’t always the case, so be sure to double-check). The taste of your food will be more succulent, anyway, if it’s not covered in bread crumbs and deep-fried in butter.
- BYOB (Bring your own breakfast). Not only does this save money, but you’ll know exactly what’s in your food, too. I brought Kirkland Signature individual packs of dehydrated apples, strawberries, and bananas to snack on, and I had banana pear oatmeal cookies on hand for breakfast. A bag of mixed nuts is a great pick-me-up, too.
Anyway, those are a few highlights I’ve gleaned from this trip. Eating sugarless, at home or away, is definitely not impossible. It’s a challenge, but who’s not up for a little healthy challenge? 🙂
Day 17 Progress Report
Breakfast: Two banana pear oatmeal cookies, orange, black coffee.
Snack: Herbal tea.
Lunch: Antipasto delight, greek feta salad, Italian garlic mushrooms, garlic and pesto antipasto, rosemary wafer thins, spring rolls (from the Safeway deli).
Snack: Dehydrated strawberries and bananas. Herbal tea.
Dinner: Baked chicken with spices, side salad (with carrots, sunflower seeds, cucumber, and onion) with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (from The Lumberyard Grill).