BE FOOD-CENTRIC ON SNOWY WINTER ESCAPES, SUN DRENCHED GETAWAYS & EVERYWHERE ELSE YOUR TRAVELS TAKE YOU
It probably comes as no surprise that I recommend healthy food be given lots of attention when traveling, especially now. In the current landscape, it's as important as it's ever been to be vigilant about our nutrition whether we're at home or away. More often than not, I hear vacations described as a time for overindulgence, making them feel more like a setback than a reset. Travel is meant to be an escape, a time to reconnect and an opportunity for inspiration and growth...so how can we reframe? I talked recently about the different elements that I try to work into our travel itineraries, but today I want to talk specifically about the healthy food component.
In my normal routine at home, energizing food is the foundation that I build my days upon. It's no different when I travel. I can be active and soak in the destination all I want when I've fueled my body with clean energy first. Unfamiliar places present the perfect opportunity to expand your food vocabulary, but they can also pose a threat to your energy if you're too passive. Plan your healthy meals in advance and aim for 80% of the time. This will spare you from scrambling for an unplanned, probably unhealthy bite in the moment. I take a little time to research the destination, looking primarily to travel blogs and friend referrals for guidance. I try to work in a healthy balance of casual and formal dining, meals in the room (if that's an option) and on-the-go bites. If you don't have access to a fridge in your room, you can still check out local grocery stores or farmers markets for shelf-stable options like fruit, drinks, bars and other snacks. The hotel concierge will obviously be helpful in providing ideas for fun meals, but also ask locals. You'll always get the most authentic info from them. Some of these may be carryout or delivery only at the moment, and that can be just as amazing.
Once I compile my list, I map out a tentative schedule for the trip. This will help create a framework. If you're traveling at the moment, there will be limitations, but try to get out where you can and make ordering in an experience as well. On our last trip to Kauai, the bellman at our hotel suggested we grab sushi burritos after a long hike at this tiny window on the side of the road. We never would've even known the place existed, it was in such an obscure location. That lunch was truly one of the best casual meals we've ever had. On that same vacation, we knew we wanted poké bowls for lunch at this market recommended by friends of ours who live on the island. That helped us determine which beach to hit that day based on where the market was located. Allowing food to navigate will draw you to new places and create unique experiences.
The food experience comprises more of my travel memories than any other component of my past trips. Much of the food I prepare at home today has been inspired by places I've been and meals I've had while away. Take photos of your food, ask for recipes from the chef, jot down notes in your phone to remember things you've sampled and loved. See if you can recreate meals and adopt other cultures' food practices back home. When in France, I fell in love with the experience of having an aperitif in a separate location from where our dinner meal would be. We would chat outside on the portico or lounge around a coffee table for an hour snacking on marcona almonds, fruit and vegetable crudités with dips from the local farmers' market. Those moments were some of my favorites as we would simply chat about the day's events, sip chilled rosé and enjoy a few light bites to prepare our bodies for the main course (a far cry from the shameful American happy hour laden with heavy, fried food). I've carried the European-style practice home with me and try to work it into our food lifestyle as often as I can. I'm currently missing the rosé, but lavender kombucha in a wine glass isn't so tragic. Aperitifs in our sitting room on a Sunday afternoon always brings me back to summer in Aix en Provence.
As some of you are traveling to escape the cold, play in the cold or just visit with family, I hope you're able to use these tips to "health-ify" your trip some. For those of you wanderlusting until it feels a bit safer, pocket this one for later.