When you eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, some things are just plain hard to do. Traveling to the Midwest is one of them.
My husband and I recently attended a funeral in Wisconsin. I grew up there. I love the state. However, when it comes to food, the people of Wisconsin seem to really love things that are: fried, covered in cheese, high in sodium and fat, and sometimes all of those things at once. The ubiquitous fish fry is no longer reserved solely for Fridays. Yet, even in such a place, eating a mostly whole-food plant-based diet is possible, without too much extra effort.
For dinner the night we traveled, we ate homemade sandwiches and fruit we had packed along. Our two breakfasts there were simple. We packed oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit and supplemented that with fresh fruit that our Airbnb host offered.
The problem is you can only pack so much food, especially when flying. Not having access to a kitchen (which we didn’t once we left our lodging after breakfast each day) can make it more difficult.
For lunch we decided to eat at a grocery store. As a bonus to the WholeBlue eating course, I offer 15 meals you can eat at a grocery store. Here’s one of the options that we chose. The store had a pleasant eating area and offered use of a microwave. We purchased two frozen, plant-based meals then cooked and ate them along with some fresh, ready-to-eat vegetables from the produce section.
Our biggest challenge came the night of the funeral dinner, a “buy your own” meal option at a local bar. The focus at this place was really on the drinks, but we were hungry. At first we thought we would have to compromise. The salad was just iceberg lettuce covered with cheese and fried croutons so we knew that wasn’t a good option. Everything else was either animal-based, or fried, or both.
Just when we thought we’d have to go somewhere else to eat, and miss the company of our friends and relatives, my husband noticed the vegetable pizza on the menu. We ordered it without cheese and to our delight had a very tasty, healthy dinner.
Next time you need to travel, take some time to figure out where you’ll be for meals, then come up with some ideas in advance about what you can eat. Look up vegan-friendly restaurants or grocery stores you can visit with friends. Bring as much food as you can to supplement your need to go out. For those times when you can’t avoid eating less than healthy, try sticking to yellow-light foods as much as possible or speak to the chef in advance about how they can accommodate you, when dining out.
Please make a comment here on ways that you found to eat healthily when you’re not at home, and let’s get stronger together.