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Eating Healthy on Vacation

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Eat Healthy on Vacation!

My family loves to travel. Occasionally, my very random and spontaneous husband will say, “Hey! Let's go on a trip!” And his planner-addicted wife will say, “Okay, like next year?” And my husband will say, “How about right now?”

This is a true story, and it's happened more than once. Recently I found myself driving across the country with four kids, one husband, two hastily packed suitcases, and one giant german shepherd stuffed into our car with two hours' notice.

I am not very spontaneous or adventurous, but my husband makes life enjoyable so I've learned to go with the flow. I hate to admit it, but my second thought after his announcement was not about how much fun we would have, or how blessed I was to get to take an unexpected trip, but “What are we going to eat?” (My first thought was along the lines of “Huh? What? Is he serious?”). I knew I would have zero time to prepare and pack food, so I would have to make good food choices on the road.

Since I lost thirty pounds on Trim Healthy Mama, and I don't want them back, I didn't really want to go nuts eating out a lot on vacation. We also had to consider my daughter's Celiac disease and watch out not only for food ingredients, but for cross-contamination.

Over the past year of Trim Healthy Mama I've learned that eating out is more complicated than eating at home. For that reason, please know that these meals may not be 100% on plan. There may be “off” ingredients, and for a few items the carb or fat counts are edging into crossover territory. But remember that crossovers are still on plan! They don't promote weight loss, but you can still eat them without guilt!

I'd also like to point out that this is a vacation. Va-ca-tion. I don't want to stress my family or myself by freaking out about everything I eat. I don't want to turn up my nose at the hospitality and generosity offered by family and friends that we stay with. So my goal, for this trip, was to maintain my current weight, enjoy life, and eat healthy whenever possible. The good news is, after eating every meal out, I had lost 1 pound when I got home! Pretty great! At the very least, maybe I can give you some ideas for eating out!

Here is what I ate:

Day 1: Chik-Fil-A breakfast burrito with grilled chicken , discard the tortilla (if you are GF of course you can't just take the tortilla off, but you could ask them to dump the burrito contents into a bowl). (S)

Lunch: Wendy's half size asian chicken salad (no dressing), plus one plain cheeseburger with no bun (S)

Dinner: Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar (S)

Breakfast: Quest bar (S) – I bought a bunch of these at GNC. They're a frankenfood, and not meant to be eaten too often, but they work for a road trip!

Lunch: In-N-Out protein-style double double (S)

Dinner: California Pizza Kitchen : half-size Italian salad with no garbanzo beans, two slices of my husband's pizza (I only ate the toppings and gave the pizza/bread part to the baby). Kids ate gf pizza. (S)

Breakfast: California Omelet at a diner (S)

Lunch: Wahoo's Fish Tacos: steak salad with added bonzai veggies (S)

Dinner: Chipotle: I see lots of THMs online who eat “E” meals at Chipotle. However, according to Chipotle's nutrition calculator, there is too much fat in their rice and beans to safely eat an “E” meal. That means that if you are trying for an “E”, you get a crossover instead. There are also sugars in some of their meats (probably due to the marinade). Someone on the THM Facebook page very nicely pointed out that the nutrition calculator on Chipotle.com shows a low carb count for all of the meats, so you may want to check there before you go to Chipotle. If you are trying to lose weight, your safest meal in my opinion is a burrito bowl with lettuce, fajita veggies, chicken or carnitas (the lowest carb meats), cheese, and sour cream. This is an (S).

Breakfast: only sugar cereal available, so I ate a Quest bar (S)

Lunch: Restaurant with potato bar. Sweet potato with a tiny bit of butter and some sliced white roasted turkey (E)

Dinner: Chik-Fil-A Cobb salad with grilled chicken and no dressing (S)

Breakfast: Eggs and bacon at a diner (S)

Lunch: Panera Bread Cobb Salad (S)

Dinner: Outback Steakhouse : Outback Special: steak, green beans, and salad (I suspect that there is sugar in the green beans, so to be extra careful I could have gotten steamed veggies, but I didn't think of it til after I ate them. This is a meal that I would call good enough…especially since I skipped the bread and croutons!) (S)

For snacks, I ate pork rinds (which I wasn't really a fan of), strawberries, Quest bars, nuts, cheese sticks. I also bought a ton of these THM-friendly drinks to keep me from drinking soda.

*Disclaimer: All restaurant icons and logos belong to the restaurants and do not belong to me.

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  1. Great job!!!

    My favorite eat out meal is-
    Burger King’s double whopper with cheese-heavy lettuce & tomato, light mayo & ketchup. Remove the bun and flip the bottom patty on top and cut it in 8th like a pie! Eat it with a fork. If I’m really hungry I also get a side salad, The ketchup may have a bit of sugar, but like you said…in a pinch. 🙂

    We also LOVE Cracker Barrel as they have a TON of different options. We have even gone twice in one day, because it’s the best option. Grilled tenderloins, Trout, Turkey sausage & Turkey bacon, eggs and even 2 piece of sourdough french toast (once in a while) as it’s probably not fermented long enough, 🙂

    1. Those are great ideas! I don’t live near a Cracker Barrel but now you have me craving it. 🙂 That sounds really yummy.

  2. Quick question: why did you omit dressing on your salads? Wouldn’t they still be an S with dressing?

    1. I’m sorry if I didn’t explain that well enough! The restaurant dressings are often way too high in carbs to work in an S meal. So for an S, if olive oil and vinegar is available I’ll go with that with some salt and pepper. You can always check the ingredients to see if something will work, or just go ahead and eat the dressing and count it as a crossover. 🙂

    1. Yes! Just enter your email address on the sidebar to the left. You’ll have to confirm your email address and then you’ll get a free copy. 🙂

  3. From one mom of many to another…How in the world could you have 4 kids in the car in 2 hours to go on a trip??? I’m assuming (from your meal plans) that you ate out each meal, so no meal planning was required, and you probably didn’t camp?

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