Tag Archives: travel

7 Tips for Eating Healthy on Vacation

7 Tips for Eating Healthy on Vacation | AmandaNaturally.comOkay, so you’ve survived travel day, and now you’re at your destination! Time to have fun! Definitely not time for curling up in a ball of pain on the couch of your hotel room for 24 hours. So how do you make sure to stick with food that you know works for you? Well it’s a combination of planning ahead (see previous post on this topic), being creative and staying open-minded! In part 2 of my vacation series I sum up 7 Tips for Eating Healthy on Vacation!

Tip #1: Find a Kitchen!

Book an apartment, condo or use AirBnB to make sure you have access to a kitchen. At the very least, get a hotel room with a mini fridge and a microwave. Making your own breakfasts is the best way to guarantee you start your day off with a nutrient-dense, filling breakfast. I find breakfast restaurants are the easiest to get “bombed” at because of how pervasive bread and milk are…toast, pancakes, home fries, yogurt, butter….it’s almost impossible to avoid! I try to eat an epic breakfast, that way if I don’t have a lot of options for lunch, a simple salad and meat will tide me over until dinner.   




 Tip #2: Locate Grocery Stores

Do some research ahead of time and locate a grocery store near by. If you don’t do this, then hit up the first store you see. Two summers ago we went to Newfoundland (for our honeymoon!) and thank goodness we stalked up at the first grocery store we saw. We almost skipped it, thinking there would be one closer to where we were staying, but there wasn’t. 

Tip #3: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

If you’re in a location that has a Whole Foods or organic grocery, or is known for organic/farm-to-table cooking, that’s awesome! If not, don’t stress. When I’m at home I purchase only pastured/grass-fed meat, organic eggs, organic Dirty Dozen veggies etc. But when I’m away, I seek out real food to the best of my capabilities. I have a few non-negotiables: gluten, dairy and legumes, but I don’t worry excessively about crappy seed oils, non-organic meat and gluten-free grains. I try not to overdo it on seed oils, because I notice it in my joints when I do, but having a few fries on the side of a bun-less burger and salad, isn’t going to kill me!  




Tip #4: Don’t be Picky and Eat a Lot When It’s Safe!

I will eat a bun-less burger once or twice a day when I’m on vacation. Why? It’s easy to find, you can top it with lots of veggies and it’s hard to accidentally sneak in gluten or dairy. You can’t be picky about eating the same things a few times over when you’re on vacation. Take advantage of the food that is safe for you and eat it all! On that note, don’t be afraid to play around with the volume of food you normally have. A typical breakfast for me at home is 2 eggs on veggies, maybe with some avocado or a few slices of bacon. On vacation I try to eat a huge breakfast hash with sweet potatoes and veggies, cooked in lots of fat, with eggs, bacon and a latte. I could go 6 or 7 hours before eating again.

Tip #5: Research Restaurants

Hop on the Google and locate restaurants that say they can accommodate gluten-free diets. Not sure where to start? Try Yelp, Tripadvisor, Chowhound, Message Boards and Facebook Groups. Restaurants that focus on farm-to-table and seasonal menus usually have no problem accommodating. Especially in Canada, where local and seasonal almost always eschews grains and legumes. Real food is made on the spot, so it shouldn’t be hard to swap out butter for olive oil. Most restaurants have their menus posted online, so check it out before booking a reso. Still not sure if it’s a safe option? Give them a call and see how they respond to your requests! If you don’t feel confident in their handling  your food sensitivities, don’t go.  

Tip #6: Anticipate Language Barriers

I was just in Quebec City, and while it is still in Canada, Quebec City is much more French speaking than Montreal (in my experience!). And although I have an okay level of basic french, I did not want to test drive my translation skills with all of my food sensitivities! Instead, I found an awesome website called Broker Fish which translates some common food allergies into 6 different languages. I’m sure there are others with more foods and more languages – do some digging! I printed off the French translation for gluten and dairy allergies and kept it in my wallet at all times. I also saved a copy to my phone, so I would always have it! Luckily, every restaurant we went to totally understood my gluten and dairy allergies, and was more than happy to accommodate!

Allergy Dairy French Allergy Gluten French

Tip #7: Be Smart About Splurges 

Enjoying a pure maple syrup lollipop at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City. The temperature that day was -25C with the windchill!
Enjoying a pure maple syrup lollipop at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City. The temperature that day was -25C with the windchill!

I know how tempting it is when you’re on vacation to dabble in less than ideal foods. Heck, I do it as well! But I strongly recommend limiting how much and how often you dabble. The last thing you want is to get sick, have a digestive nightmare or a disease flare up. Try to stick with the most ideal foods possible for you 90-95% of the time, and be purposeful about the splurges you do enjoy. For example, we were in Quebec for almost 4 days and this is where I splurged: 

  • A small cider every afternoon at the end of a long day
  • A pure maple syrup lollipop at the Ice Hotel
  • A few fries off my families plates at lunches
  • A piece of gluten-free bread at a restaurant (they knew about our dairy allergy, so I trusted that it was dairy free)
  • A small serving of my own fries, beside my bun-less burger on our last day (because I knew if the large influx of omega-6 fats resulted in achey joints the next day, at least it was just a travel day home!)
  • A glass of wine or 2 with dinner
  • A few gluten-free crackers and 100% corn tortilla chips during Superbowl

Note: while I made these splurges purposefully, it was not without side effects. Upon my return home I embarked on an epic anti-inflammatory and gut-healing protocol, focused around eating as much broth and gelatin as possible!

Summary of how I ate on a Recent Trip to Quebec City:

I had a lot of questions about what exactly I did when I was on vacation, so here is a break down of exactly how a professional nutritionist, with a ton of food sensitivities, eats when away!


5:30am – epic breakfast of bacon, eggs and plantain biscuits

11:00am – snack on the plane of cashew/pecan butter and jerky

2:30pm – lunch at Le Chic Shack in Old Quebec. Enjoyed a bun-less burger topped with bacon, and snagged a few fries from my husband. (These guys were awesome. They state on their menu that they can accommodate gluten-free and vegetarian. They went over and above for us!)

6:00pm – dinner at Lapin Saute in Old Quebec. While I desperately wanted to enjoy some rabbit (since that was the name of the restaurant!) all of the rabbit and rabbit liver recipes used milk or gluten. Again, the staff was incredibly helpful and made sure we were more than accommodated – they even brought us out gluten-free bread! I ended up getting a green salad to start, followed by an incredible pork belly and seared scallops dish.  





9:00am – home cooked breakfast in our apartment. I par-boiled sweet potatoes and prepped veggies for all 3 days to save time the rest of the weekend. Created a breakfast hash with cooked sweet potatoes, onion, mushroom and broccoli. Topped with 2 fried eggs and served with bacon. Also enjoyed home brewed coffee with coconut milk that I brought.

1:00pm – maple syrup on a stick! At the Ice Hotel they had a maple sugar shack where they pour thick maple syrup on fresh snow to cool, and you roll it up on a popsicle stick. It’s incredible!

2:00pm – baked salmon, white rice and veggies. Decided to take care of my belly after all the sugar! 




8:00pm – my mom’s 60th Birthday Dinner at Legends in Old Quebec. This was an incredible restaurant, and again, they were beyond accommodating for us! We ordered a charcuterie platter to share, which was replete with organic sausages, locally cured meats and pate. We could eat everything but the butter-laden pate (darn!). I followed this up with a beautifully cooked beef dish, sliced and served on top of lightly sauteed spinach, white pea puree and topped with bone marrow. The original dish called for an aged cheddar mashed potato, but the server suggested mashed rutabaga instead. I told him any alternative was fine! The chef determined that rutabaga did not compliment the meal properly, so created the white pea puree instead. Like I said – they were incredibly accommodating! 





8:30am – same brekky as yesterday

2:00pm – hit up Le Project, a bar my brother was interested in visiting, because they are known for having a variety of interesting, local craft brews available. Not a ton of options for us there, so I went with an old standby – bun-less burger with bacon! This time it was served with a salad and a small portion of fries. The staff had never had such a ridiculous request for a burger, sans pain (no bread!), but they were awesome about accommodating us. 

6:00pm – pre-superbowl snacks. My brother made a homemade salsa, which my family enjoyed with some tortilla chips, and I had with some gluten-free crackers (chestnut and rice flour based). I ended up having a few small handfuls of corn chips as well – probably not ideal, but alas, I did it anyway! Also had a new cider I found at the SAQ.




 7:00pm – homemade dinner. My mom and I hit up a local farmers market that morning and bought some organic pork sausages and fresh veggies. The market was a little scant – I got the sense that it would be awesome in the summer, because it looked like a lot of vendors weren’t there. Also, there were very few fresh veggies – the only ones available were ones that keep well in a cold cellar! So we boiled up some potatoes, sautéed up some leeks and sliced some hot house tomatoes. It worked great!


9:00am – due to a massive snowstorm in Toronto, we were anticipating some delays on our flight home. So to fuel up, we made the rest of the hash and threw in leftovers from last night! Sauteed leeks and the remaining sausage jacked it up a notch for sure! Topped with 3 eggs and enjoyed with a coffee.

Snacks – I brought the remaining jerky, 2 packs of nut butter, a bag of dried mango, 2 cans of sardines and 2 cans of tuna on the plane. But I was so full from breakfast, I didn’t eat any. I also think I was paying a little bit for the corn chips last night, because my digestion seemed to have slowed down…regardless. I was good til we got home!


Well there you have it folks. How I tackle vacations to make sure I feel my best and can therefore enjoy it to the fullest!

So tell me, what do you do on vacation? Do you have any tricks? Or are you a little more laid back? Share in the comments below!

Eating Healthy While Travelling Part 1: Preparation

Eating Healthy While Travelling | www.AmandaNaturally.comEven with my 5+ years of experience living a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle (I’ve since added some foods to that list, but that’s what I started with), I occasionally still get what I call “dairy-bombed” or “gluten-bombed”. I really do everything in my power to avoid dairy (my worst allergy) because a tiny exposure results in at least 24 hours of extreme pain, followed by 1-2 weeks of slow gut recovery. And since gluten actively causes leaky gut, I avoid it pretty strictly as well, although I don’t have to be as extreme as some people who can’t share a surface though, so I count myself lucky!

The riskiest endeavours are parties, restaurants (especially with a language barrier) and travelling, with travelling taking the cake for most high-risk activity! 

First there’s the airport. A real food deadzone, in which you are guaranteed to spend a minimum of 2 hours in before your flight. Surrounded by crap on crap on crap. Very little options, other than a salad or a piece of fruit if you’re lucky.

Then comes the actual flight itself. I don’t even think the stuff they serve you counts as food. As a kid I didn’t even like it – but back then I usually filled up on Smartfood and Mars bars! Depending on the length of the flight, you can be served multiple “meals” of garbage, moulded into food-like shapes. 

Upon arrival to your destination, any number of hours later, you might be faced with a language barrier as well. 

Yowza. Talk about risky!

This past weekend my whole family went to Quebec City to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday, and while it was only a 90 minute flight, the travel portion of the day was a good 5-6 hours. So I decided to share exactly what I did to keep my body healthy on this trip! (spoiler alert: I wasn’t perfect, I did have something go wrong, but I was mostly successful. Heck I’m only human!).

Ok so first and foremost. You have to plan ahead. This is seriously a case of:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

If you arrive at the airport hungry, because you haven’t eaten yet that day, you’re going to end up filling your body with at best, nutrient-poor, inflammatory foods that hopefully don’t contain one of your food triggers. At worst? A full on dairy-bombing (my worst offender).

Rule Number 1: Fuel Up Before You Leave Home

I cannot stress this enough. Have a HUGE meal before you leave your home. Make sure it’s high fat and at least a moderate amount of protein. This will sustain you for hours! We had to leave our house at 6am on Friday, so I set the alarm for 5am, to make sure we would have enough time to eat. A huge breakfast of bacon, bacon-fried eggs and plantain buns, plus lots of coconut milk in my coffee made sure I wasn’t hungry again for at least 6 hours.  


Rule Number 2: Pack Snacks

If I was going on a longer flight, I would have packed more meal-like food in a lunch bag, but since we were just hopping over to the next province, I packed non-perishable snacks such as a few packs of Artisana’s individually portioned nut butters and a bag of my homemade Beef Jerky. Additionally, I threw in an apple and some chopped veggies, as well as a can of sardines if I needed it (although this was a last resort, since I didn’t want to be that person on the flight!).


Rule Number 3: Over Pack Food

It’s winter in Canada right now. There is a very likely chance that your flight may be delayed, or you may end up in another city due to weather conditions, which leaves you stranded and desperate for food. We ate about half of the food in my bag, which I considered a win! I would have been able to sustain us for another 5 or so hours on what I had left!

Eating Healthy While Travelling | www.AmandaNaturally.com

Rule Number 4: Bring an Empty Water Bottle

You know how the flight attendants give you that teeny glass of water that one time on the flight? Advocate for yourself! Bring an empty bottle and ask them to FILL IT UP! I do it all the time! Staying hydrated is key for reducing your risk of airplane-born illnesses. Why? Flying is incredibly dehydrating. The humidity in the airplane cabin is significantly lower than our ideal range, which causes moisture to seep out of our bodies in a futile effort to establish an equilibrium between the two environments. When our mucous membranes dry out, we lose one of our primary barriers against air-borne pathogens. Add a sick traveller who’s hacking up a storm a few seats behind you and you are seriously at risk!

Rule Number 5: Pack Extra Food In Your Checked Luggage

In my checked luggage I packed a whole lot of other food as well. Extra cans of sardines and tuna (in olive oil of course! Watch out for those nasty other oils like soybean or canola.), more nut butter packets, dates, dried mango, cans of coconut milk and a can opener, to be exact! We rented a condo with a kitchen and were fairly close to a grocery store, so we made a trip when we got settled in, to stock up on real food (more on that in my next post). If I didn’t have this  option, I would also pack the following:

  • Larabars
  • Coconut Butter
  • Raw nuts & seeds
  • Protein Powder
  • A personal size blender, or shaker cup
  • Coconut oil and/or olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Inka Plantain Chips (found only at Dollarama here in Ontario!)
  • Kale Chips
  • A small cutting board and paring knife (obviously in your checked luggage)

Moral of the story is don’t let yourself become a victim of circumstance. Plan ahead and you’ll be fine!

Okay so it was my intention to sum up everything into one post, but at this rate I’ll be up all night writing this! So this has now become a Preparing for Travel post. Check out my second post: 7 Tips for Eating Healthy on Vacation, where I discuss what to do when you arrive at your destination! 

Eating Healthy While Travelling | www.AmandaNaturally.com

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