When Chris told me he was going to undertake a Whole30, I wanted to join in the fun. I eat pretty clean out of habit, but I have a wicked sweet tooth and figured this was a good way to stick to my guns and not sneak dark chocolate into my routine for a full month.
When Chris told me he was starting immediately and therefore doing his Whole30 for all of August, I was a little concerned because I had a week long work trip planned. If there’s one thing that holds people back from being successful during a Paleo challenge, it’s not being in their native environment. It’s easy to get off track when you’re eating on the road with coworkers. Without a kitchen it’s hard to plan meals, let alone cook them.
Despite these challenges I’m sticking to my guns and sharing my traveling Whole30 experience with you. Sure, it’s more difficult; but I’m here to prove that it’s still doable. Next time you have to grab your carry-on and hit the road, I hope some of my tips and tricks can help you not fall off the healthy eating wagon.
Whole30 Travel Preparation
My flight on Monday morning was early and three hours long, so on Sunday I prepped and packed some food to bring with me. While some people can rely on the airport to provide healthy snacks, I have both a limited per diem and a severe nut allergy. For these reasons I always bring my own food with me when I travel. This also allows me a lot more control for the Whole30 situation.
We had a version of sweet potato hash for brunch (a weekend staple in our house), and I confiscated the leftovers before Chris could eat them all. Seriously, he’s a hash eating machine.
Since our refrigerator is exploding with vegetables from our CSA and our garden, I whipped up some caponata and packed a container full. This is one of the most versatile, easy and delicious ways I know how to use up pretty much any kind of vegetable, and the results are reliably delicious.
As part of a quick Target run for a couple bathroom items, I grabbed a couple bananas. While these are abundant at most airports, they’re also usually $1 a piece.
When I got home I wrangled all my cold items so they were grouped together in the fridge - the hash, caponata, a sliced apple and some sliced cucumber. The banana went in my computer bag and since I was checking my carry-on I tucked a jar of organic Sunbutter in between my clothes.
The Whole30 Travel Day
Monday morning I grabbed all my food from the fridge, put it in a plastic bag (better safe than sorry!) and headed to the airport.
I’m going to give the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport some credit here. If you are ever passing through or traveling in or out of Terminal 1, go check out the G gate area. I was recently in Memphis and I can assure you that not all airports have this kind of scene happening.
In the G concourse they’ve really tried to offer some decent food options. If you’re willing to pay $1 per piece, there’s ample whole fruit. There’s a fresh-looking salad bar with lots of meat and veggies options, a hot food bar with eggs and sausage, a cold case with cut fruit and veggies, and a ton of nut-type bars, for you people who can actually eat those things.
So if you aren’t able to bring your own snacks, it’s possible that the airport can be a viable option for Whole30 food options.
I wasn’t really hungry until I got on the flight, so while my neighbor scarfed a crusty-looking, “mesquite turkey and cheddar on pretzel croissant” sandwich from a plastic bag for $6.50, I enjoyed my leftover sweet potato hash. It’s still amazing when it’s cold. I also downed my apple and cucumber slices while I read my book.
I made it to Seattle with a happy tummy and totally Whole30 compliant. Upon arrival I had about an hour of free time before I needed to rendezvous with the people I was meeting, and I knew we wouldn’t be stopping to eat for the rest of the day. So I found a park nearby and sat on a sunny bench to eat my caponata. I got a nice walk in to stretch my legs while I was at it.
After several hours of work I stopped by one of Seattle’s lovely local markets. This city is blessed with some awesome food offerings complete with an emphasis on local, organic and sustainable options. I picked up a kombucha, a half-chicken from the rotisserie as well as some organic spinach and cherry tomatoes.
Rather than drain my per diem on an entire bottle of olive oil, I grabbed some mustard to use as dressing. Go for real dressing if you like, but I love mustard and I’ll put it on most things. I figured it’d be fine unrefrigerated for a day or so and I could likely use it for something else later.
When I made it to my hotel room after a long day, I threw together what amounted to a lovely meal, all for about $12. The ingredients listed on the free-range, organic chicken? “Chicken, lemon, spices.” Good stuff.
To top if off, I had a banana with Sunbutter and felt quite content. Not only was I compliant all day, I didn’t go hungry and I ate really tasty food.
I’m chalking up day one of Whole30 travel as a success! I’ll be back later this week with updates and hopefully some more tips and tricks on how to make this whole Paleo thing work in the real world.
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