I am a hockey mom through and through. Despite working full time (and related travel), being present for my older son as he strives to fulfill his dream -- of one day making it to the NHL -- is one of my priorities. So how does this relate to food? Well, having a son on a travel hockey team means lots of road trips whether it is our almost-two-hour trek to practice twice weekly or his intense game and tournament schedule that will include trips to a variety of locations on the east coast. And no matter where we are, we need to eat!
Accessing healthy food is central to my life (and my family's life) at home and on the road. So getting my "food bearings" before and during travel takes precedent. Munching on the fly is not in my comfort zone so typically I pack a cooler, find a local grocer at our destination with healthy choices (easier to find these days) or try to seek restaurants that have some measure of alignment with my clean eating philosophy (not so easy to come by, even today).
However, a couple of weeks ago, social media was abuzz with news of Sustainable Table's revamped Eat Well Guide. Very exciting as far as this hockey mom is concerned! Now there is a mobile guide that I can use to find restaurants, farms, markets and other sources of truly local sustainable food when traveling.
According to the website:
These days, it's hard to trust that the food you're eating was produced in a safe, humane and sustainable manner. We built the Eat Well Guide to make it easier to find good food and to support local farmers, restaurateurs and others who are doing their best by their customers, their workers and the planet. We personally vet every business that goes into the Guide, and we never charge or accept money in exchange for inclusion. The Guide's thousands of listings include restaurants, farms, farmers' markets, stores and more. Search by location and/or category, or check out our city guides to find tailored listings for restaurants and other sustainable vendors in cities across the U.S.
I must admit, while there are other guides that are seemingly helpful, there is nothing truly trustworthy in terms of authentic mission and integrity of standards until now. So thank you Sustainable Table for the Eat Well Guide! Now, I realize that this all may seem incredibly idealist to some, but let me offer this -- even small changes in food choice can make big differences. For example, driving a few extra miles to eat well is a great first step (or simply learning a little something from the Guide's incredible glossary of terms). So if you are out and about and feeling hungry, use Eat Well to do the right thing for your health and the environment.
Some other tips for making true nourishment a priority when on the road:
Planning is Key
If you are traveling, likely you have an itinerary. Make navigating nourishment part of this plan. Get to know the restaurants in your area (Eat Well will come in handy here). If you are staying in a hotel, request a fridge and either bring food with you or find a market nearby where you can buy the things you like from fruits and vegetables to hummus and yogurt. This will save you big money as eating out regularly can add up quickly.
Meals and Snacks
Gas stations and convenience stores may seem like the most convenient option to grab a nosh whether bananas or beef jerky but believe it or not, snacking it up can end up costing more than let's say a veggie burrito at Chipotle. Your best bet is to pack snacks like a trail mix and spend some dollars on real food.
Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
The most important thing you can do throughout your trip is to not stress about food imperfection. Always aim to do the best you can and realize that sometimes you just won't be able to eat well. And forgive yourself for that. Do not be an idealist shift to a realist. But do not let this be an excuse to all out binge on junk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Tune in to Stirring the Pot on WPPB 88.3 FM Thursdays at 5:30pm (with an encore Saturdays at 10:30am). This week it’s Our Forgotten Farmers in Rural New York and surely check out the Weekly Yum Recipe.