Thursday, July 07, 2011

Traveling Paleo: Eating Well On the Road

Does this photo look familiar? Have you ever ended up at the "breakfast buffet" of a hotel you're staying at, only to stare at rack after rack of empty bleached white carbs? Eating well on the road is not always easy, but it can be done with a little planning and healthy decision-making.

We recently spent a week near Disneyland since our daughter Asa was dancing in the mouse kingdom with her dance team. The team families all stayed together in one hotel, and this is essentially what the breakfast looked like. Let me tell you, this stuff was so bad that my teenaged son actually took one bite of a donut and left the rest of it on the plate. Usually he eats so much we have to stop him from actually eating the plate ala the Cookie Monster.

Ironically, there was a sign over the only one section with anything that I would touch for breakfast at all. It had exactly this: hard boiled eggs and fresh oranges. The sign said "Healthy". At least they knew what they were talking about! Too bad there weren't a few more options under "Healthy" (the sign appealingly suggested a variety of fruit that never materialized), and maybe they should've had a sign over everything else that said "Massively Unhealthy".

Luckily, we were only a block away from my favorite breakfast stop while visiting Disneyland (yes, I admit we've gone there often enough that I have a favorite restaurant): Mimi's Cafe. Though it's not the cheapest food in town, for a couple bucks more than the sludgy McNasty Meals down the street, you get real eggs, veggies, avocado, and fruit. Those of you who live in the southern half of the U.S. may already be familiar with Mimi's, but since there's none located in the northern half, I'd never been to one before arriving at Disney for the first time. Getting Paleo-friendly fare there is as simple as saying "I'll take an Avocado BLT omelette, please substitute fresh fruit for the muffin, potatoes, and juice. And for dinner, they had some nice "petite" sized meals (read: normal portions instead of overblown American portions), and I had an awesome little sirloin and salad that was delish.

Eating well on the road often boils down to being unafraid to ask for substitutions. Restaurants notoriously fill up our plate with the most worthless (read: cheap) calories: bread, potatoes, rice, pasta. But usually for just a buck or two more (if that), you can substitute more vegetables, fruit, or a salad. This makes even an IHOP or a Denny's into a place that you can eat reasonably well. Sure, it's not a grass-fed free-ranging organic bonanza, but compared to one of these babies...'s downright health food.


Trail Smitten Mom said...

ugh. I've got 4-1/2 trip planned. I miss my CSA box, kitchen and home cooking already. Those pics, down to the styrofoam plates, are so yucky!

Anonymous said...

The way I look at eating "outside the home" is that in moderation everything is good for me.

So eating refined white flour on vacation is probably increasing my resistance to celiac disease since 95% of the time I don't eat refined white flour. At least thats what I tell myself. Plus when you don't eat it very often, it sure tastes GOOD!

Robin said...

I found it was the opposite. I had remembered that Mimi's had these amazing bran muffins that were Sooooo good. So I was looking forward to them. But when it came time to eat them, they tasted so sweet I might as well have been eating sugar straight from the spoon. I couldn't even eat one. I guess my taste buds have really become accustomed to natural sweetness like fruit and I can't really eat refined stuff anymore.

Jules said...

Came across this post from the Paleo Rodeo- I thought Mimi's sounded familiar, and it turns out there is one about half an hour from where I live, in Waldorf, MD! I always drove by it on my mall trips; will have to check it out next time. Thanks for the tip :)