I have finally solved the great mystery of making healthful choices outside of the house. As with many great mysteries, the solution was right in front of me the whole time. It’s advice I’ve given to others over the years but never applied it to this degree before.
Prepare your own food as much as humanly possible. It’s that simple.
We all know eating out can be fun and all but when you don’t know what’s going in your food, you give up all control over your health. You pay a hefty premium to have someone else make your food taste good and look pretty and trust me, they do stuff to it you would never dream of doing in your own kitchen. It makes that scene from American Pie downright PG.
When you are making your own meals, you take ownership over it. You can customize it any way you want, and you can choose your portions. Do it frequently enough and it becomes fun and satisfying and almost therapeutic.
So when you do leave the house, take food with you. I keep baby carrots and sugar snap peas in the car at all times. I always have that sweet or salty crunch at my fingertips, which can be a lifesaver when I have a craving and find myself driving past all sorts of tempting options.
For a long weekend road trip I brought pre-made oats with apples (recipe from the 21 day Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge), Eat Loaf with brown rice (from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook), fresh spring rolls (also PRHD cookbook), carrot oat muffins, cole slaw with hummus dressing, cooked sweet potatoes, and baked potatoes. I dumped several spices in a baggie, grabbed an onion and a bag of lentils to make one of my favorites, (Red Lentil Chili from The UWL recipe guide). It will take 5 minutes to dump it in a crockpot, and it’ll be enough to serve our hosts too!
Everything fit in a medium sized cooler. It will be faster than stopping at a sit down restaurant on the road. I’ll be guaranteed healthy options for myself and my family, and it’s all food I already know I love! It took some time to plan and prepare it in advance but now I don’t have to cook for 4 days!
We’ll have a couple meals at restaurants with the family and I know I can just bring my little travel pack of flavored balsamic vinegar and turn any basic salad into a tasty treat. I used to be self conscious about that part (bringing my own dressing or just eating a salad) but I got over that after a couple times. Eating out is now all about the company and conversation, and not about what’s on my plate! As it should be.