Even if you’re accustomed to an organic lifestyle at home, eating organic while traveling with kids can be a challenge. But with a little research and thoughtful packing, you can maintain many of your organic eating habits on the road. Below are some tips to help make healthy travel a whole lot easier.
- Research restaurants ahead of time. Utilize online guides like Eat Well Guide (devoted entirely to organic, local, and sustainable food), Urbanspoon, Yelp, and TripAdvisor to help you find organic restaurants and grocery stores before you leave home. Take note of a few eateries that are in line with family’s tastes and near where you’ll be staying so eating decisions are easier when everyone’s hungry.
- Hit up the grocery store when you arrive. When you arrive at your destination, stop by the grocery store to stock up on healthy snacks. If you have a refrigerator, buy some basics like organic milk, yogurt, and cereal so family members can enjoy breakfast in the hotel or rental at their leisure.
- Visit local farmer’s markets. Not only are markets great places to find fresh, local and organic produce, they’re also perfect for meeting people and learning about events and activities in the area. Before you leave home, search online for a “certified farmer’s market” in whatever city or town you’re visiting.
- Find out what’s in season. Knowing what produce is in season locally will allow you to order the freshest, tastiest food and get the most value for your money at restaurants, grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
- Pack organic snacks. When you’re traveling by car, this is easy: fill a cooler with organic cheese, yogurt smoothies, sandwiches, and ready-to-eat fruits and veggies. When you’re traveling by plane or don’t have access to refrigeration, pack a few non-perishable snacks like crackers, cereal, granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit, freeze-dried veggies, and nut butter. Even if you pack light, you’ll be glad to have some organic snack options to tide the kids over between restaurant meals.
If organic options are nowhere to be found, don't fret! Here are a few tactics you can try:
Chat with locals. If you’re in an area where organic options might not be commonplace, ask the locals where to buy the best fruits and veggies. They may have friends or know of farms who sell homegrown food
Check HealthyDiningFinder, which lists restaurants that offer healthy menu options for both kids and adults. The food may not be organic, but at least you can enjoy lighter fare by choosing the “Healthy Dining Approved” and “Kids LiveWell" options on the menu. Healthy Dining menu options must meet specific nutrition criteria and are verified by Healthy Dining’s team of dietitians.
Don’t freak out. Yes, eating organic is ideal, but occasionally it just doesn’t work out. If you aren’t able to stick to an organic lifestyle while away from home for whatever reason, focus on enjoying your vacation and take comfort in the fact that you can resume your healthy habits when you return.