Eating healthy while traveling has been a challenge for us. Those who follow us know that we are seniors and that we believe in eating more natural fare.
Many years ago Hippocrates said, ” Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” That said, finding such restaurants while traveling can be a challenge.
Oh sure, when we are away, many times we “go off the wagon” and indulge ourselves with a sugary or fat-laden treat. There are so many little places we find with a “specialty of the house” we cannot turn down.
But for the most part, we try to find places that pay more attention to their food, use locally-sourced and grown ingredients and have healthier preparation techniques. One such place we discovered is the Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis. These are folks who have tasty and innovative menu choices.
Their combinations are as good as any and better than most. Cafe Evergreen features tasty and innovative menu choices. For instance, we found items on their menu such as raw dehydrated onion bread filled with smashed avocado, pico de gallo and microgreens.
Either of these could be right out of a health nuts’ “cook” book, and that’s just a couple items off the menu. In fact, their turkey, ham, chicken, and fish combinations are as good as any and better than most.
Over the course of our travels we also have found some other places such as the Backwater in Melbourne that serves a three egg omelette with tomato, spinach, mushrooms and onions. And it comes with toast and choice of sides as well. Their Breakfast Club of eggs, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on wheat toast has a choice of sides that includes fruit as well.
The Perfect Cup in Matlacha has a wonderful cup of coffee. The menu has a veggie omelette which simply is wonderful and pancakes topped with fruit.
Moreover, we’ve found other places such as Ginny & Jane E’s at Anna Maria Island as well as Bake Chop in Deland. Both these are great choices for both the quality of food and the innovative dishes they place on their menu.
Many people think chain restaurants are a no-no to eating healthy while traveling, But there also are a couple of chains we like. Both Newk’s and First Watch we have felt that the tasty selections we enjoyed were better prepared with quality ingredients than some of the commercial establishments that we have visited.
The Farmer’s market sandwich at Newk’s in Sarasota is one of Mrs. Funmister’s top choices. She also is quite impressed with their condiment bar that had roasted garlic, pickles etc. We also noted that First Watch serves free range eggs, avocado toast and has fruit preserves with no sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Spotting a Place
But how do we find those kinds of restaurants? First we go online and check suggestions and reviews on services such as TripAdvisor. Other times we spot a place with an inviting name or a cool facade and do some of our own investigation.
It does require a bit of work and discernment. For instance, my wife likes to read the negative reviews and find out the problems. Sometimes the food is good, but the reviewer had a cranky waitress or had to wait to be served. In fact, we had one reviewer who rated a place poorly because it was closed when they visited.
Many times the restaurants have a web presence. Whether it is on the internet or simply a Facebook page, restaurant menus generally are easy to find and we can peruse the offerings and prices. They usually also have pictures of the interior of the place so we can see the overall layout and cleanliness of the place.
She is excellent at looking at a photo and determining “how easy that place must be to keep clean” – or not.
Another thing we have discovered is that prices are not always a factor in eating out healthy while on vacation. For instance, the aforementioned Cafe Evergreen was moderately priced and gave a good bang for the buck when it comes to good food at good prices.
We have found that upscale restaurants do not always meet the criteria. In the same way, some “vegetarian restaurants” don’t give you much for what they charge. The worst have been restaurants which show one thing on the web – but are totally different once we go inside.
Being prepared always is a good strategy. Many times we carry our own condiments. For instance, we use use MCT oil powder as creamer for our tea and coffee. Because this will not be readily available we carry a small ziplock bag of it.
Additionally, we take Celtic sea salt and organic black pepper in a small camping shaker. Mrs. Funmeister has all this in her purse and it helps us enjoy our healthy meals even more. There are individual small plastic bags and even small camping-style containers that are inexpensive as well as handy and easy to use.
In short, eating healthy while traveling is more than just possible with a bit of research,and preparation,it can be a fun treasure hunt. And it can leave you room for that little indulgence you can only find on vacation.