Whether Easter brings to mind thoughts of flowers, chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, or Jesus and His sacrifice for us, it also likely brings travel. Easter and Spring Break usually go hand in hand and many of us take this opportunity for a getaway. If you’re planning to hit the road over the Easter holiday and you’re wondering how you’re going to manage to stick with your paleo diet, I have a few tips for you:
- On travel day, eat before you leave home or take at least one meal with you.
When we travel, we are typically going someplace within 5-6 hours of our home so we usually leave at the end of a work day. Naturally, this means dinner on the road, which means fast food. But if I can, I cook something simple for myself that I can eat in the car. This isn’t to be selfish, although it does sound that way. Due to my Crohn’s disease, it is more important for me to watch what I eat than the other three. They can handle more “off plan” foods than I can. If I’m packing my dinner for the road, this is what I pack:
- leftover vegetables
- sweet potatoes or rice
- a freshly cooked piece of meat – I’ll often stick a piece of chicken or fish in the oven while I’m doing last minute packing and by the time we’re ready to go, my dinner is ready as well. If you don’t have trouble with histamine intolerance, you can easily plan ahead for leftovers.
If I have time to pack for the rest of my family, I’ll pack them a sandwich with gluten free bread or just lunch meat, string cheese, cut up veggies and fruit and Larabars or homemade cookies. I want simple, fast and nothing that will be smelly in the car.
Once at your destination:
- If we’re staying with family, they very graciously accommodate our difficult eating habits. If you’re hesitant to ask your friends or family to adjust meals to your needs, think about how you would like to treat guests in your home. I would much rather have my guests let me know what their needs are so that they will be comfortable while in my home, than go to the trouble to plan meals and find out my guests can’t eat any of them. You get to be a gracious guest and they get to be gracious hosts and everyone is happy.
- If you will be staying in a hotel and therefore eating out all of your meals, you have a couple options:
- If your hotel room has a mini fridge, bring food with you. You can at least manage breakfast and some snacks from your mini fridge. Hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, fruit, carrot sticks, milk (if you drink it), cereal, homemade granola, etc.
- Study restaurant menus from the area you are visiting to pick out restaurants that will work for you. Find Me GFree is a great app that will get you pointed in the right direction.
- If your hotel has a concierge, they can be a convenient resource as well.
**I would caution you against eating the free hotel breakfasts that are so commonly offered these days. Most hotels don’t provide 100% real eggs. Some do have hard boiled eggs, but most have those pre-made omelets and scrambled eggs, both of which have lots of additives. Besides the “eggs,” the choices are almost exclusively pastries. Better to have a restaurant picked out or take your own breakfast foods and know you’ll start your day with a good meal that won’t leave you feeling sick a few hours later.
- Don’t forget snacks. It seems that no matter how big the meal, my kids are ready for a snack an hour later. Bring snacks from home that you approve of so you don’t have to go to the trouble and expense of buying snacks. And of course, it is unlikely you will find all the foods your gang is used to (and you find acceptable) while away from home.
Some of our favorite travel snacks:
- beef jerky
- Epic bars
- dried fruit
- homemade treats like – banana bread, Fudge bars, or Paleo Baklava
I hope those travel tips are helpful! If you have favorite travel snacks or other tips others might find helpful, please share in the comments.
One more thing: Medicines are not my first choice, but sometimes you just have very little control of the food before you. Here are some aces I keep up my sleeve for these occasions:
- Gluten Flam – I take one or two of these capsules when I eat out and I don’t completely trust that what I’ve been given is gluten free. I will also take these when I eat dairy and it seems to work very well. I buy Gluten Flam from my chiropractor, but I’ve also seen it at a small, local pharmacy. It might take a little digging to find, but well worth it.
- Histamine Block – I react severely to high histamine foods, but if I know I’m going to eat something high in histamine (like leftover meat or canned fish) I will take one histamine block immediately before the meal and it wards off any unpleasant side effects.
- Digestzymes – I actually take these digestive enzymes on a regular basis, but if I’ve eaten a particularly fatty or possibly gluten-contaminated meal, I’ll take an extra digestzyme, especially if I am without my Gluten Flam.
If you happen to be staying home this week, possibly even hosting relatives, I have a few recipes for you. I will be posting a couple more later this week, so be sure to check back.
I admit that I have done a poor job of observing Lent this year. I’m not sure why it seemed to pass by unnoticed, but it has primarily been a non-event in our house. In the past, I have led the kids through a special Lenten devotion each day, or we have given something up as a family. One year, we made a paper chain and wrote on each slip of paper the name of someone we know. We ripped one link off each day and prayed for that person. This was our count down of sorts to Easter. But none of that this year and it just hasn’t been the same. Mental note: observe Lent next year.
One thing we will do is participate in all the special church services this week and we will go meatless on Friday. This is not a ritual that I observed growing up, but my husband apparently did and so we carry it on in our home today. I know that lots of folks forgo meat every Friday throughout Lent, so doing it for one day is not a huge sacrifice.
To that end, I have a couple fish recipes for you today (I know, I know. Some people consider fish meat, but my husband doesn’t so just play along, please):
Marinated, grilled salmon is quick, easy and very flavorful. Do whatever it takes to make sure you remember to marinate your fish a few hours before cook time, and then after that, getting dinner on the table is a snap.
If you want to go all out and treat your family to some crispy, crunchy goodness, give these tempura shrimp (or fish) a try. I admit- I love fried foods. I think I’d rather have something fried like onion rings than a piece of cake. There are some restaurants around now that will fry with gluten free batter, but I don’t know of any that fry in an acceptable oil. So as much of a mess as it is, I go to the trouble to make fried fish or shrimp for my family once every couple months. We love every crispy, crunchy bite while pretending we don’t have a huge mess to clean up. 🙂 So, yes, this is a little messy, but it isn’t hard to make and it’s oh so good!
Eat your fried shrimp or fish as is or turn them into tacos with AIP tortillas and tropical salsa slaw – this is our favorite way to enjoy this treat. With all of my experimenting trying to find the right batters, I also made some tempura vegetables and they were awesome too. Really, I think you could batter and fry old tires and they would taste good.
Coming up later this week:
- the best “heavenly” deviled eggs with bacon
- new and improved cutout sugar cookies, all dressed up for Easter
- super simple grilled asparagus that just happens to go really well with the fish recipes I’ve shared with you this week
I hope your Holy Week is filled with meaning, special family times and a good, healthy dose of chocolate.