real food

3 Tips to Nourish Your Baby + Avoid "Picky Eater Syndrome"

I post “what Elle’s eating” on Instagram stories all the time and I have so many mamas ask me how I get her to eat all that nutritious food. A great question and one I think countless parents are asking these days.

Since we have so many newly developed “kid” and “baby” foods on the market, parents are really struggling to figure out why their kids don’t want to touch veggies and beg for the baby puffs, sugary cereals and mac and cheese.

Sure, I’m a Dietitian Nutritionist so it’s really no option for my kiddo to go any other way than healthy, but the more I learn, the more I realize how simple the whole “feeding littles” thing is. 

Actually, it’s a really similar conversation as this whole “feeding adults” controversy we’ve been up against for years. I am constantly telling my clients, “Just eat real, whole foods. If it's processed- comes in a box, can, package...it probably isn't the best option.”

It’s pretty simple when we take a step back from calories and diet this and diet that and get back to the root of the issue. Processed food is making us fat, sick and quite unhappy.

So I preach real food. To just about anyone who will listen. Sustainably raised meat, poultry and wild fish, organic veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds, butter, avocado and the like.

And you know what mama, feeding our little humans is no different.

They, of all age groups, need nourishment from real, whole foods like no one else. Their bodies are rapidly growing, changing, developing, learning, moving, etc. They need whole forms of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water so they not only grow properly, but thrive

I know you get it, you’re no dummy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t struggle to nourish your little. Because I see this struggle with just about every parent, I’ve put together my top 3 tips to get baby started off right because I believe that the best way to grow up a good eater is by starting them on real food from day one. This is going to set you up on the easiest road, though not perfect by any means, and avoid so many of the terrible table moments. 

Wherever you are in feeding your little, I hope this helps. Don't give up. Think of healthy food as medicine and get it in your babies and littles. 

If you're reading this and you're littles aren't so little anymore and you already have a picky eater, I've got a post coming soon just for you!

Top 3 Tips to Start Baby Off Right

Start with real food. Right off the bat.

Some of the best “first foods” for baby are organic avocado, frozen grated liver, soft boiled egg yolks, soup stock, vegetables braised in stock/broth and stewed, pureed fruits (always with a little healthy fat like ghee or coconut oil). Not rice cereal. If you start them off with a variety of whole foods, you’re setting their palate (and bodies, of course) on the right path and keeping your chances of bringing up a picky eater at a minimum.

Avoid puffs, cereals and processed grain-based foods.

Babies are “functionally grain intolerant” as Dr. Katherine Erlich, MD puts it in my favorite book on feeding littles titled, “Super Nutrition for Babies.” Babies don’t begin making the enzymes to break down grains until around one year of age and aren’t fully enzyme equipped until around age 3. For this reason, I highly recommend avoiding processed grains all together and when baby hits one, offering properly prepared grain dishes like soaked oatmeal or sourdough bread. Both with plenty of grass-fed butter, of course.

For babies and littles, focus on getting "slow", nutrient dense carbohydrates from veggies, some fruit and properly prepared grains. In the first handful of months of feeding, I did all cooked veggies and fruits with a little fat added to ensure baby girl could digest the food well and use the nutrients best (fats help with the assimilation of super important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D...see below!).

Focus on the fats.

Babies need plenty of fat and cholesterol for their rapidly developing little bodies and brains and I fear this is a nutrient many babies are missing in their diets today. Saturated fats from organic, sustainably raised animals and animal fats help with nutrient absorption from foods, proper brain development, lung and heart tissue health, provide antimicrobial powers in the gut and so much more. Cholesterol, found in these same types of foods, is a healing agent and is necessary to protect cellular, nervous system a brain function and critical for digestive health and intestinal wall integrity (no thank you leaky gut!), among other things.

Ensure baby is getting plenty of healthy fats by serving fruits and vegetables with ghee, butter or coconut oil and offering plenty of healthy sources of animal proteins and fats.

Keep in mind that as your little one’s nutrient needs shift, taste buds change, and their will to be the boss stretches, you’ll need to practice patience mama. Remember that every meal is an opportunity to nourish, but sometimes life happens. Give yourself grace and take steps forward day by day. You got this!

Source List: 

Bamboo Plate + Bowls

Silverware

Super Nutrition for Babies

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare

If you've reading this post, most likely you've got a little one at home! If you're wanting to grow your family in the near or distant future, I'd highly recommend getting on our email list below!

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How to save serious time + money grocery shopping [plus a free download!]

AloWellness Over the past 8 months, I have done everything in my power to NOT have to go to the store. Don’t get me wrong, I love the grocery store.

Just not with an 8 month old.

Really, it’s not even that. She’s a pretty darn good shopping partner, but I’d definitely rather be spending my time doing other things. Like crawling around on the ground roaring like a lion to make her laugh. Or writing this blog post. Or creating new programs for Alo.

 FREE DOWNLOAD | Pantry Staples Cheat Sheet

You get the picture, right?

I’m sure you have a lot of other things you’d rather be doing than making that weekly trip to the store or daily trip for some!

Plus, wouldn’t it be great if we could save a few bucks while we’re at it?

I have come up with a system that allows me to make only one or two grocery store trips a month.

Yes, I’m serious.

And I don’t have to spend much money on that trip either because I have figured out a way to get all of my produce, meats/dairy/eggs and snack foods online (and many for discounted prices!). Plus, I'm too distracted by this little squishy face!

AloWellness

Because I believe that central to a healthy life is balance and quality time spent with the ones we love. Especially if you’re a working mom or running a business, I’m sure you’d give anything to spend more time with the ones you love.

Am I right?

So, let me show you how I make this happen, how I spend more time with my family and growing my business and less time at the grocery store with more money in my pocket.

1. Purchase produce + raw dairy + eggs from a co-op

 

I order my produce weekly from Abundant Harvest. If you live in southern/central California, AH is an amazing co-op committed to providing local, organic and seasonal produce. I also purchase my pastured eggs, Organic Pastures raw milk/cream (for Elle’s raw milk formula) and butter.

You can chose to order a small box (feeds approx. 2-4 people; $25.80/week) or a large box (feeds approx. 4-6 people; $42.30/week), add weekly or “standing” add ons (other available produce items) and they even have some prepared meals, spices, cooking oils, meats and fish and sweet treats. All items are 100% certified organic, non-GMO. I can get behind that!

AloWellness

My weekly order is approx. $72.90 which includes a small box, a gallon of raw milk, a pint of raw cream and two dozen pastured eggs. We will occasionally add on their gluten-free mini pot pies or random produce items like sweet potatoes, beets, onions or fruit. This may seem like a lot of money to some, but having access to raw milk/cream and pastured eggs is a gift so we take advantage of that. 

If you do not have access to Abundant Harvest, don’t worry! There are tons of companies that deliver fresh produce right to your doorstep. Check out LocalHarvest.com and enter your zip or city to find a co-op near you (as well as local farms, farmer’s markets, natural food markets and restaurants and farm stands!).

 

2. Choose sustainably-raised meat + wild fish from responsible farms

 

I have ordered the majority of my meat and fish from a Pennsylvanian Amish co-op that deliveries to our area once a month. They deliver to very few locations so let’s look at some other amazing options for meat and fish.

I adore Primal Pastures, not only because I know and love the owners, but because they stand for food that is grown responsibly, sustainably and according to nature’s brilliant design. Their meat is all organic and pasture-raised. Check out their online store here.

I have also ordered meat and fish from US Wellness Meats many times. They have lots and lots of items on their site these days including pasture-raised meats/poultry, grass-fed dairy, ice cream, wild-caught fish, bones and broth, kid-friendly picks, AIP and Paleo options and much more.

 

3. Join Thrive Market for snack foods + cooking oils + paper products [and more!]

 

My new favorite “store” in the whole entire world is Thrive Market. Picture Costco and Whole Foods having a baby...online. Yes, it's weird, but I’m serious! It's amazing! For less than $5/month, you have access to over 3000 healthy products for up to 50% off.

Plus, when you click here and enter your email address, your first purchase on Thrive will start your FREE 30-day membership trial. They’ll also donate a membership to a family in need with every paid membership. That’s pretty stellar.

You can even enter to win a $1,000 shopping spree! Click here to make it happen!

 FREE DOWNLOAD | Pantry Staples Cheat Sheet

And because I adore you for reading this, I have created an awesome FREEBIE! In my "Pantry Staples Cheat Sheet", I lay out my "must haves" for creating and sustaining a healthy food environment at home. Most of the items can be purchased on Thrive.

Thrive also has an awesome app which makes shopping super easy. I mark all my fav items for my “Shopping List” to make it easy to purchase these items each time I shop.

Each month, I make one or two orders for coconut oil, paleo-snacks, dark chocolate, Primal Kitchen mayo, coconut and almond flour, coffee, beef jerky, Seventh Generation toilet paper and paper towels, Acure lotion and Dr. Bronner’s soap, and whatever else we need to stock the pantry.

They even have products for babies and children, pets and non-toxic house cleaning.

If you purchase any of the above items...ever...you need a Thrive Market membership. Click here to get your first month for free!

 

So, there you have it. How to save serious time + money on grocery shopping! Let me know what you think and if you have any other ways to save a few minutes [or hours!] and some green in the comments below!

 

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness workshop + events!

Interested in working one-on-one with Justine? Check out the Alo Wellness Shop and all the ways she can help make real food and healthy living a reality in your life. 

Fall Is in the Air + Grain-free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

pumpkin muffins alo wellness  

In my humble opinion, there is no greater time of year than when the leaves begin to change, the air becomes cool and crisp and the scent of cinnamon lingers in the air. Wait, what am I talking about? I live in Southern California, this doesn't happen!

A girl can dream though, can't she!?

I truly love fall. It literally makes me giddy. Maybe it's a more of a nostalgic feeling than anything, bringing me back to my youth growing up in the Bay Area. My mom always had pumpkin-y candles burning and the leaves actually fell off the trees! The air was cold and crisp and I remember the excitement of Halloween [I was a big candy lover back then, if you could imagine!] and Thanksgiving with family and my grandma's insanely buttery mashed potatoes. 

It's hard to pinpoint more about the nostalgia, it's just a warm and happy feeling when I think about fall. Now a days, I look forward to decorating our home with all things pumpkin and burlap, walking the pups with my hubby, and having friends and family over to celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving and life over harvest-inspired meals and cocktails. 

It may be a million degrees here right now, but my heart is ready for fall. I know that sooner or later, the leaves will begin to turn and the temperature will slowly fall and our sleeves will grow longer and thicker with each passing month. 

Last week, my good friend Cara brought me the sweetest gift when her, her hubby and their kiddos came over for dinner [Cara shares an equal obsession with all things fall]. She surprised me with the most beautiful pumpkin plate so I figured this was a sure sign that the blog was also ready for all things fall. So, I whipped out my Real Food Meal Plan | Fall Edition and found one of my very favorite recipes : Pumpkin Spiced Muffins. 

pumpkin muffins alo wellness

Because who doesn't like fall in the shape of a muffin accompanied by a warm cup o' Joe in the mornin'? 

These muffins are so simple to throw together, they have the most beautiful fall flavor and they are so moist and fluffy! No processed grains or sugars here, instead I used coconut flour as my flour substitute and coconut sugar to sweeten! You can use less coconut sugar and even omit the chocolate chips to make a lower carb version.

I hope you love them. Slather them with butter and enjoy them with someone you adore. They taste even better that way.

pumpkin muffins alo wellness

 

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Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness workshop + events!

Interested in working one-on-one with Justine? Check out the Alo Wellness Shop and all the ways she can help make real food and healthy living a reality in your life. 

 

 

We're Expecting! [plus, Europe recap + Grain-free Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese

Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese.Alo Wellness [ I wrote this post almost two+ month ago, but I was having issues with my site so never published it. Forgive me for my absence! It's good to see you again though friend! ]

Wow, it’s been a while and life has been busy, fun, tiring and exhilarating all at the same time. There is so much to talk about…where do I begin!?

Ok, let’s start with the most beautiful news of all. WE’RE HAVING A BABY! Our little one is growing rapidly and we are so excited to meet HER in December! We are so filled with excitement, gratitude and sheer joy! It’s been so hard to contain this news!

Prior to our first ultrasound around 9 weeks, our anxiousness had been unbearable at times. In October of last year [2014], we experienced the loss of a twin pregnancy which left us deeply saddened, but at the same time incredibly hopeful for the Lord’s perfect plan for our family. When we heard the heartbeat this time, it was like nothing we have experienced before.

“There is no sweeter sound than when at some point you have heard the deafening silence of a heartbeat’s absence.”

This quote, from a mama and blogger who experienced loss herself, hit me like a ton of bricks. How true. How insanely true. That sound was the most beautiful I have ever heard and I praise our Creator for making it possible. What a gift to be able to carry a child, with all the multiplying of cells, differentiating tissues, growing organs, defining facial features, etc. A miraculous feat.

Matt and Justine Alo Wellness

 

justine24weeksalowellness

I’m sure you will be seeing a lot more about this and how life changes during this incredible experience we call pregnancy. So stay tuned!

Next up, back in late April/early May, we spent two weeks in Europe and enjoyed some amazing food, great friendship and beautiful sites. Though tainted by the less than fabulous feelings of first trimester bliss, Paris brought us delicious dishes and beautiful sites and Italy was filled with naps, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Oh yes, and great friends, rolling Tuscan hills and more naps. Sad, but true!

My favorite was Chianti, a gorgeous region of Tuscany, just south of Florence. We ate some of our favorite dishes there, walked the hills of a 5th generation vineyard and while I enjoyed Italy’s finest mineral water, the hubs enjoyed the fruit of their labor.

Here are a few highlights of the trip...

photo 1-6

 

photo 2-5

 

Mona Lisa in the flesh...well, kind of // Boarding a yacht for dinner on the river // beautiful hor d'oeuvre // photo booth fun on the yacht

 

Canal view near our Venetian apartment // #gelatoeveryday // a Venice "must" - gondola ride with great friends! // our departure from Venice

 

Wine tour on the property we stayed at in Chianti, Tuscany // homemade meatballs...enough said. // the view from our little apartment in Chianti, Tuscany // barrel room kisses! this room was 100+ years old and used to be for curing meats

Given our recent addition, this trip is probably the last of our international travels for a while. That’s fine with me. Maui, here I come! No passports and broken foreign language communication- bring it on!

Since I’ve started to feel better in the past few weeks [remember this was two months ago!] and my energy has been on the rise, I have finally been able to get this couch-shaped butt of mine back into the gym. I have been taking it easy to start, but also keeping in mind that I am training. I am training for labor. A marathon where one needs serious mental and physical preparation to help ensure the best outcome. No, I won’t be running an actual marathon and I know it can be done with no forethought whatsoever, but I want to be ready.

With all this newfound energy, I have started back in the kitchen as well, my happy place. Oh, it is good to be home. I have been playing with a little more grains than I usually do as I have had more of an affinity to them since I’ve been pregnant. I figure a properly prepared (soaked) oatmeal bake is far better than the Lucky Charms I was eyeing during a TV commercial. Am I right?

Nutrition during pregnancy is so incredibly important, I cannot stress that enough. I will be talking about different aspects of prenatal nutrition in the next few months [and beyond] as this is one of our best forms of prevention.

So, the other day I got a little crazy and played with a new idea: a grain-free version of the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, you heard me right.

I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches, on whatever kind of bread one could conjure up. Nowadays, I stick to an occasional properly prepared, traditional sourdough bread, but I was wanting something I could indulge in any day of the week in a grain-free version, keeping my blood sugar stable.

Guys, to my surprise, this turned out amazing and I have a new favorite cauliflower recipe to add to the bunch! It does take some effort to prepare the cauliflower bread (sauté cauli, form “bread” slices, bake, then grill…) BUT it is SO worth it! And you can always prep the cauliflower ahead of time and just form the “bread” when you’re ready to get your grilled cheese on!

 

Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese.Alo Wellness

 

So, without further ado…I introduce to you the Grain-Free Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese! There are endless possibilities for this bad boy so please, let me know what you do to make this recipe your own!

Happy eating y’all!

 

[yumprint-recipe id='9']grilledcheesealowellness

 

 

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness workshop + events!

Interested in working one-on-one with Justine? Check out the Alo Wellness Shop and all the ways she can help make real food and healthy living a reality in your life. 

The Top 5 "Healthy" Foods to Avoid + Real Food Swaps

Top 5 "Healthy" Foods to AvoidThe more I learn about our food industry, the more I wonder where else I’ve been completely brainwashed and utterly mislead in my life. Our ideas of what makes up a healthy diet and even how much we should be eating each day come to us from government recommendations that have had little to no research behind them with plenty of industry financial backings. Shocking? I know. In high school I was the diet queen. I did everything I heard on the news or read in health magazines. I restricted fat and counted calories. I increased my whole grain consumption and diligently watched my cholesterol intake.

And I was only in high school. 

The funny {and very sad} part is that I was a smidge overweight, had all kinds of digestive issues and never really felt well.

I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. Countless individuals do their best to eat “healthy” by our country’s standards, yet live their lives feeling tired, depressed, bloated and cart around unwanted, excess weight.

Can you relate?

Are the “healthy” foods we have been told to eat {and in abundance} actually making us sick? Let’s explore the top 5 “healthy” foods that may be causing more harm than good {plus a “real food swap” to help you truly feel energized and live well!}.

Top 5 "Healthy" Foods to Avoid {+real food swaps}

  • Fat-free or reduced-fat food items. Dressings, chips, candy, and dairy products are some of the top offenders. When the fat is removed from the product, it is typically replaced with some sort of sugar source to adjust flavor and nutrient content. Not only are these highly processed “Frankenfoods”, but also chalk full of added sugars and chemical additives. 
    • Real food swap: Although demonized for decades, fat is actually good for you and necessary for optimal health. Choose healthy fats from grass-fed animals {think butter, duck fat, beef, etc.}, pastured or organic, free-range eggs, coconut and olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Avoid partially- and fully hydrogenated oils and processed vegetable oils from corn, soy and rapeseed. Here is a great article in Time magazine. 
  • Energy bars. Most energy bars on the market are packed full of sugar, GMO soy, synthetic vitamins, processed fats, and artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners and more! Most people think of energy bars as the perfect fuel for a busy lifestyle. The reality is that they add to our toxic load, energy cashes {think blood sugar roller-coaster} and inflammation.
    • Real food swap: Combine a vegetable or low glycemic fruit {think berries, nectarine, etc.} with a clean protein and/or fat source which will help give you stable, lasting energy and avoid a blood sugar bust. Choose ½ cup organic blueberries and a small handful of raw almonds, an ounce of raw cheese wrapped in organic turkey or ham, or half an avocado with sea salt and a cup of carrots. If you are traveling or in need of something nonperishable, try an Epic bar, Larabar or Raw Crunch bar {Alo Wellness approved brands!}.
  • Multigrain and whole-wheat products. From insulin resistance and gut disorders to obesity and heart disease, wheat products are being linked to a whole host of health issues. If you have not already removed wheat from your diet, I would strongly advice that you consider phasing it out ASAP. Those with a gluten allergy/sensitivity need also be aware of cross-reactivity with gluten-free grains that the body may view as a similar threat.
    • Real food swap: Play with grain-free flours like coconut, almond or hazelnut flour. You can make muffins, bread, tortillas, cookies, cakes and so many more delicious items that are packed full of healthy fats and protein. If these flours intimidate you or you’re dealing with a nut allergy, go back to real food basics: use eggplant cut horizontally as a base for pizza, butter lettuce cups as taco shells and grated cauliflower for a low-carb rice or quinoa alternative.
  • Fruit smoothies and juice. Get this, Jamba Juice’s small Apple ‘N Greens smoothie packs in 60g of total carbs and 45g of sugar and the large contains 100g of carbs and 78g of sugar! That is about what we should be getting in a day, depending on your body and health goals. Smoothies and juices can have some beneficial properties, but the amount of carbs and sugar outweigh their vitamins and mineral content in my humble opinion.
    • Real food swap: Try juicing colorful veggies with half a green apple or lemon and add a teaspoon to tablespoon of melted coconut oil to help balance blood sugar. When making smoothies, use berries for sweetness and always make sure to add good quality fat. Check out my smoothie tips here.
  • Soy. Oh, where to begin? Soy’s popularity has heavy backing by the multi-billion dollar soy industry. Most of the soy in our country is genetically modified, contains anti-nutrients that inhibit digestion of certain minerals and protein and can even irritate the GI tract. You can learn more here and here.
    • Real food swap: If you’re a vegetarian, use sustainably raised animal proteins like pastured eggs, raw milk and cheese and wild fish to add protein and healthy fats to your diet. Choose unprocessed whole foods for meals and snacks and read food labels to avoid soy protein and other soy products. There is soy in more than you'd think. Reading food labels is the best way to avoid it. 

Did I just turn your health knowledge upside down and inside out? Good. That's my job.

May your tummies be filled with nourishing foods and your hearts filled with love.

Shine Bright!

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Merry Christmas + Easy Peppermint Hot Cocoa

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” {Insert Frank Sinatra voice here}

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and share this delicious + super simple recipe for one of my favorite holiday treats, Peppermint Hot Cocoa.

May you all be blessed beyond belief in the coming year!

Easy Peppermint Hot Cocoa + Fresh Whipped Cream

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk (I use raw, full fat milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (I used Organics brand, you can also use a few drops of pure peppermint oil)
  • ½ cup heavy cream, preferably raw
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Beat heavy cream and honey with a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Cover and chill.

Whisk milk and honey in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in peppermint.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

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Interested in receiving Alo Wellness updates, delicious + nutritious recipes and super awesome nutrition info? Join our mailing list here and get the goods! 

Shine bright my friends!

Justine

Nourished Travels

Travel season is upon us my friends and MAN I am SO excited! One of my favorite things in life is vacationing, seeing different places and straight up livin' the life {tell me, whose favorite isn't it!?}. It helps that I have a husband whom I adore and would rather no one else to adventure with! Ah, sweet vacay memories... The hubs and I leave for Mammoth tomorrow to visit friends and celebrate a wonderful pair exchanging vows! June brings a Palm Desert lady's weekend and in late July the hubs and I are off to NY and Scotland! Summer is the perfect time to get away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and live it up in the sun doing things that bring us joy.

The hubs and I on a mini-trip to good ol' Vegas for a friend's 30th. Road trips are the best.

Lily loves the road as well! Obviously...

Vacations can also derail many of our health efforts as we quickly switch into “vacay mode” and eat and drink whatever the heck our little heart’s desire. PEOPLE! Vacations do not = fall off the bandwagon and forget all things we know about health and wellness! We are much better served in our efforts to relax, rejuvenate and recharge if we continue to fill our bellies with wholesome, real foods! They give us energy, thinner waistlines and sexy, sparkling skin to boast. Why fall off and feel fat, tired and right back at ground zero when you get home?

On a flight to Istanbul in July 2011, still packin! I see some beef jerky and plenty of "YumNuts" from Whole Foods! Don't forget to bring a good read!

But how on earth am I supposed to eat healthfully when I’ll be on the road for 15 hours straight with nothing but a Jack-in-the-Crack and a 7-11 for fuel or on a plane with neatly packaged, microwaved wonders full of preservatives and crap!? Great question!

Making vacations healthy is all about preparation! Yes, you have a bit of homework, but the outcome will leave you feeling 100 times better than if you just went with the flow like an Aunt we know…

5 Tips for Healthy Travels

  1. Pack dry storage snacks. This is one of the easiest things to do! There are plenty of healthy, whole food choices in your local health food store that are easy to pack in a “snack bag” that will not spoil during your travels and that will keep you full and nourished. Think grass-fed beef jerky, mixed nuts (soaked and dehydrated, of course), dried fruit, dried seaweed, kale chips, Larabars, plantain chips, Tanka bars (a traditional American-Indian buffalo and cranberry snack), canned salmon or tuna, coconut manna/butter, salami, fresh fruit, avocado, unsweetened dried coconut, etc. Since many of these foods may be packaged, it is important to read labels and avoid additives such as food coloring, preservatives and unnecessary binding agents.
  2. Pack a cooler…if possible. A cooler is key to a successful work day as you are able to pack almost anything and keep it from spoiling. The same goes for your travels, especially if you are road-tripping it! Think raw cheese, fruits and veggies, hardboiled eggs, hummus, sliced meats (turkey, roast beef, ham, etc. from appropriately raised animals and without additives), sauerkraut or other fermented veggies, yogurt, Kombucha, leftovers, etc. Be careful when flying, I have had my yogurt thrown away! You may need to use ice in a baggy, dispose of it prior to security then refill when you get to your gate at an airport restaurant or fast food joint.
  3. Do your research! Often times you can find local Whole Foods or other health food stores near your hotel or airport, depending on your destination. When the hubs and I flew to Maui for our honeymoon, we found a Whole Foods and a small organic co-op type market right near the airport. If you are traveling abroad, inquire about local farmer’s markets or restaurants that use local, whole foods in their prep when you arrive.
  4. Include a healthy treat. I say this because inevitably we are going to want to “treat” ourselves on a vacation and more times than not that equals sweets. Why not come prepared with something that won’t throw us off the deep end and into a sugary bliss that we all know quickly turns to a sugary hell!? I like taking along a good quality, organic dark chocolate (70% or more) bar or dark chocolate covered nuts. If sweets aren’t your thing then make sure your “savory tooth” is fed with the right “treats” as well!
  5. Snack prep – at home! If you’re the type that likes to make the majority of your goodies at home, make sure you plan to begin making jerky, soaked and dried nuts/seeds, granola bars, etc. a week or more prior to take off. Making these types of items at home always ensures that they’re properly prepared and as nutritious as possible. But don’t worry if the week before D-day is more than you can handle, just make sure you make it to the store to get all the nutritious goods you need!

This trips's goodies include {from top left} smoked salmon, organic carrots, sauerkraut, mixed nuts with banana chips and unsweetened coconut, Larabars {this is our "sweet treat"} and organic hummus from TJ's {this is also a treat for the hubs as we don't usually do many beans}. We also have grass-fed beef jerky, apples and hard boiled eggs. Let's just put it this way- if we had to sit in traffic the entire weekend, we'd be well fed.

It definitely takes some planning and prep time (get over it people, real food takes time and it should!), but I promise you will feel like a million bucks when you get home from your summer excursions feeling fit and fabulous. Don’t let vacations, which are meant to bring us relaxation and joy, be something that derail your efforts to be the best you possible!

As we learn more about the benefits of real foods and experience their amazing effects, it becomes easier and easier to stick to it in all situations {mostly because we feel like crap when we eat the junk we used to}. Remember, real food is a way of life, not a “diet”.

Happy and safe travels my friends!

Shine Bright!