Thursday, April 16, 2009

No fridge while on the road?

Someone I adore (Cybil) brought up an excellent concern that is so near and dear to my pudgy (albeit it with cute taste in shoes) heart:

“I totally know what you mean about travel and being out of your element. I have to travel a lot and each time I try not to fall off plan but I do. I started Induction 3 weeks ago and the 4 times I’ve gone off plan - yep due to travel. One of the things I’ve been thinking about are what makes Atkins a harder diet to stay on for me. I’ve discovered that a lot of it has to do with quick meals, no planning, and portable food. We don’t tend to have too many “oh just grab a protein bar, bag of oatmeal, etc. All our food has to be pre-made and prepared. A lot of it goes bad when sitting at room temp. So I ask you and everyone else to please think up and share recipes that are fast to make, can be eaten and transported without a fridge, and good on the go. If I make Oopsies I’m set. I run out of time and I’m screwed. I have hard boiled eggs and string cheese, but those aren’t so great when trekking around Disneyland.”

You are totally right.

Unlike higher-carb plans, it is so hard to grab an energy bar and run!

Whether we’re shooting off to Disneyland or to see grandparents, travel makes carting healthy foods difficult. And when you’re without a cooler (many theme parks won’t allow them now due to terrorist issues), it becomes almost insurmountable!

Some thoughts:

Flax cracker with cream cheese and fresh dill: One of my perennial favorites and chock full of fiber, these are so easy to prepare in advance, and have ready to go for any occasion. Just soften cream cheese (or, better yet, if you don’t keep fresh dill laying around), add a bit of dill to the cream cheese and stir, pre-spread.

Flax gives you omega-3’s, and due to its extremely high-fiber content, you’re looking at 0-net carbohydrates for each cracker. This isn’t license to go nuts, however. Too much flax has a very uncomfortable effect digestively.

Cherry (or grape) tomatoes: I love cherry tomatoes and eat them like little apples. I used to put them in my cheeks (facial, thanks) and squish my hands to my face just to feel them sploosh into my mouth. (Note: Stop trying this when you’re using your laptop). Grape tomatoes are a new variety and are easy to carry.

Green olives have a great taste whose pungency helps offset the mildness of the other items on the tray. while pastrami and cheese are spicy/bland, olives give a bit of punch to the palate, and are very easy to transport. Their higher sodium value should be kept in mind, but the best part of olive oil are the actual olives, and their natural fats have staying power along with a flavor punch.

Pepperoni slices are probably the least healthy portion of a snack in terms of unprocessed foods, but used as makeshift crackers, these can cradle individual slices of smaller-cut cheese or the Havarti. The fat and protein definitely sticks with a body for the entire day, but the sodium and additives can be problematic for some. Still, extremely portable, only 16 slices as a serving is more than enough to zip your bip and fill your stomach.

Baby Kosher Dill Pickles are a great portable snack that hold up well under various weather and temperature situations. Many claim that dill pickles help satisfy a sweet tooth, and their flavor make one enough, especially considering that pickles can add up in carbohydrates rather quickly. If you are on a candida diet, you might want to avoid these, as they are treated with vinegar and can exacerbate any conditions you’re trying to avoid.

String Cheese– Happiness and entertainment in a single serve packet, loaded with calcium and fat, these are a fun snack to have along for the ride. Kids love peeling the layers. Make certain to buy full-fat, or these turn to sugar in the blood stream more quickly than would be convenient for the busy traveler. If you follow South Beach or another low-fat plan, buying the low-fat versions will be in your best interest, unless you can spare the fat in your daily allowance.

Oopsie rolls These gluten-free buns travel well. Just pull them out of the bag 30 minutes prior to use and they tend to firm up wonderfully (unless you’re in a humid climate–still, some is better than none!) Unrefrigerated, these should be used within a couple of days.

Oopsie roll popovers– While these can’t remain unrefrigerated for too too long, making oopsies in tiny cupcake pans with careful mix-ins of shredded cheese, jalapenos, olives and pepperoni makes for mini pizza popovers and supply a lot of staying power in little pop-in-your-mouth pieces!

If you have some ability to refrigerate in terms of an ice packs, slip along:

Swiss and Pastrami roll-ups: These not only look pretty, but because all of the carbs are in the holes of the cheese (I know! I’m very scientificy), you’re looking at only 1 carb for each roll-up. Protein and fat in the meat has staying power, along with the fat in the cheese, and you’re providing yourself with calcium to keep your bones strong. You can add lettuce to the center, but sprouts will not disappoint.

Havarti is a fun cheese. Softer than a cheddar, it is excellent as an accoutrement to tomatoes, or can be softened and spread on your flax cracker. The fat helps this rest in your digestive system for a longer period of time, and the flavor is so wonderfully intense (but not overpowering) that a little of this goes a long way.

What are things you take on the road that require little to no refrigeration?

We could use your help!


A tip from the luscious Susanne M:
I have found flax seed flat bread at Costco that only has 6 net carbs per slice. I use these to make wraps, of course, but also to make thin crust pizza, chips to use with cream cheese spread, etc.

Also, if you can't take a cooler, why not freeze whatever it is that you're going to travel with? Then it stays fresh and will thaw out by the time it's time for lunch/dinner.