Very soon, it will be time for many military families to move house. For some families, it will be a door-to-door move with maybe only a few nights in a hotel. However, families doing a cross-country or overseas move, might spend a few weeks in hotels and eating in restaurants.
For the first few days, eating in restaurants is fun – a novelty! However, if you’re like me, you may quickly get tired of extra-large servings of high fat, high sugar, high salt foods with very few fruits and vegetables.
Here are a few tips that I’d like to share for eating healthy “on the road.”
Buy food at grocery stores
Most grocery stores have healthy, ready-made meals in the deli section including sandwiches and salads. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables are also available in party trays (ideal for families) and single serving sizes. Recently, I saw peeled hard boiled eggs in packs of two. You can also buy bread, buns, deli meat, pre-sliced cheeses, etc. and make your own sandwiches. Often the deli department will have little pouches of condiments for sale as well (ask if you don’t see them).
Get a fridge
Most hotel rooms will provide a small fridge on request. Ask for one when you make your reservation. If you’re driving to your destination, consider buying an iceless cooler that plugs into your car (12v) as well as a standard household outlet (110v).
A fridge will allow you to store fruits, vegetables, salads, yogurt, and other healthy food options in your hotel room. You can store milk and juice and make breakfast right in your room. This is a great option if you have young children.
Ask about a microwave oven
Ask about a microwave oven when you’re making a reservation or checking-in. Many hotels have a small one that guests can use to warm baby bottles. Some hotels (mostly those without a restaurant or dining room), may allow you to use the microwave heat up frozen dinners.
Pack a few extra items
As well as eating healthy, I try as best as I can to be environmentally friendly. This means I avoid using disposable dishes, plastic cutlery and Styrofoam cups. So, I’ve either taken these items in the car with us OR packed them in my suitcase if we’ve travelled by air.
- Grocery bags: One standard sized grocery bag and a small one are ideal for picking up a few things and carrying them to and from your hotel room. It’s much better than having dozens of plastic bags everywhere.
- Dish set: We have this camping dish set for 4 people. It is great because it packs up in a space-saving modular unit. You could also choose to bring one place setting per person of your own dishes.
- Cutlery: We have this plastic set of cutlery that we use for school lunches. It’s compact but flimsy for anything but pre-cut lunch foods. If I was going to purchase something new I’d get the sturdier 4-piece stainless steel set. It’s nice that it comes with chopsticks because sometimes we’d pick up sushi at the grocery store.
- Knife and cutting board: A multi-tool knife is great but I don’t want the same knife that opened the jug of radiator fluid to be used to cut my apple. A basic paring knife with a sheath (safety!) and a small cutting board is great. You can slice grapes for toddlers so they don’t choke and chop apples for the youths with braces.
- Soap: Hotel shampoos and soaps do not do a very good job of washing dishes or clothing. I always travel with a bottle of Camp Suds – wash anything, anywhere.
Remember, moving house is a very stressful event even if you’re happy about the move. Eating healthy is important to keep up your strength and energy!