This past Monday was Victoria Day here in Canada, which means a long weekend for us Canucks. For many, it’s the kick-off to the camping season with an endless row of camper trailers lining the TransCanada from Calgary to the mountains. I’ve yet to figure out who thought this was a good idea, since any of the times I’ve gone camping Victoria Day weekend, it has been cold and wet and usually snows…
Since Scott and I are not the die hard camping type, we opted for a road trip instead. We headed east to Regina to visit an old family friend and my mom and sister met us there. It was the first time I’d seen them in a year! It was so nice to visit, catch up, talk, laugh, and hang out in the hot tub! Unfortunately for us, this trip only came about approximately 24 hours before we had to leave!
For us AIP-ers, we know that planning is essential to our success. Thankfully, Scott and I have done the road trip thing before, so we know the drill. We know what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to the open road and my diet. I thought I’d share some of our tips and tricks with you in hopes of making your road trip(s) this summer just a little less stressful!
The Slow Cooker is Your Friend
One of the highlights for me as a child when going on a road trip was the pizza and take-out Chinese food we got to eat in bed watching TV channels we never got at home. And while I cherish those memories, they are just that – memories. No more take-out for this girl. Scott and I have found that a small slow cooker works great in a hotel room! Whether it’s for pre-made and frozen soups, or cooking a small roast, using a slow cooker allows us to put our food to cook and then go out and do something fun before coming back to a fully-cooked meal ready to eat. For previous road trips, I’ve made slow cooker-sized bags of my Creamy Seafood Chowder and then frozen them. They pull double duty as food for me and ice packs for the cooler! This last time, we took two small deer roasts from our freezer and threw them in the crock pot along with some carrots and sweet potatoes and bone broth. Delicious!
A Good Quality Cooler
I can’t say enough about how important this is to our road trip success! We used to have an old cooler from Scott’s parents. While I appreciate the gesture, it was not exactly up to snuff. You could pack that thing full of ice, but the stuff close to the top would still be totally thawed half way through the day. Last year, we lucked out and got a really nice cooler on wheels from Costco when they were clearing them out at the end of the season. This one is a champ! We throw a couple of bags of ice in the bottom and the whole thing stays nice and cold. We actually have to be careful where we pack our leafy greens because they have been known to freeze if packed too close to the ice! Keeping your food cold keeps your food safe until you can get to a fridge at your destination, and this is especially important if you take seafood products with you. With our cooler, we will often still have ice in there three and four days later. On longer trips, we’ve run into the problem of the mini fridges in the hotel rooms not having enough space for all our food, so the cooler has also pulled double duty as a fridge and we just leave some of the less perishable items in there overnight.
Keep a Stash of AIP Snacks On Hand
Whatever your snack of choice is, keep some on hand for those last-minute road trips. Dried berries, pemmican, jerky, fruit, sweet potato or banana chips, whatever it happens to be, keep some around. Part of the fun of road trips is the travel snacks! You don’t have to miss out just because you’re AIP. I’m in the process of perfecting an AIP-compliant pemmican recipe, and so far the results have been promising and it makes for a great road trip snack! Just be sure to keep a little extra on hand so you don’t have to worry about making your snacks while you’re also trying to get read to hit the road!
A salad may not be the first thing you think of when you think of road trip fare. Actually, I’d be surprised if you thought of it at all in that context, but we’ve found that salads make a great road trip meal. I also include slaws in there, but those take a little more prep work. We never leave home without a couple of leafy green clamshells from Costco in our cooler. They keep well and help you get those servings of greens in while away from home. Throw some greens in a bowl, top with some chopped fruit and shredded coconut, drizzle on some salad dressing (made ahead in a pint jar with secure lid) and settle in for the next episode of The Big Bang Theory. A salad also works well as a pack along lunch if you’re going to be out of the hotel room for the day. You can even add some canned salmon on top, provided you brought a few cans and a can opener, or some pre-cooked, pre-chopped chicken!
Know Your Destination
Depending on how long you’re gone for, or how much time you had to prepare, it pays to familiarize yourself with the grocery stores available at your destination. We knew Regina had a Costco, but as those of you who shop a Costco know, selection varies greatly by store. While they didn’t have the selection of organic produce that we are accustomed to, they still had a similar selection of seafood and some of our produce staples. Knowing this ahead of time helped us to pack what we couldn’t get in Regina while not stressing about packing what we knew we could get upon our arrival.
Those are my five main tips for ensuring a smooth road trip that will set you up for success on a healing diet. What are some of your go-to strategies? Please share below!