Road trips can be challenging even for me to find healthy restaurants. Since restaurants cater to the majority—the majority have developed decades of unhealthy eating habits. Most restaurant menus consist of processed foods, tons of buns and animals raised through the massive industrial food production industry. The GPS software that conveniently guides us to our destination these days does not have the option to search for vegan, raw foods or organic based restaurants along our great highways.
When we type in “healthy restaurants” or “salad bars,” we find fast food and chain restaurants with few exceptions. Salad bars are healthy, right? Certainly one may think so, however finding a healthy salad bar along the highway with produce that is sourced from organic growers, is next to impossible. Most salad bars look plastic to me, almost surreal. Aside from the pesticides and chemicals used in food production these days, salad bars are sprayed with chemicals to keep them looking fresh while sitting in the open air. Salad dressings are usually not prepared fresh and can contain chemicals.
A healthy road trip requires avoiding the fast food steakhouses, fast food franchises, fried foods, and oriental buffets loaded with MSG and heavy oils.
Personally my search includes healthy food preparation as well. My red flags are dirty floors, unwanted pesticides and hormones in and on foods and rapid cooking in microwave ovens. One restaurant I visited advertised healthy food, but when I got there, they only used a microwave. They didn’t have a big enough kitchen to cook in.
My advice would be: Begin by knowing what foods you won’t eat. Know yourself and know what it takes to remain healthy. Try a restaurant serving foods that are known for being fresh and vegan-friendly. They know how to make colorful fresh salads or cook vegetables (without turning them into mush) and they offer more options for organic ingredients.
I would also look at the quality of a restaurant and not the quantity. Believe it or not, good restaurants will work with your special dietary request. I visited one Italian restaurant in NY with my sister. She said I could inform the chef of my special needs. I ordered a plate of grilled Italian vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, fresh spices, garlic, and herbs. I was pleasantly surprised to see this colorful plate presented to me, just the way I envisioned it.
When ordering water at a restaurant: Order filtered water instead of tap water. Tap water can contain an array of undesirable chemicals including fluoride, medications and chlorine. Nasty stuff. A healthy restaurant will automatically give you a carafe of filtered water at your table.
Here are some examples of foods with color, that can be prepared at restaurants specializing in international cuisine.
Vegetable non- dairy or coconut curry, or eggplant and fresh garlic and spices.
Look for the restaurant that makes it’s own food, tomato sauce and cheese. No cans, no processed foods. If you order chicken or meat, make sure you know how it was raised. Ask if it was grass fed. Forget the pasta and enjoy grilled veggies with extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and fresh garlic. Check the menu for grilled wild salmon.
Vegetable sushi rolls (no raw fish), organic wakame salad, organic miso soup.
Coconut vegetable rice dish and veggie nori wraps.
Organic Millet or Organic Rice w/ raisins, garlic hummus, or fresh tabbouleh salad with fresh garlic.
Guacamole (Non dairy), grilled veggies and salsa ( no vegetable oil), wild fish tacos, baby green salad, (no iceberg) black bean soup~with fresh spices to take it up a notch (no MSG). Avoid all creamy salad dressings.
Raw & Vegan
All is good!
Almost Any Restaurant
Baby greens or spinach salad with lemon, apples and nuts/ homemade veggie soup (lentils)with homemade vegetable stock(no MSG) / grilled veggie plate with organic vegetables, or a plate of grilled brussel sprouts and raw cashews, or an organic brown rice topped with veggies. As always- skip the sugary dessert and avoid bottled salad dressings.
So relax, don’t have reservations about reservations, we can all make healthy choices!
When you fix your relationship with food, it becomes second nature. It also becomes easier, delicious and less stressful.
You feel stronger, more confident and more peaceful with your decisions about What’s to Eat! You can leave the restaurant without acid reflux. Just remember: food and alcohol don’t mix well