How to Eat Healthy and Save Money on Vacation

We went down to Southern California last week for an impromptu mini-vacation as we picked up our new adorable little addition, Baxter. I love him and hate him at the same time. How can one such adorable tiny dog poop so damn much?

During that little trip, Beau turned to me with that look on his face and said, “Babe, there is no way we can spend this much money on food when we take our road trip.”

I agreed. We had eaten almost every meal out and it was lovely but it was pretty darn expensive. As we were planning our 2 week National Parks road trip for later on in the summer, we needed to have a pretty strict budget for food.

I’m like, I got this. I do food for a living.

When my clients travel, we have to get creative. It is not natural for any of us to want to eat healthy while we are traveling. It is natural to want to eat easily and deliciously and celebratorily. That is a word, I promise.

So when my clients travel, I advise them to stick to the plan:

20 grams of protein

1 serving of veggies

1 serving of fruit

After this, you are generally pretty full. If you want some fun food after eating your core foods, you are free to do it. Your basic nutritional needs are taken care of and you are less likely to binge on Takis.

But it is hard to eat well when you are not in your kitchen. So really, honestly, you just do the best you can.

Do you want to come home 10 pounds heavier and $600 dollars poorer? This is not a politically correct statement, but you get my gist.

Everyone would answer this question, “no”. Right?

So, you plan. And you do the best you can.

Can you eat a perfectly autoimmune paleo protocol diet on the road?

Hell no.

Can you get decent protein, plenty of produce, and some fun treats at most grocery stores or markets?


With a little bit of planning, you can put your meals on autopilot and enjoy your time away.

Breakfasts are the easiest way to save money. If your hotel comes with a free breakfast, enjoy the bounty! It’s not a bad idea to travel with single serving packs of collagen powder to add 10 grams of protein to your hotel coffee. Add 2 hardboiled eggs and a banana and an apple and maybe even a little pack of peanut butter and you are good to go until lunchtime.

But if you are on your own for breakfast, try these on for size:

Each breakfast will cost you about $3 per serving instead of the $8 you would spend at a fast food place or the $16 you would spend at a cafe or diner.

Lunches are easy. Eat another breakfast, eat leftovers, snack, grab a burger, or skip it and eat an early dinner.

It is easier to make dinner for your family than you think. Don’t stress or overthink it. You don’t even actually have to cook. You can pick these things up at the grocery store and eat in a park or the back of your car or in a tiny hotel room.

Extra options:

Bean dip + corn chips + salsa + carrot sticks


Cubano salad : ham + kerrygold swiss cheese + pickles, mustard + lemon juice + orange juice + bagged salad greens

Pack these snacks too:



Cheese sticks



Trail Mix

If you fuel yourself and your family well during the day, you will have a better vacation. No one wants to feel sleepy and bloated and cranky and crampy after eating one too many meals out. Do the best you can, and don’t sweat imperfection. If you eat great food for 2-3 meals a day, there is more room for my favorite indulgences like bourbon and dark chocolate.

What do you think? How do you stay healthy on vacation?

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