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How Ordering Dessert, Indulging, & Eating at Non-Vegan Places Make for Healthy Road Trip Habits

How Ordering Dessert, Indulging, & Eating at Non-Vegan Places Make for Healthy Road Trip Habits

| On 14, Dec 2013

I spent 79 days on the road this summer, journeying across the US and Canada. 8,500 miles to be exact. No, it wasn’t specifically a vegan foodie road trip like Kristin’s. Yet, with my love of eating, food naturally became a central theme.

In the past, I have easily gained ten pounds and blamed the “vacation”.

But what I found was that eating healthy isn’t too much harder on the road. And if you follow a few basic principles, you can still indulge your foodie side. So here is how this foodie stayed slim. And how you can too.

  1. Balance Dining Out and Eating In

    I balanced restaurant meals with my own food. You have more control over meals you make yourself. Since I was limited to simple ingredients from produce departments and farmers markets, my meals reflected that – based around whole foods. This offset the richness of dining out.

    Hogtown Vegan Unchicken and Waffles

    Unchicken and Waffles from The Hogtown Vegan, Toronto

    Salad prep cucumber pepper chestnuts dijon

    Prepping my own “kitchen sink” salad

  2. Engage in a Little Human-Powered Exploration

    Walk everywhere or rent a bike. The bonus is that you take in the details. Join everyday life. Immerse yourself in the culture. Some places just need to be explored on foot.

    I’ve found that the cities with incredible vegan restaurants are also totally walkable. Coincidence, I think not. Plus, you can easily walk five miles without even realizing it if the scenery is interesting enough.

    Montreal Aux Vivres storefront 2

    Walking for a half hour through unique neighborhoods to a great vegan restaurant in Montreal? Yes, please!

    One of the best times to walk is after dining out. My favorite evenings include a brisk walk to the restaurant and a stroll home afterwards. It settles my stomach and prevents me from going to bed with that full, heavy feeling.

  3. Do Something Active Every Day

    I sought out exercise opportunities at each location along our travels because I know it keeps me feeling tip-top. But being active not only releases mood-elevating endorphins, it stokes your metabolism and leaves you more room in your stomach for your next meal! A pet peeve of mine is when I get to a restaurant but I’m not hungry.

    Fitness - Goodlife Group exercise 1

    In Toronto, I purchased a 2-week gym membership and joined group exercise classes.

    Fitness - Walk dog 1

    When staying with family, borrowing their dog was a workout motivator.

  4. Only Order Dessert

    Or whatever small part of the meal you really crave. Just make the rest of the meal at home and you’ll save money and calories.

    In Ottawa, I went to The Wild Oat coffee shop just for a vegan muffin and homemade chai tea. I sat down with the hubby and got to chat and be peaceful with my small indulgence. Then I picked up some veggies from the market later and made myself a big salad for lunch.

    On my birthday in Montreal, what I really wanted was dessert. So we went out to a raw cafe, and I got a sampler to share. I got to taste the raw cheesecake, brownie, and ice cream without any guilt.

    Montreal Crudescence dessert discovery plate

    Dessert “Discovery Plate” at Crudescence in Montreal

  5. Don’t be Afraid to Travel to Non-Veg Friendly Places

    A little unconventional in the advice department, no doubt. But sometimes it’s the places with no temptation that help you stay trim. Food you make yourself will always be healthier (or at least food I make myself is – you can get ideas and recipes at my website).

    On my road trip, I balanced out the big city veg meccas with places that normally make vegans nervous. In Wisconsin, smack in the middle of America’s Dairyland, I visited an amazing farmers market in the small town of Eau Claire. Besides great veggies, I found homemade hummus and olive salsa that I used to flavor my salads.

    Eau Claire farmers market

    Eau Claire, Wisconsin farmers market.

    We even attended a birthday party at a steakhouse where I ordered the wild rice pilaf with steamed veggies and the salad bar. In Saskatchewan, Canadian meat-and-potatoes country, I cooked meals in my family’s kitchen.

    I’m a foodie. So if there is a full menu of veg options, sometimes I feel like I need to splurge and try everything. Or at least the most interesting thing, regardless of healthiness. Which brings me to my next point.

  6. Make (At Least) One Smart Choice

    When ordering, go ahead and indulge. If there is something decadent or greasy you just have to try, get it. BUT, then temper it with something healthy to soak up the fat or sugar.

    Salad, steamed veggies, brown rice. You know, wholesome. Often if I just get what I crave, I’m left feeling unsatisfied. But if I bulk up the meal with something healthy (and higher fiber), I get the taste of what I was craving but feel grounded and full afterwards.

    Hibiscus salad

    Salad at Hibiscus in Toronto

    Think about your last indulgance. After the initial few bites, chances are you weren’t really paying attention. So share!!! Sampling will satisfy that foodie drive to have it all while leaving you still feeling good.

    My favorite meal on this whole trip was at Hibiscus in Toronto. I ordered the salad which was delicious in its own right but also grounding and wholesome (there’s those keywords again ;)). Then I shared the banana nutella crepe that I really wanted and called it “dessert”.

    Hibiscus vegan banana nutella crepe

    Banana Nutella Crepe at Hibiscus in Toronto

That’s enough to work on for now! Next time you travel, use one of these six tips to be a balanced foodie. I promise you will enjoy your indulgences even more. Here’s to your health and happiness!

Adria DeCorteAdria DeCorte shares advice on her blog for eating clean, getting fit, and living a full simple life. She spent 79 days traveling the U.S. and Canada with a sense of adventure and a back seat full of food. Now 8,500 miles later, she’s posting photologs and how she kept things healthy while indulging her vegan foodie side. Follow her journey to build a healthy lifestyle from the most unlikely of places at Healthy Vegas Vegan. Or get extra tips on twitter @healthyvegasveg.


  1. You had me at Banana Nutella Crepe. *tummy growls* Great post!

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