Om our last tour it was much easier to stick to my plan of eating healthy. We spent a good bit of time in the midwestern United States, and it was a little more difficult to stick to my plan here because carbs and meat are such a huge part of people’s diet here, but I was able to make it work.
Chicago had some particular gems and since we spent several days here as part of a festival, I’m glad I got to know them. One of the ways I try to eat healthier on the road is by eating less meat. Not only does this help make sure I eat more vegetables but, vegetarian options usually have fewer calories and are more nutritionally dense than meat-filled meals.
While out on the road, this can be a little difficult to do, but if you know the right places, there are some healthy options. One of the best places to find healthy options is a small little cafe in Wrigleyville, called Pick Me Up Cafe. There were plenty of unhealthy choices, like cheese fries, and chili cheese fries and French bread pizza, but almost everything on the menu can be made vegan, and there were plenty of salads. I had a big salad and a sandwich made with seitan, which is a vegan meat replacer.
Another great place I found was the Medaterain Grille. Middle Eastern food is usually healthy because there are lots of salads and low carb options. You have to be careful about fried foods and fatty meats at these kinds of places, but if you make good choices like falafel, tabouleh, hummus, and veggie sticks, you can eat well and cheaply.
OF course while in Chicago, we had to have Chicago style hot dogs. Hot dogs are not exactly healthy, so I opted for a vegan dog from Clark Dogs in Lincoln Park because at least I knew what was in it.
Eating while traveling doesn’t always mean that I eat out for every meal. If we stay in someone’s house I try to cook a meal, which helps. Even something simple like quinoa and salad is both cheaper and healthier than most of the food you can get at restaurants and fast food places. Sometimes something simple, such as a sandwich or big salad is a great option too. A lot of my friends do have some pretty sweet cooking set ups though. So that usually means I’m treated to smoked meats from their new electric meat smoker.
This time we stayed in a hotel, so we didn’t have access to a kitchen, but I was able to buy some salad kits and add a few things like canned beans and grilled chicken. I also try to buy healthy snacks. Roasted chickpeas, broad beans, and air-popped popcorn are some of my favorite snacks. I usually carry some fruit, like an apple or an orange. I used to take bananas, but I would often find them smooshed at the bottom of my bag.
This trip was no different and I’m glad I was able to eat well, while still staying in my budget. Chicago and the midwest have lots of great food to offer and I’m glad I was able to try so much of it without worrying about my diet.