Eating to lose weight on a road trip. Or not.

Never have I been so acutely aware of my food intake than when I embarked on a road trip this past week.

Suddenly, the safe monotony of my home kitchen was no longer available, and I had to be super careful on what to put in my mouth in order to be healthy and to hopefully continue the weight loss as I holiday’ed with the girls.

I normally eat lots of greens (spinach!), protein (chicken, beef, eggs, nuts, seeds), fruit (bananas, cherries, pineapple) with the occasional whole grains thrown in.  Peanut butter is my pre-workout go-to spread.  I also have protein, vitamin and veggie powders on hand to add to morning smoothies (such as GNC‘s veggie mix and Shakeology).

Sounds easy enough to re-create on the road, right? Wellllll…

I brought my blender with me (ha!) for the dual purpose of pina coladas and smoothies, but I only used it once.  I also brought all the ingredients for my current fav salad (spring mix, baby spinach, strawberries, kumquats, almonds, white onion and sweet onion dressing) but that never happened either.  Two bananas travelled more than 1,990 kms and through two international border crossings without being consumed.

So what did I eat? And drink?  (Or perhaps, what didn’t I drink??)

In Invermere, six of us girls stayed in a fantastic loft suite at the Copper Point Resort complete with a kitchen, living room and BBQ on the balcony.  Pre-10K-race, I managed a smoothie and granola bar but for the remainder of the weekend, it was all about sandwiches from the Kicking Horse Cafe (Wink!), delicious homemade guacamole with lots of garlic, cilantro and chunks of tomato (Melissa!) , and creamy, cheesy baked artichoke dip (Cara!) served with pita chips and Tostitos. Mmmm moderation.

Celebrating a birthday (Jill!) on the trip as well, the drinks were always topped up: vodka seemed to be the safest liquor choice there (~75 calories), although when we crashed a golf tourney party straight Jaeger was the only option (that’s 103 cals a shot, but I guess that doesn’t count if it comes back up….).

With stellar service and a delicious menu, Sunday brunch at the Eagle Ranch Clubhouse was amazing.  I started with the daily soup (a roasted potato and bacon with horseradish) followed by a Caesar salad (all while mooching a bit of fish n’chips from another plate…). And then it was on the road, heading stateside.  For all the driving we did, we didn’t have chips, pop, candy or other typical road snacks. Which was good!

From there on in, it was all about TRYING to keep it down to a dull roar.  Nothing was going to be as clean as eating straight spinach. Portion size became the name of the game as we made our way though Whitefish, Lakeside and Bigfork.  Wakeboard Wit ale at the Tamarack; grilled bacon & cheese sandwich at Spinnaker’s chased by Paralyzers made with huckleberry vodka; the massive rancher’s breakfast of eggs, ham, house-made English muffins and huckleberry jam, and potatoes (couldn’t finish it!) at the Pocketstone Cafe

Arriving for a three-day stay at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, we discovered the dining car to be an unexpected highlight. Chef J’s menu offered carefully crafted dishes using local meats, dairy and produce. We sampled as much as possible during our visit, and often shared our selections.

We didn’t ever have breakfast, but for lunch we tried the Monte Cristo (ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, French toast, huckleberry jam), the Chicken (grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cheddar cheese, roasted red pepper aioli) and the Vegetarian (roasted summer squash, zucchini, shiitake mushroom, olive tapenade, herbed goat spread, wheat bread) all with soup or salad. I loved the thick, rich tomato basil soup with wee oyster crackers.

For dinner, I think we started with the “Crostini & Tapanade” every single night (how can one refuse olive tapanade & goat cheese??);  and tried the grilled Caesar, the spinach salad, the buffalo à la bourguignon, the mushroom risotto and the summer vegetable ratatouille.  The only dessert we ordered was one huckleberry cobbler, to share, and then we drank a few different brews, margaritas (research for Project Margarita), and Montana Mules (local whiskey, ginger beer, etc).

After we left Essex, our drive looped along the outskirts of Glacier National Park, and then bent Northward once again.  Crossing the border, Banff became the final holiday destination, driving like mad to hit the 9:30 pm kitchen cutoff for the Bear Street Tavern where I happily indulged in my favourite pizza, the Big Bird (chicken, bacon, spinach, onions, goat cheese, mozzarella, pesto, pizza sauce) served up with honey & rosemary oil.

Wow – that was a lot of talk about food. (Mmmm food).

In the end, I did gain just under 2 lbs – sigh!!!  But I’m back at it now to work it off and streamline the food (and drink!) intake.

It was, of course, all worth it.

PS. If you are ever in Lakeside, MT, go to Spinnaker’s and Ashley will take care of you. She is amazing. Look for our #YEG dollah-dollah bill taped to the bar ceiling.

PPS. In Essex, MT, go to the Izaak Walton Inn’s dining car and make sure Mike is your server. He is knowledgeable, attentive and funny as hell.  Ask him to do the Linus dance for you. Tip him big.

PPPS.  If you decide to stay at Copper Point Resort in Invermere, BC, remember that while the rooms are still nice, the service (from F&B through to rooms) is on the downside of mediocre.  Don’t hope to be impressed.  The only top service in the hotel is at the spa – which is outsourced.