9 Tips for Healthier Summer Travel

It’s vacation season! You deserve the chance to get away and enjoy yourself, whether on a family trip, a getaway with friends, or a romantic weekend with that special someone. It’s time for you to relax, disconnect, and have fun. But who says that going on vacation has to take you away from your healthy habits? There’s no reason we can’t still focus on looking and feeling our best when we’re on the go. Here are nine healthy travel tips to help you do just that. 

9 healthy travel tips while still having fun9 Healthy Travel Tips

Getting away doesn’t have to mean getting off-track.


1. Load up on your vitamins. Yes, part of the appeal of traveling is the chance to get out of the day-to-day routine. But this break from the norm may not be so great for your health. Spending time in airports, sitting on the plane, and visiting new (often public) places can be a drag to your immune system. Minimize your chances of getting sick by taking Vitamin C regularly in the days before you leave. Be sure to pack it in your suitcase so you can take it while you’re on your trip, too! Nothing can ruin a vacation — or the transition that comes with settling back into your home after a vacation — like getting sick, so let’s avoid it at all costs! 

2. Choose water. You may be tempted to ditch your typical water intake and go for soda and fruit juice while you’re on vaca, but it’s best to resist the urge! Staying on track with plenty of water can be an easy wellness win, no matter where you are. Be sure to bring a reusable water bottle with you so you can throw it in your tote or beach bag throughout your adventures. 

3. Do your research. If you have access to the Internet, you have access to plenty of information about the restaurants and resorts available at your destination — even before you arrive! Put together an itinerary that includes spots that are the right fit for the trip you’re taking and the people you’re taking it with. Does the menu include items that address any dietary concerns? Is it kid-friendly? Dog-friendly? Does it seem to have the right vibe? All of this info is so easily accessible to you before you go. 

4. Eat breakfast every day. I know you want to jump right into the day’s activities so you can make the most out of every moment of your vacation, but trust me when I tell you that all of it can wait until after you’ve made the time to eat a balanced breakfast. Fuel up with plenty of protein and high-quality fats so you have maximum energy to enjoy yourself. Do I really need to remind you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? 

Firepit

5. Get a good night’s sleep. The only thing you can do to make your day the best it can be before the day even starts is to get plenty of rest! Making time for a full night’s sleep is important every day of the year, but it’s especially crucial when your body is worn down from travel and out of its usual routine. And since you’re on vacation, you might as well sleep in! 

6. Make time to exercise. Your primary goal in taking a getaway may be to get some extra R&R, but that doesn’t mean vacation is an excuse to stop moving your body. Plan time to get to the hotel gym or plan out a walk, hike, or bike ride that will give you a chance to explore the area. When you prioritize exercise, you stay on track with your wellness goals… and you’ll feel like you really earned that R&R. 

healthy travel tips infographic

7. Shut off from the Internet. Taking some time away from your screens is going to be really good for your mental health — and your mental health totally deserves a little attention when you’re on vacation. Set some real boundaries with the Internet and social media by leaving your devices in your room when you’re out enjoying the day and by committing to shutting them off after a certain hour so you can focus on being with loved ones. 

8. Order smart (within reason) while ordering out. As soon as you get out of town, you’re going to be overwhelmed with new and different foods, many of which may not fit into your typical wellness regimen. Don’t stress! It’s okay to indulge more than you normally would when you’re traveling — just don’t forget to listen to your body. Protein and veggies are pretty much always a safe bet, so load up on those with a more splurge-y option. And if you’re not feeling your best, try to curb your sugar and salt intake. You’ll be back to enjoying the vacation in no time! 

9. Live a little! Clearly, I don’t think it’s a good idea to totally ditch your health and wellness routines simply because you’re on vacation… but I also don’t think you should hold back from enjoying yourself! Find some special treats and indulge, whether that means splurging on a spa treatment, indulging in a dessert here or there, or sipping on an afternoon cocktail. Don’t beat yourself up! Focus on moderation and have some fun! 

Tomato, Eggplant, and Chickpea Stew

This Tomato, Eggplant and Chickpea Stew is a quick, hearty weeknight meal that uses up all the fresh summer veggies that are starting to roll in! Serve it as a vegetarian meal, or pair it with your favorite protein for a gluten-free and dairy-free dinner!

chickpea ragout with tomatoes and eggplantTomato, Eggplant Chickpea Stew

Hello summer produce! This Tomato, Eggplant and Chickpea Ragout is a hearty vegetarian main dish that is both light and satisfying. It’s also super quick to make, making this weeknight dinner a 30 minute meal! You can serve it as is, or you could pair it with another protein like fish or chicken, or you could pair this with pasta or spiraled veggies.

Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • 1 Large Eggplant
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, or 3 Large Fresh Tomatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Fresh Baby Spinach

Tomato and eggplant chickpea stew in pot with spinach

Do you have to peel the eggplant?

You can eat the skin of an eggplant and it does contain nutrients. But larger eggplants have tougher skins, and they do not do well in quick braised dishes like this one. Therefor, we are recommending to peel the skin off.

Can you mix up the veggies in this?

Yes! While we love the combination of eggplant, tomato and chickpea, you can substitute in other vegetables like:

  • zucchini
  • summer squash
  • mushrooms
  • cauliflower
  • kale

Eggplant chickpea recipe with tomatoes

If you like this vegetarian weeknight dinner, check out these others:

Tomato, Eggplant, & Chickpea Ragout

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:20 Total Time 00:30 Serves 4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and eggplant and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas, increase heat to medium-high and cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced slightly.
  4. Return the heat to medium-low and stir in the spinach.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve immediately. You can serve it as is for a vegetarian meal or serve with protein of choice, or pasta.

Recipe Notes

  • I served mine with pan-seared wild-caught salmon, but this dish is delicious with chicken or pork
Loading nutrition data...
There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

16 Must-Read Books for Summer

Summer has arrived, and with it (hopefully) long stretches of time that can be filled perfectly with a good book. Here are some the best books to read this summer. Throw in your tote or carry-on this season and enjoy!

best books to read this summer while relaxing16 Must-Read Books for Summer 

Cozy up in the sun with your new favorite read. 

TOTALLY BEACHY

Maybe you’re looking for the perfect book to toss in your beach bag as you prepare to spend the day luxuriating in the sun (with proper sunscreen, of course!). Or maybe you can’t quite make the time in your busy summer schedule to escape for a beachy getaway, and you just want to feel like you have the sand between your toes and the rush of the ocean in your ears. These reads will do the trick! 

1. The Light in Summer by Mary McNear: Find yourself transported to the idyllic world of Butternut Lake, a summery retreat where main character Billy Harper feels most like herself. Follow Billy’s journey on Butternut Lake for one fateful season, during which she comes to terms with the past, faces changes in her relationships, and realizes that happy doesn’t always have to mean perfection. So relatable, right? 

2. The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman: Adie Lou Kruger returns to her family’s home on Lake Michigan after navigating a devastating divorce and totally beats the odds when she decides to turn their old cottage into an inn instead of selling it. There’s a cast of eclectic and lovable characters and plenty of empowering moments. 

3. Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand: Bestselling author Elin Hidlerbrand is basically the queen of all things beach reading, and she’s done it again with her latest novel. The cover alone will make you want to put on your bathing suit and go for a swim, and the story it tells of a family experiencing the sixties will keep you busy for many summer hours. 

4. The Friends We Keep by Jane Green: Jane Green’s new release explores what happens when four best friends reunite after thirty years — on a vacation! It touches on themes of love, forgiveness, disappointment, and more. All the feels! 

FAB + FUN FICTION 

There’s nothing like some good fiction — a little romance, a little humor, a good story, you know the drill. No matter where your summer takes you, these fun titles will be the perfect companion. 

5. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner: Prepare to see this book everywhere this summer, no matter where you find yourself! (It’s a good thing the cover is so pretty.) Mrs. Everything follows two sisters as they seek very different dreams in difficult circumstances. There’s bound to be something for everyone in this one! 

6. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: If the word “wedding” is in the title, you already know this is going to be a fun one. The Wedding Date is a rom-com on paper, featuring a main character who agrees to go to a wedding with a guy she meets in an elevator when she finds herself without the all-important plus-one. What happens next? Grab your favorite sunglasses and find out. 

7. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren: Doesn’t this cover alone make you want to throw on your favorite maxi dress and drink something delicious out of a coconut? The Unhoneymooners is your classic odd couple story. Sworn enemies, weddings, Hawaiian resorts, a free vacation — it’s all there. 

8. Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke: Childhood sweethearts Justine and Nick reconnect unexpectedly, and if their astrological signs are any indication, a love affair seems almost inevitable. Justine attempts to take their relationship — and the stars — into her own hands to make it happen. Obviously, the dramatics unfold from there. 

PAGE-TURNING THRILLERS 

If you’re the kind of reader who likes to balance out afternoons of summer relaxation with some extra excitement, it sounds like you might want to consider grabbing a thriller to get lost in. Any of these four books will make you feel like you’re smack in the middle of a fast-paced, high-stakes scenario… and you won’t even have to leave your beach chair or put down your drink. 

9. The Girl Before by JP Delaney: I promise you that you will not be able to put this one down. The book is about two women, each of which has gone through a serious personal transition when the story begins. You won’t believe how they cross paths in the end. 

10. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris: Cass has been haunted by the sight of a murdered woman in an abandoned car in the woods, and no matter what she does, she can’t get the murder or the memory out of her mind. The Breakdown takes readers inside her brain as she figures out how to move forward from that chilling moment in the woods. 

11. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: After a few women are found dead at the bottom of a local river, you know that there are secrets just waiting to come out. And since Paula Hawkins is the well-known author of The Girl on the Train, there isn’t anyone better to share just how it all goes down. 

12. No Exit by Taylor Adams: This book packs a serious punch, with everything from kidnappings to blizzards to psychopaths. Bring this one to the beach and I guarantee that you’ll look up to find the sun setting in what feels like the blink of an eye. 

LEARN SOMETHING

Non-fiction can get a bad rap, but you’d be surprised by how much variety there is in this genre. Truth can really be crazier than fiction — and even when it’s not, it’s often just as well-written. Consider adding at least one non-fiction book to your reading list this summer. I promise that you’ll be excited about what you can learn. 

13. American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales: We all spend a lot of time talking about social media and the effect that its had on us, especially the kids and teens in our lives. In American Girls, award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales embarks on a deep dive into the issue, taking you inside the world of kids and social media. 

14. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: A book about the rise and fall of a multibillion-dollar tech startup may not sound like your typical beach read, but you might be surprised! This true story is so wild that you may find yourself assuming that it’s fiction as you fly through the story. People are going to be talking about this one everywhere — don’t miss out! 

15. Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer: A fun and fascinating take on non-fiction, Text Me When You Get Home will teach you everything you never knew you wanted to know about the history and importance of female friendships. You’ll discover how our friendships have changed over time, how they’re influenced by pop culture, and so much more. 

16. How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell: Trying to keep those relaxing summer vibes going into fall and beyond? How to Do Nothing can help you get there. Artist and critic Jenny Odell shares her thoughts on the many things that are competing for attention in our day-to-day lives… and gives you the tools you may need to start streamlining them. 

Book shelf

What books are you reading this summer?

Summer 2019 Books

Chopped Antipasto Salad with Chicken

Looking for a flavor-packed dinner that’s going to be a hit? This healthy chopped antipasto salad recipe with chicken is loaded with fresh ingredients and is simple to make! It’s low-carb, paleo-friendly and kind of like eating an Italian sub without the bread (making it gluten-free, too)!

close up shot of antipasto salad recipe

Italian Antipasto Salad Recipe with Grilled Chicken

Let’s talk about what’s in this easy weeknight dinner! To begin, this antipasto salad has the best marinated and grilled chicken. Secondly, this salad has all of the best Italian meats. And finally it has crisp chopped lettuce, fresh veggies and an amazing basil balsamic dressing. Have I sold you yet on eating this salad, or what?! This salad is basically an Italian sub turned into a salad with dinner-worthy chicken added in to make this hearty and delicious. This is to say, this is the perfect salad to bring to potlucks, picnics or cookouts or make it for dinner tonight!

Italian dressing being poured onto antipasto salad

What is antipasto salad?

The word antipasto in Italian specifically refers to a pre-meal course. But in this instance I’m referring to the American style antipasto salad made up of cured meats and veggies. This antipasto salad recipe adds the extra addition of marinated grilled chicken to make it feel a little bit more like dinner. If you want an even easier meal you could skip the chicken and bulk up on the veggies for an even easier no-cook dinner recipe.

What kind of meats are in it?

The grilled chicken is the star of this dish along with classic Italian-American deli meats: pepperoni and salami! However, you can add any other Italian meats that you love. Some other great options are prosciutto, capicola or ham!

Can you make it ahead of time?

You can assemble everything for this salad about 2-3 days ahead of time, setting the dressing aside until ready to serve! Therefor, this hearty salad is a great meal prep option as well! You can make a big batch and pack some for the work week ahead.

what is antipasto salad with pepperoni, salami, onions and chicken

If you like this hearty salad, check out these others:

Grilled Chicken Chopped Antipasto Salad

Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 0:40

Ingredients

    Marinated Grilled Chicken

    Everything else

    Basil Balsamic Dressing

    Directions

  • Chop chicken and place into a plastic bag
  • Add all marinade ingredients into the bag, toss, and set in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer
  • While marinating, chop lettuce, roasted red peppers, tomato, salami, pepperoni, and onion
  • Arrange in your dish
  • Remove chicken and heat your grill to medium heat
  • Place chicken on the greased grill for 9-12 minutes, flipping halfway through
  • Remove chicken and add to your salad plate
  • Take the additional 1/2 tbsp of seasoning and sprinkle over salad
  • In a bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients
  • Pour over salad and enjoy
  • Loading nutrition data...
    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    Gluten-Free Cherry Pie Bars

    These gluten-free cherry pie bars have all the deliciousness of a cherry pie without the time needed to actually making one! It uses nutrient-dense almond flour to make the crust and the crumble on top and is packed with fresh cherry flavor. These bars are gluten-free, dairy-free friendly, and the ultimate summer dessert!

    A gluten free cherry pie bar on a plateGluten-Free Cherry Pie Bars

    There is nothing better than an awesome summer dessert that is easy-to-make and made healthier using simple wholesome ingredients. These gluten-free cherry pie bars are just so delicious and so quick to put together! The crust is made out of almond flour and the filling is jam-packed with cherries that are sweetened just the right amount.

    We use the same mixture for the crust as well as the crumble topping, and precook the cherry filling on the stove top so that it’s just the right texture with minimal baking time!

    Let’s talk cherries

    We tested this with two different types of cherries: fresh sour cherries and frozen sweet cherries. They do result in slightly different flavors and textures but both are equally delicious. The fresh cherries are of course, a bit less sweet and have a firmer texture. The frozen cherries are sweeter and are a bit more juicy. The photographs shown in this article are the frozen sweet cherries and they have a darker color, but the video features fresh cherries. You can use whatever is available to you whether it be fresh or frozen cherries.

    Top view of gluten-free cherry pie bars

    What you need to make these cherry pie bars:

    • Almond flour
    • Tapioca flour
    • Coconut oil or butter
    • Maple syrup
    • Vanilla
    • Sea salt
    • Cherries, fresh or frozen
    • Maple sugar (or coconut sugar)
    • Arrowroot

    Here are the kitchen tools you need:

    gluten free cherry pie bars

    If you like this summer dessert, check out these others:

    Watch the video:


    Gluten Free Cherry Pie Bars

    Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:30 Total Time 00:45 Yields 12

    Ingredients

    For crumble crust and topping

    For Cherry Filling

    • 4 cups pitted cherries, halved (see note)
    • 1/3 cup maple sugar
    • 1 tablespoon arrowroot
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line an 8x8 baking dish with a parchment paper sling.
    2. In a large bowl add almond flour, tapioca, coconut oil (or butter), maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt and mix well until it turns into large crumbles. Place ⅔ of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and press down evenly.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Set aside.
    4. Meanwhile make cherry filling: in a medium saucepan add cherries, maple sugar, arrowroot and vanilla and mix well. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until filling becomes thick, about 5 minutes.
    5. Pour cherry mixture into parbaked crust and sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture on top and bake for 20 minutes. 
    6. Let cool completely before cutting.
    7. Store in refrigerator.

    Recipe Notes

    1. Do not substitute the maple syrup in the crust/topping with another sweetener, it will alter the recipe.
    2. You can substitute the maple sugar in the cherry mixture for coconut sugar if you wish.
    3. You can use frozen cherries here if you don't have fresh.
    4. Recipe and photos updated 5/16/19
    Loading nutrition data...
    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    How I Found a Therapist

    Finding the right therapists can be hard. But I’m sharing the way I figured out how to find the right therapist. It’s no secret that when crap hit the fan, I started going to therapy (in fact it helped me have the courage to write that post). Over the past year, almost weekly, I’ve shared a photo on Instagram stories of me going to therapy with the hashtag #breakthestigma. I felt compelled to share, over and over, because for one, I’ve found that people do still feel ashamed or anxious to talk to someone, and secondly, because of all the messages and feedback that I’ve received week after week. 

    Many of you have been writing in thanking me for talking about it and sharing that it has helped you open up and feel less alone. LCK readers wrote in saying that it’s given them the the encouragement to go out and find a therapist of their own, and many saying they’re grateful for me sharing to show that it’s OKAY to be vulnerable. And friends, it is OKAY to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be scared, have stuff going on, or just want someone to talk to! In fact, it’s real life.

    the best way how to find the right therapist

    How to Find the Right Therapist

    The biggest questions I get asked are: How do I find a therapist that is right for me? Do I have to try out many different ones to find ‘the one’? I know how daunting that can feel. The thought of telling your story over and over to a few different therapists sounds really tiring.  I also hear concerns that therapists won’t take insurance, or that you are worried you can’t find a high quality one. The answer is: they will and you can!

    So I decided to share the process that worked for me because there are answers to all of these concerns!

    The Resource:

    The most comprehensive resource I used to get started finding a therapist is: Psychologytoday.com. I seriously love this resource, and it was one recommended to me by a doctor of mine. Here’s how it works:

    Psychology Today Process:

    1. Enter your zip code.
    2. Sort by your health insurance provider.
    3. From there, a list will come up of practitioners in your area. You will see their photo, a bio, and when you click view, you will learn much more about them.

    Narrowing down the search:

    1. I read many of their bios, specialties, treatment approaches, and issues they often deal with.
    2. I made a list of 5-10 that I thought seemed like a good fit based on reading their information. Some won’t answer, won’t call back, or won’t be taking new patients, which is why I suggest starting with that range.
    3. I set up phone calls. This was an important part of my process. I had 5 phone calls set up. To start, be open to sharing a glimpse of why you want to talk to someone, and a few issues you feel ready to share. Type it out if you need to, but the best way to get a sense of the person, is to hear how they respond to what you share! I was able to weed out 3 out of the 5 therapists I spoke to right off the bat on the phone. How? I think you can get a real sense of a person, how they work with patients, and so much more on a 5-10 minute phone call. At the end of this phone process, I believe I subconsciously knew who was the better fit for me.
    4. So let’s say you’re left with 2-3 that might potentially work for you. Do a little more research. See if you can find out more about them online. Confirm they are close enough to your location, take your insurance, and any other details that need to fit for you. Then set up an appointment. You can also have another phone call prior if you want to go through those 2-3 again before meeting in person.

    Other issues to think about:

    I went into the search process having heard of a few therapeutic approaches I was interested in such as: EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other things like Hypnosis. So for me, I was also on the lookout on the Psychology Today website at their “types of therapy” and “treatment approach” that lives on the side bar of every therapist’ profile. Now, this might not be the case for you and that’s totally fine! But know it lives there if you are looking for it.

    That’s it! That’s the process I went through and it was fairly seamless. I hope it helps!

    Going to therapy

    Stay tuned for next Friday: I’ll be sharing some things I’ve come away with after going to therapy every week for over a year.


    Disclaimer: If you are really struggling and in a bad place, please contact your doctor first and foremost. Love you all. I mean it.

    How to find a therapist online