Wednesday, July 4, 2012
10:49 AM Nacia Walsh 1 comment
HAPPY 4th of JULY Granolaville!!
Ahh vacation. Just saying the word usually evokes visions of relaxing by the pool, drinks with tiny umbrellas, a plethora of succulent foods, and a beach-ready body.
It’s funny, but rarely do you ever hear talk of post vacation syndrome---you know sun burnt skin, chlorine damaged hair, and 10 extra pounds that magically appears.
My family and I recently took a trip to the lush Berkshire Mountains in southern Massachusetts. For my husband, part of the allure of Great Barrington, MA were the dozens of restaurants--- many with a focus on local organic ingredients. Our family, as whole, has made a conscious shift to improve our health by sticking to real foods. So anything we can’t pronounce, don’t understand, has the word “modified” attached, or can sit on a shelf for a year without going bad, is OUT!
That being said, it is very hard to pass up delicious brownie sundaes or deep fried…well…ANYTHING, especially when you are on vacation (were only human). But for the most part we try to put good things into our bodies. At the end of our hectic day real food helps our body’s to function properly and give us energy. In addition, our middle son is also on a strict diet due to his dairy allergy and gluten intolerance, so picking suitable places to dine, while on vacation, can be tricky.
I don’t know what it is about sleeping in a hotel room, but somehow when I’m on vacation I leave my rational, nutritionally savvy self at home and replace her with wide-eyed tourist with no regard for healthy eating. It can be challenging to stay focused and not get temped by the local cuisine (especially when smothered in BBQ sauce).
So, for this trip I tried to keep in mind some useful tips that would allow us all to enjoy ourselves, without falling into overindulgence.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
I usually make fun of my husband by saying his favorite word is ‘research’. Whether we’re buying a car, new appliance, or cupcake, the man has to make sure he’s read every review which then gets mapped out on a color-coded excel spreadsheet…no I’m not exaggerating.
But in the case of our latest trip I was actually happy for his overly analytical mind. He read everything from Travelocity.com, to the Great Barrington Chamber of Commerce site, to find out which eateries fit within our dining tastes, had enough choices for our son, and weren’t going to break the bank. Luckily for us the area we chose had a gluten free organic pizzeria and pasta shop, and a homemade creamery with non-dairy sorbet!
Wherever you travel, map out where you want to eat. Hopefully you’ll find some great restaurants and won’t be at the mercy of your hungry stomach telling you to pull into the closest fast food joint.
2. Pack SnacksWhether your destination is a short car ride or a 3 hour flight, having an arsenal of healthy, snacks on hand can be the difference between processed airport food and a fresh alternative. I knew that the hotel we were staying at would most likely only have a typical carb-filled continental breakfast (which would wreak havoc on my son’s stomach). So I made sure to have snacks and breakfast options for him.
Trail mix (Almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, raisins)
Gluten-free cookies & pretzels
Organic instant oatmeal, with cinnamon and a small container of real maple syrup (not that high fructose corn syrup concoction).
3. Pretend you are Eating at Home
This is usually where I meet my demise. Like I said I’m like a different person on vacation. One who drinks McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes (they’re only for a limited time!!), garlic aioli cheese fries, and buffalo chicken quesadillas. I know I know. Shame on me for giving you advice I can’t even follow. Well I’m not perfect, and I’m betting neither are you.
BUT, I can admit when I make artery clogging mistakes then promise myself next time I won’t go so nuts. Instead I’m going to think of the outside world as an extension of my home. If I wouldn’t put it in my mouth at home, I probably shouldn’t put it in my mouth while in another state or country.
4. Save Up the Sugar
Though I think rules are important, it’s also important to know when to
break bend them. If you are going to have a treat after a
long day of sight seeing or laying on the beach, make an event out of it! Maybe
it’s at the end of your trip or even in the middle, but pick a day where you
plan on throwing all caution out the window and really enjoy yourself. I mean
you ARE on vacation right?
So if relaxing means a giant sundae with caramel, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and gummy worms---- go for it. By saving up your indulgences, instead of having a little each day, it becomes special, not habitual eating. Tell your kids if they behave all week and eat there veggies they get to have a sugar feast before you go home. I swear bribery works every time.
5. Share the Wealth
Now I know you probably want to down that whole dessert by yourself, but restaurants DO give you more than one spoon for a reason. Instead of each person getting their own after-dinner goodness, try getting one or two to share for the table. That way you won’t be upset you couldn’t get the hot apple strudel sundae and the key lime pie…you can have a little bit of both!! That’s called a win-win people.
6. Have a Picnic
Nothing says vacation like packing up a cooler or basket filled with delicious foods and copping a squat on a blanket overlooking a beautiful view. Instead of hitting up a local restaurant, go to a grocery store and have your kids help pick out what they’d like to eat ( with your final approval of course). It will be just like eating at home, but in between yummy salads and sandwiches the kids can toss a football or play tag, all while soaking up some Vitamin D.
7. Don’t Stress
So you fallen off the proverbial healthy food wagon; filled with all its antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Instead you decided to do a running dive, face first, onto the carbohydrate cart. So what! Vacation is supposed to be a time to relax and rejuvenate, not make yourself crazy by counting every calorie. Don’t beat yourself (or your kids) up if you don’t adhere to your usual fantastic regimen. Just try to make the best food choices you can and above all ENJOY YOURSELF!