My gosh! How did it get to be the end of the school year already??? This seems like the perfect time to address traveling with your posse. The idea of days on end with kids suddenly without the structure of a school day makes one feel like leaving home. Learning to live well is tough enough when you can control your environment. When you’re at home you control what is in your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. If you’ve made the commitment (if you’re not there you are on your way) then you have “real food” everywhere. If you are normal then you also have a couple (just a couple) of items that you should have only once in a great while. Confession time… my 2 things are fresh buffalo mozzarella and butter. Activity-wise, you also have a routine. You’ve scheduled your work-outs, found your three 10 minute “chunks”, and have your favorite walking routes around the neighborhood. But what happens when you are NOT in control of your environment? Now there are plenty of times when I feel I have no control of my environment, but that mostly pertains to my 3 little angels and 1 big one. The actuality is that you can always control your choices and thusly it doesn’t matter what environment you are entering. You don’t ever have to take a vacation from the healthy lifestyle you’ve created, even when you are on vacation. Stop rolling your eyes long enough to see how painless it can be.
The Kuhel family travels each year and when the kids come (just about always) it is then a trip and not a vacation due to the amount of work that inherently comes with taking the whole circus on the road. To be quite honest, making our lifestyle changes at home came a lot easier than making those same changes in other situations. I really had to sit and brainstorm about how we could possibly do these things out in the real world. Let’s face it. The real world is loaded with choices that can lead us down an ugly path. That’s why our nation is in the shape (round is a shape) it is in. Here are a few ways we navigate our way through the dangerous sea called the vacation/trip.
- Plan ahead: Chances are you are not walking to your destination. At least not the whole way, I hope. That means you are either driving, flying or boating. If you are traveling another way (rocket ship, hot air balloon etc.) planning ahead will serve you well too. Most of these modes of transportation don’t lend themselves to having healthy snacks as part of the deal. You are going to have to bring some “real food” or pay an unreasonable amount of money for a few acceptable choices. The Kuhel family’s money tree in the front yard died so we watch our dollars as much as we can. If your money tree is thriving, then go ahead and take your chances but sometimes it doesn’t matter how much money you have. That gas station in the middle of nowhere isn’t going to give you fresh blueberries for a fistful of dollars. You are going to get a questionable mystery meat sandwich, a 2 year old Twinkie, and purple liquid in a dusty odd shaped bottle. Mmmm mmmm good.
Pack your snacks. If you are traveling a fair distance by car, be smart about it. For long trips I suggest packing 2 coolers and a snack bag. One larger cooler in the trunk or in the back of the minivan you said you’d never get. Use one smaller cooler for the front of the car. The larger cooler should be your replenishment cooler. This one should have lots of bottled water, 100% fruit juice boxes, string cheese, re-sealable bags filled with single servings of grapes, carrots, sugar snap peas, small dark chocolate bars (gotta have treats) and anything else your family likes cold. The smaller cooler should have smaller quantities of the same thing. No one wants to travel with a giant cooler inside the car and there is no way a little cooler is going to get you past the state line. The snack bag should be contain re-sealable bags filled with single servings of walnuts, almonds, whole grain cereal, home-made trail mix, whole grain crackers, pbj sandwiches, apples, bananas and containers of applesauce (don’t forget spoons). On our recent road trip, Renee was “snack manager” and she handed out snacks when anyone asked and monitored our inventory so we knew when we had to get supplies from the large cooler. She is a control freak so this was a sweet deal for her. Also, no one else wanted the job. Traveling by air has restrictions on liquids so you are just going to have to buy water after the security check. Your snack bag is obviously going to be smaller, but be sure to bring it. Somehow I can’t justify $7 + (or something like that) for a box with $2 (or something like that) worth of marginal snacks.
That’s about all for part 1. Part 2 to follow soon.
Till next time…live well! Toni Kuhel