Vacationing for us is just doing nothing. Nothing but eating, sleeping more than usual, and enjoying our little ones. We planned a road trip to an Indiana wedding right along with a trip to my grandparents in South Carolina to visit and recharge our depleted batteries. We’ve also been attempting to follow a serious budget so we knew we’d have to plan accordingly. That meant we’d be packing some of our own meals. This did not mean that we’d be eating less deliciously or less nutritious. Ok, a little less nutritious than our typical menu! A few days before we left I began food preparations by making some whole wheat pretzels, cheddar wheat crackers, and I hard-boiled some eggs. The night before we jam-packed a large cooler with picnic foods. Here is the run-through:
organic peanut butter
organic strawberries, blueberries, grapes, a sack of mandarin oranges, bananas
celery, carrots, cauliflower, pepper, cucumber, and snow peas, washed and cut-up
assorted baggies of organic nuts, organic chocolate-covered raisins, sun-drops, and a bar of Choco-love milk chocolate
2 bags of organic chips
a bag of leftover sourdough pancakes
a loaf of sprouted sliced bread
a loaf of artisan wheat bread
a bag of rinsed organic lettuce leaves
2 gallons bottled water to refill our adult water bottles and the babies’ sippy cups
1 4-pack of fruit soda for the babes
a zip-loc with 2 spoons, 2 butter knives, and 1 sharp knife, paper towel, and lots of baby wipes
Once on the road, in a rather cramped mid-size rental, I’d sandwich together slices of meat, cheese, lettuce, and mustard over a stack of paper towels across my knees. This took patience to make a “meal” neatly that fed a hungry man and two disastrous toddlers before feeding myself– but definitely helped some of the seemingly endless road time pass more quickly. For the children, I’d just keep handing back a steady stream of crunchy veggies or berries. They ate incredibly well, they were delighted with the idea of a picnic in the car. We ate variations of meat and cheese, pb&j, mounds of fruit and veggies, and snacks. This fed us wonderfully for around 3 days of travel.
Our first stop was Berne, Indiana, a tiny Swiss town populated mostly by tanned Amish folks. The inn we stayed at was comfortable but the in-house breakfast was classic SAD (Standard American Diet) fare. I had forgotten how dreadfully people eat every day. I watched an obese, elderly woman eat one miniature chocolate-covered doughnut after another. A hobbling gentleman drank nothing but coffee and a young family dug into biscuits and gravy. I had actually seen the desk clerk pour the powdered gravy mix into a crock-pot the night before. I ate my pancakes, I felt they were my nutritional bastion for the day. However, my babies and husband had no qualms about eating the cold cereal, in fact, Elliot decided it was fantastic! I tried supplementing their breakfast with bananas and organic peanut butter and decided to let any worries go.
In a land of incredible plenty; seafood, meat, dairy, and a wealth of produce we still manage to eat the most empty, processed garbage that manufacturers can dream up! While in Berne we found a cheese shop that sold very reasonable raw, organic cheeses. We bought 2 quarts of small, juicy, and local strawberries from an Amish family for $4 dollars. We delved into a mom and pop health food store where I salivated over just about everything before pouncing upon a trio of organic Frontier flavorings on sale. There is still an abundance.
In South Carolina, we were fed wonderfully by my grandparents for several days. I found myself hungry far more often and I wondered if that was due to not eating my typical nutritionally dense, fats-rich meals. My grandparents do well, food-wise, for their age bracket and still eat home-cooked meals frequently, choosing lots of cooked vegetables and fish over red meat. My grandpa does have an insatiable sweet tooth though, and my grandma has little tolerance for fiber of any kind.
Before we headed home we re-stocked up with fresh berries, water, snap peas, and other goodies. We were able to eat wonderfully and save loads of money that would have been spent on inferior, expensive fast food. Paul and the babies loved everything, (although the fennel sausage was too spicy for the babes) I would totally do it again, though next time I might make a few sandwiches ahead of time. Oh, and more pastured, softly hard-boiled eggs, so amazing with lettuce, mustard, and sliced onto bread!