My husband and I love traveling during the summertime. Both of our jobs allow us to take off more time than the average person, which we are both very grateful for. Extra time off traveling for us means also going on family vacations with my side and his side of the family. We each go a week with each side of the family and the rest of the time is spent traveling for just the two of us.
Both of our families are from the south, so that means lots of unhealthy food cooked when each family gets together. My mother is an avid baker and always brings lots of sweet treats on our beach trips. I love nothing more than a nice piece of cake and coffee for breakfast but that is just not feasible on a regular basis. If I told myself that its vacation so I can splurge and I eat a piece of cake every day we are on vacation, well………that is a lot of cake.
As for my husband’s family, no one is an avid baker but healthy eating is not something they do. They are a red meat and potatoes family all the way. Well I barely ever eat red meat and the only potatoes I eat on a regular basis are sweet potatoes. So the question is posed, “what do I eat on family vacations?”
If you have read my blog post about how to stay healthy when traveling, you probably already know part of the answer to the question. Plan ahead. I know months in advance when we are planning to take family vacation. About a few weeks before we leave, I start planning my list of foods from home I want to bring and which ones I need to pick up from my health food store before we leave. Neither of the vacations we go on with our families requires flying, so I am able to pack up almost everything I need in a bag or cooler for the car ride. The only thing I do not take from home is fresh produce. I buy that at a local grocery store when I get to our destination.
Another good tip I have found to be extremely helpful is that I make my own healthy dessert before I go. That way, when my family members are enjoying a sweet treat I can too but just a treat that has no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar. I want to be able to enjoy my vacation without feeling sick the whole time.
My wonderful father-in-law knows my diet is different from the rest of the family’s so he always makes eggs and turkey bacon for me at breakfast. I just steer clear from the biscuits and jelly that are being served. Even though my mother brings lots of sweet treats for everyone to enjoy, she typically asks if there is a gluten free dessert that she can make for me as well. Most of the time, if you just explain to your family why you are not eating specific foods, they will understand and try to help you out.
If my family members are eating snacks, I just eat the ones I bring. If they are eating sandwiches for lunch, I make a salad. I will branch out a little if we go out to dinner and I don’t get to eat at that specific restaurant very often but I don’t do that every night for dinner. It is easier to stay on track with my side of the family because we go out for dinner every night. Therefore, I am able to choose healthy options. It is a little harder with my husband’s family because they cook dinner almost every night. Since I know this, I always discuss with my in laws what they plan to cook for dinner each night. If they are cooking something I cannot eat, I just make something different for myself; most of the time they do their best to cook food I can eat.
It can be hard sometimes when you are with family and they are enjoying food that you cannot eat or do not care to eat because of diet restrictions. Nevertheless, if you plan ahead, you can still stay on track during family vacations. It just takes a little willpower.