As summer approaches, plans are in the works for family vacations. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, Disney World or a camping trip, kids are thrilled about being away from school for a while.
Taking your family on the road doesn’t mean you have to take your family off of a healthy and well balanced diet. A little planning goes a long way when it comes to eating nutritious foods away from home. The following guidelines offer a starting point to planning your summer vacation, with nutrition in mind.
- If traveling by car, plan some cooler friendly meals to pack ahead of time. If you are driving to your vacation destination, prep items the night before you leave. For example, you can make sandwiches, pack individual bags of fruit and vegetables, and then throw them into the cooler on your way out the door. If you are flying to your destination, confirm the airline’s guidelines on food and snacks. Make plans accordingly—even if it means having to feed your kids earlier than their regular meals. This will also help with any unexpected delays that may occur due to airline delays.
- Find out where the restaurants are along your driving route. If you’re flying, research the hotel’s menu and menus of nearby restaurants as well. Don’t wait until the last minute—a little research saves much hassle in the long run.
- Some hotels offer kitchenettes, allowing guests to prepare their own meals. This can be a useful option; however, not all kitchenettes are created equal. Some may come with a full set of pots, pans and utensils, and others may only come with the basics. Confirm the details with hotel staff.
- Preview local restaurant menus online prior to dining out. This will help you decide which restaurants offer the best selection of healthy foods for your family.
- While planning nutritious meals during your family's vacation is a wonderful idea, understand that vacations are often best enjoyed with a bit of spontaneity. Look for a local ice cream or frozen yogurt shop as a fun surprise for your kids. A scoop of ice cream with sprinkles won't derail your nutrition efforts, but it will make for a fun memory with your kids.
- If your child has food allergies, contact the hotel prior to arriving about preparing special dishes. Most hotel chefs are happy to honor food allergy requests, but they should be made in advance.