Monday, December 15, 2008

Vacation Food

I know that the question on everyone's mind is how did food go on the trip? Lucky you, I'm going to address that very issue. Overall, I'd say it went well. I came home up 1/2 pound and Anthony came home up 2 pounds, which was less than half of his previous trip gain. I'm going to talk a lot about what we ate, specifically, to help me remember for future travel food opportunities. Feel free to skip this post, if you're not interested. Of course, you can always do that!

We ate what was served on the plane on the way there and back, which was very cheesy pasta dishes both ways for me. Davan, the anti-cheese girl, didn't eat the pasta on the way back because it was too cheesy. She ate it on the way there because I don't think she realized that there was cheese melted in the sauce. Both ways, I gave her my roll to eat. Anthony got chicken on they way there and steak on the way back. We all indulged in the dessert that was offered, as well as Sunchips and Biscoff cookies as they were offered.

Our other not so healthy meals were the birthday/memorial, the character meal and one other dinner at the park, which my parents treated us to.

Other than those meals, we did pretty well by our standards for healthy food. I packed a few food items - oatmeal, a jar of creamy peanut butter, flax meal, hemp protein, trail mix with raw nuts and unsweetened dried fruit, freeze dried strawberries. My mom packed a muesli that she, Dennis and Anthony like, more flax meal, a few bars (mostly nuts, fruit and honey sorts of things), coffee and a couple of apples. We ate Sunday breakfast out of that food, then Anthony and I went grocery shopping.

We ate breakfast at our room every day. We packed lunch and snacks every day to take with us and usually ate every single thing we packed. Every day's packed food included apples, oranges, grapes, trail mix and bars. In addition, one day was hummus, mini whole wheat bagels and carrots. Two other days' lunches were peanut butter sandwiches with or without cucumbers, depending on liking with extra cucumbers on the side and, one of those days, lightly steamed green beans. One day we had whole wheat pitas and carrots with mashed avocado with tomatoes or hummus to dip. We took leftover soup one day in containers I'd brought along from home. The remaining lunch was tortilla wraps with refried beans for everyone, plus salsa and spinach added as desired. Everything but the soup was easy to eat as we stood in lines, although we sometimes ate sitting down, as seemed appropriate for the day. Mostly, though, we grazed our way through the snacks in lines throughout the day.

In the evenings, we ate really easy stuff, as we were often not back from the parks until around 7:00. We had salad every night with salad in a bag (not including the dressing). We had whole wheat pasta with jarred marinara sauce one night. We carefully shopped for marinara sauce with no high fructose corn syrup at all and little or no added sugar or oil. That night we also had some frozen veggies - broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. Another night was taco salads and burritos. The earliest night we were back from the park, I made soup with canned beans, frozen veggies, broth, left over salsa and whole wheat pasta. This is what we took for lunch one day as leftovers.

Three nights we ate elsewhere, but I'd planned one other meal that we didn't end up eating. That night was to be canned lentil soup over boil in a bag brown rice. I brought those things home, sense we hadn't used them.

I made blueberry smoothies every morning, which was kind of expensive. It was a little frustrating, too, working with the blender on hand, rather than the Vitamix, but we did come to an understanding, the blender and I. We had spinach in our smoothie every morning, helping to keep up our greens. I made smaller smoothies than I usually do at home and we supplemented with either Cheerios, which are rather a treat for us as I don't buy them for at home, and/or peanut butter oatmeal with apples.

I was pretty happy with how the food went, but next time, I'd take spices. I didn't even have cinnamon and I really missed it for the cereal. Seasonings for the soup beyond the broth and salsa would have been nice, too.

We did food for five with every meal because my mom asked me to shop and plan food for her and my step dad, as well. Food seemed to be more expensive there than in Oregon, but we spent about $220 dollars for the week for the five of us, not including the meals we ate out. Of course, we probably took a good $40 worth of food, too. We ate lunch on the way home off of what we'd bought, as well, so we ate 17 meals total from that $260. That breaks down to about $3/meal per person.

We'd have done better, honestly, if we didn't do blueberry smoothies every morning, as just the blueberries accounted for about $50 of the grocery money. Yikes! Figuring that out makes me want to be a lot more cautious about our blueberry consumption, which sucks because they are so yummy and good for you. But, geez, if we'd done something else, say apples and oatmeal, it would have been more like $220, which would make it more like $2.50 a meal. Is it worth it? Something to think about.

We did have some food left that was brought back home - a little trail mix, the rice and lentil soup, a couple of spray dressings we'd gotten to try out and a little bit of Cheerios. We ate all of the perishables and only threw out some CoffeeMate (my parents' addition) when we left.

We also freely shared with my aunt and uncle at the park. They didn't eat too much of what we'd packed, but I'd say that sharing with them accounted for another couple of meals for each of them, thinking about it, over the course of the week.

All-in-all, minus the expensive blueberries, I'm pretty pleased with the food and I was really glad we had a place with a kitchen. Even if we'd tried to make good choices, if we were eating food at the parks, it would have been very difficult. They did have whole fruit available some places and salads (most with chicken, though) at most restaurants, as well, but it still would have been very difficult to make the right choices and it would have been much, much more expensive. Even eating fast food outside of the parks would have cost more. Of course, feeding us all on ramen noodles would have been even cheaper, but not very healthy. It's all about trying to find the balance.

Meanwhile, I watched a short video today that made me want to go back organic produce. Sigh. It's really out of our budget. I try periodically and am shocked by how much more expensive it is.

I also watched this today. Davan and I watched it together and had a good discussion about it after. With my mediocre connection, I found that it was very stop and go to watch it at the home site, though, so I got it in chunks off of YouTube. Go check out the original web site, though.

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