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Planning Meals for Summer Vacation

By +Carolyn Richardson on Jun 12, 2012 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

Summer vacation is rolling out across the nation and people are on the move. Whether it’s a trip to the local theme park or a cross country trek, a shake up in your meals is bound to happen when you’re away from home. With a little planning, you can enjoy the change in food options and come out on the winning end of eating well on vacation. Broaden the scope of planning what you’ll eat to thinking about how you’ll eat on vacation.

One Day at a Time

While your home environment lends itself to weekly meal planning, your vacation meal planning can be done a day ahead. Aside from the sit-down eateries you’re sure you want to visit, consider which places are close to area attractions you anticipate visiting. Ask personnel at these attractions about little known restaurants nearby. The chains are easy to find, but only locals will know how to steer you to the hidden gems that may be better experiences for your taste buds and your wallet. If you eat before you get on the road, by the time you finish sightseeing you may be ravenous, so consider walking to eat prior to enjoying a museum or historical site. Because you’re more likely to make an impulse buy when hunger strikes, be sure you’ve decided on meals when you’re fairly satisfied. Instead of leaving it for a decision made at a moment’s notice, scout out places prior to a day full of activities. Pre-planning allows you to know the hours of operation, prices, and healthy offerings available when you’re ready to eat.

Grocery Shopping

Even if you don’t have a kitchenette in your room, scout out grocery stores at your destination before you arrive. While you can bring food through security, if you’re in for a long trip, you’ll end up visiting a grocery store sooner or later. Not only should you stock up on water, but fresh fruit to snack on in case time gets away from you. Snappy vegetables like carrots or celery, and fruit like oranges, apples, and grape tomatoes, as well as nuts will keep your appetite at bay before meal time. Be prepared to store these by packing an insulated lunch bag and an empty stainless steel water bottle: both are fine to bring on airplanes. If you do have a kitchen and plan on cooking more than a meal or two, remember to bring small bags of the appropriate spices and condiments with you. Small packs of ketchup, mustard, pepper, garlic and some other things will really help you enjoy meals you make at your home away from home. You might also take fresh bread along as well.

Recipes: 9 Summer Sandwiches

Mobile Meals

Some vacations require a road trip which means eating full meals on the go. Think like the parents of a toddler to stay away from fast food drive thru windows. In addition to fresh produce, cereal, oatmeal, or granola can be brought along making a hot meal as easy as stopping for gas. Convenience stores should have hot water for coffee or tea and the usual cold beverages like milk or orange juice. Bagels or English muffins can be sliced prior to getting on the road and microwaved at the gas station as well. Drinkable yogurt is nice to pair with hard-boiled eggs as well. For lunch or dinner, chips don’t have to accompany sandwiches. In addition to beans, which keep great in a thermos, try dried fruit like banana chips or baked pita chips for a nice crunch.

Your thoughts…

How do you plan your meals while on vacation?


I cannot eat a full meal before I go on a long drive, but a cooler filled with halved sandwiches, low fat cookies, pretzels and water is great to bring along. The half-sandwich can be eaten on the trip without much fuss and the snacks are great to have if you're delayed in traffic but fairly close to your destination. (When I was a kid my mom would bring Circus Peanuts on road trips...I still shiver when I think of think of it!)

MMMM....Circus Peanuts...haha!

are those orange marshmellow things? my mom bought us those too

marshmellow fluff and peanut butter samwiches on wonder bread!

eeee gads!!

yup!  I think we brought them because they didn't melt in the heat.  They probably never melted when we ate them either!! LOL!

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