Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Detour Edition

Yes, I know I promised Part II of The First Step. And it's coming. Soon. 

However, this past week my family took a road trip to Colorado to visit family and so I decided to write about eating real food on the road.  I'm going to be up-front and let you know we relax our norms a little while we're traveling, but still try to eat a good portion of fruits and vegetables, overall make good choices, and drink plenty of water, etc, etc.

This one takes a little preplanning.  If you leave yourself to the mercy of Billy-Bob's Truck Stop and America's Favorite Drive Thru, your options are going to be very, very limited. And you will pay a fortune for those items.  Our solution for car trips has been to pack a cooler, along with reusable water bottles, and a bag of snacks. (If you're flying you can still pack a couple nonliquid snacks in your carry on.)

The way there is always easier, because you're at your own home to prep.  My husband and daughter made peanut butter balls.  (Oh. so. yummy. You can find the recipe here. We substituted the coconut and currants for chocolate chips and almonds.)  The kids made individual snack bags of trail mix from ingredients in our pantry.  We packed fruits and vegetables, homemade ranch, granola and yogurt, Bunny crackers, water jugs and walla!  With some fruits and vegetables, it is better to cut them up and pack them in a hard container first.  Can we say smushed kiwi?  The trip out was a success, the only hitch being that I forgot to pack the lettuce for salad on day 2, so we feasted on trail mix, cantaloupe, and baby carrots at the park.

If you plan to eat out, it is a good idea to do a search on the internet first of to turn up healthier options.  These may not be visible from the highway.  Confession: we planned to eat at Jason's Deli in Amarillo, but ended up at Texas Roadhouse instead.  In my book, not a big deal.  We had eaten sandwiches for lunch, and you know, if you're in Amarillo...  At least we didn't attempt to eat the 72 oz steak.

The day before heading back home, we stopped at a local grocery store to stock up for the way home, and bought the following:
Granola Bars

Lettuce (for salad)
Grape Tomatoes
Organic Ranch
Kashi Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Izze Blackberry Sparkling Juice

Pita bread
Monterrey Jack Cheese

Organic Yogurt
Popcorn (didn't actually eat it, I'll explain later.)
Salt and Pepper Potato Chips
A couple of gallons of water to refill water bottles

Total cost: $65.  Add up the costs of eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks or bottled water on the road, and we estimated our savings to be $35 at a minimum. Although a few of the items we bought were more prepackaged than we like to eat, all of the food was either "natural" or organic, and it fit our no high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils goal.  Plus, still better than truck stop food. 

Speaking of which....

Somewhere around Amarillo our 115,000 mile state-of-the-art Chrysler minivan decided to give up the good fight.  The AC broke. For the third time this year. In over 100 degree weather.  With five hours left to go. In the interest of family harmony and cooling off the troops, the kids were allowed to pick out a cold treat at a gas station.  And I didn't even read the label.  Because it's not about doing it "perfectly," it's about doing it better.

(This is just how we did it.  Your version of "better" may look totally different than ours based on where your family is at.)

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