“How was your first extended travel with your meal plan, and how did it change from your weekly meal plan? What were tricks you used to help keep you focused on the goal?”
(A few trip meal combos by Charlie – 1 – Sweet Potato, Kale, Corn, & White Bean Hash over Quinoa, 3-Bean Salad, Turkey Quinoa Kale Burger with Salsa, & Cucumber & Carrot Salad with Balsamic Dressing / 2 – Lemon Chicken Salad with Cucumber Dippers / 3 – Sweet Potato, Kale, Corn & White Bean Hash with Salsa Smothered BBQ Pork Meatballs, & Cucumber Carrot Salad with Balsamic Dressing)
When I was getting ready for my first week-long vacation away from my own refrigerator and daily prepared meals, I won’t lie…I felt a bit nervous about how this would all work, knowing I would be spending my entire days and nights with family who LOVE to eat good food and hang out at McMenamins restaurants and pubs. Additionally, our family is fairly active, so I knew we’d be finding trails to take, which meant being away from the kitchen for extended periods of time.
I’m an organizer at work and at home, so the lists came first, followed by the prep work and packing. Jamie, Drew, and I had a meeting the week before my trip to discuss the logistics of what foods I’d be taking for all eventualities (hikes, restaurants, BBQ’s, etc.), how they’d be packed, and what might be shared with others to make it a more shared experience. Jamie came up with picnic and BBQ-friendly recipes, which were fun and fit in really well with our agenda. I researched all the restaurant menus in the area that we might spend time at, including all of the McMenamins in the area, and was able to determine what food items within my strict diet were available, and made notes. I was going prepared!
Once the recipes for my week were decided upon and the meals were prepared, Jamie and Drew placed all of the food in bigger, multi-serving containers for easy transport for me. By now I’m well able to sort out my own meal portions and know what goes with what for the meals, so the bigger containers worked fine and were easier to travel with. I bought a good cooler to transport my food and the chest I chose was an Igloo on wheels with a retractable handle to easily move about. Check this out! It was designed to keep food items cold for up to 4 days, which was perfect, and I just added ice when needed. The food containers worked well with the cooler, and everything packed neatly, allowing two bags of ice. Perfect.
I drove about 2 ½ hours to our family’s mutual meeting place with everything intact. I’d already told my sisters about the special diet I was on and they’d been my cheerleaders from a distance for the past 5 months, so the support I received all week was amazing. I was excited to be able to share some of the things I would be eating, with my family, such as my favorite chicken salad, salsa, and three-bean salad which was a particular favorite of my niece. All of the salads were shared at BBQ and dinner times, which were spent at home, and the salsa went everywhere with us in a smaller ice bag, along with my veggies and spiced pumpkin seeds, and some portable salad combinations. The portable ice bag worked well. I was able to fuel up with the family before taking off on the hikes, and I took a small bag of veggies and seeds with me on the trail, along with water.
For the days we ended up at a McMenamins, I already knew exactly what I was going to order, based on my research, and I always took my own salad dressing to make sure just things I was allowed were ever on my plate. The only time there was a bit of a struggle for me was when the big baskets of tater tots were being shared around the table. But I persevered, because I was on a mission to a healthier me, and I was not going to fail. Thankfully, grilled salmon, veggies, and green salads (with my own dressing), can be found most places, so that was a win, and I really enjoy iced tea, which is what I drank…a lot!
Was this first venture out a success? Yes, it was! I lost 2 more pounds in 4 days, which was enough to drop me to the next pant size. Not bad for a holiday week with a “foodie” family. I’m now down 42 lbs., 20”, and down 4 pant sizes. Many thanks to Jamie for the recipe research and providing recipes to share, and to both Jamie and Drew for getting it all diced, chopped, sliced, and packed to make this a very doable thing. Which is good, because I’m doing this all again next month, when I drive the 800 miles to visit my family for a week…two states away.
What I believe…Life is an adventure, and there’s no excuse for not participating. Where there’s a will, there is a way, and if we persevere and refuse to give up, we will figure out how to make it all work out. After all, isn’t that part of the adventure?