After the long grey cold Michigan winter, Jill's family is ready to drive south and settle into a week of play & adventure in the warm salty air, soft beach sand, and soak up some much needed vitamin D and carve out some nourishing family time....oh and her husband sure gets his workout launching the boys all day long.
Jill is sharing her vacation meal plan + a few of the recipes she'll be taking on this trip in hopes of inspiring you to plan ahead and prepare healthy meals the next time you're heading out for vacation. PLUS, she included some of her favorite sunscreen products and a helpful link to find products that have less harmful chemicals in them.
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Call it excitement or a crazy ritual or the planner in me, (my friends Christi and Kate can attest to this!) when I go on a trip, I meal plan WAY in advance. I also create a dozen lists:
a list of clothes to pack
a list of beach/toys to pack
a list of games
a list for car activities
a list of lists
and of course, the meal plan and the the shopping list.
We aren't a family who goes out for dinner every night when we're on vacation. We play all day and then decompress at night in our own space. Our kids are young enough that they really do enjoy the downtime at "home" after a long day's adventure outdoors. It's also less expensive to eat in.
Because we're driving, I pack a tote of several pantry items that correspond with the recipes I'm using (spices, coconut oil, canned tuna etc) to make my grocery shopping quicker, easier and less expensive. I'm also packing my VitaMix blender. Anyone who's been on our 14-day Reset programs knows the value of a nutrient dense smoothie and we love them for breakfast, so I'm packing my trusty smoothie-making machine. And I'll admit, Angelle, and I have been known to bring our blender on camping excursions too!
I don't like to spend a lot of time cooking and shopping on vacation, so I make my grocery list ahead of time which makes the shopping easy and mindless. I also have a freezer full of grassfed, local meat in my basement, so we take a cooler along and add the freezer meat, serving as ice packs and a clean/easy source of protein while we're away. It saves me a lot of time at the store so I don't need to spend any time tracking down high quality protein.
When I create my list, I choose healthy recipes I've made several times so the prep and cooking time is quick and easy. A tip for you is to choose meals that you've made before that are quick and healthy. I follow the general & relaxed guidelines from my usual weekly meal planning to include proteins, friendly fats and colorful carbs (aka fruits & veggies) at each meal.
Here's the DINNER MENU PLAN:
Day 1: Brats + sweet potato fries + steamed broccoli
Day 2: Baked wild salmon + avocado salad
Day 3: Chicken curry lettuce wraps
Day 4: Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps with guacamole
Day 5: Taco Salads
Day 6: Shrimp Pasta
Day 7: Crane Dance Farm Petite Ham + tropical salsa + kale saute
Day 8: Eat out
Day 1: If you live in West Michigan, do yourself a favor and visit Crane Dance Farm at the local farmers' market. Check the link above for details on their farm. We love their brats. We omit the bun and open the brat lengthwise and stuff them with avocado and sauerkraut. I personally love the jalapeño brats. Delicious.
Day 2: Bake the salmon for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F with sea salt and olive oil and top with the avocado salad from our Fall Reset. It's super easy and oh so delicious and refreshing. I've included the Avocado Salad recipe below.
Day 3: For Chicken Curry lettuce wraps, I have 2 roaster chickens slow cook in the oven while I'm at the beach. I come in at the end of the day and pick off the meat and throw all the ingredients together. The Curried Chicken Salad recipe is HERE and it's delicious. I use the meat of the second roaster to make a yummy quinoa tabbouleh salad (coming in Spring Reset). Having made the time to do this early in the week, we're good for just about the entire week of lunches. I literally walk off the beach to our place, take lunch out of the fridge, plop it on a plate and walk it back down to the beach. **This simple prep ahead of time the first day or two of vacation sets us up for ease the rest of the week.
Day 4: Fish Tacos, from the Spring Reset menu plan are fun & easy - cook & season the fish and add toppings like guac, sliced cabbage, radishes and fresh lime in a lettuce cup.
Day 5: Taco Salads are delish. Made with Chef Jackie's Taco Seasoning mix, I make the seasoning ahead of time and pack it in a ball jar in my pantry tote. Simply cook the ground beef with the taco seasoning mixture and put atop romaine + guac 'n fix in's. Click HERE to get the Taco seasoning recipe link from a previous blog post.
Day 6: Shrimp Pasta is a classic standby for us on every vacation. We'll get local shrimp down there and I usually cook it up with a garlic lemon butter sauce, add fresh chopped cilantro and pine nuts and wilted spinach over brown rice noodles.
Day 7: Crane Dance Farm Ham from our trusty organic pasture-raised farm is awesome because it is already cooked, so after it thaws, we just cut it up and gently heat through for 5 minutes and it's ready. We'll use the leftovers for ham sandwiches and and egg scramble muffins for the ride home.
Additional lunches will be leftovers from dinners the night before + I'll have some cans of Wild Planet Tuna along to make tuna salad if needed. If we don't use it, I'll know it will be used the day we get back from our trip while we're unpacking.
My husband is the breakfast maker extraordinaire in our home. It's usually a mixture of smoothies, soaked oatmeal, and eggs with veggie sauté. We bring our Crane Dance Farm bacon and sausage since we have an abundance of it in our freezer. It's incredibly portable and it's easy to bring along.
SNACKS & FUN TREATS FOR THE CAR RIDE and VACATION:
Bags of organic popcorn in coconut oil + sea salt (YUM!)
Apples with our splurgy favorite Naturally Nutty Pepita Sun Butter and Almond Butter
Ants on a log
Yum Earth Lollipops
These Chocolate Patties
GT's Kombucha and Pellegrino with a bag 'o lemons
SUN & SKIN ESSENTIALS:
As for packing my sun essentials, I LOVE the resource over at http://www.ewg.org. You can learn all about them and what they do on their site. I especially love them because I can find sunscreen and skincare products with less harmful chemicals. Go ahead and type in your sunscreen at http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/ and it will give it your sunscreen a rating. It will also list options with the best ratings + reviews so help you choose.
For me and my family, there's a delicate balance between soaking in vitamin D naturally without sunscreen and covering up during peak hours with lotions that do not have cancer causing ingredients. With skin cancer in my family history, this is an important issue for me. When I purchase sunscreen, I always choose a #1 rating. My go-to sunscreens for the past couple years have been from Butterbean Organics - face stick, original and simple formula SPF 30 sunscreen. They are currently out of stock for the next month, so for this trip I'm going with the trusty Badger Face Stick and I'm trying a new sunscreen that was given a #1 rating and great reviews: Think Sport.
I'll also bring my Lavender and Frankincense essential oils + coconut oil which are an awesome combo on our skin after being in the sun all day. I'll bring a ton more essential oils for sleep, skin, digestive support as well as for keeping things calm on the long car ride (Hello, USB diffuser!), but that's a topic for another post.
Phew! So there you have it! Eating healthy nourishing meals on vacation comes down to one easy step: PLAN AHEAD.
PLANNING IS BRINGING THE FUTURE TO THE PRESENT SO YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW ~ Alan Lakein
If you're headed on vacation and want to share with us how you've used this information, share with us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us @nourishtoflourishsociety! We'd love to hear from you! Below is the Avocado Salad recipe. ENJOY!
by Chef Jackie White of http://www.preplikeachef.com
2 avocados, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 TBS avocado oil or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, optional
1. Combine dressing ingrdients
2. Combine avocado, tomato, pepper, onion and cilantro
3. Gently toss dressing with salad