Just Back From a Two-week Family Road-trip – Without Gaining a Pound!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 in Nutrition | 0 comments

My family and I just got back from a two-week long summer vacation. It was fantastic! We spent several days camping at Glacier National Park – did some hiking, went white-water rafting… Continued on to Yellowstone, where we camped just outside the park, and drove around the park for a few days, stopping for every scenic loop, boardwalk, and short hike. We saw bison, grizzlies, elk, a young brown bear, mule deer, as well as geysers, mud-volcanos, and some truly incredible scenery (don’t miss the walk down to the brink of the Lower Falls – it was spectacular!) Went to the annual Rodeo/Fair in Missoula – the pig wrestling was hilarious 🙂 Did some panning for Star Garnet in Idaho. So, generally, your typical family summer vacation.

One common thing about family road-trips, though, is the amazingly unhealthy (high-fat, high-sodium) food we tend to eat. Picking up a bag (or two) of chips while stopping at the gas station. Maybe a chocolate bar. Stopping at fast-food restaurants for supper (maybe also for lunch). Which is why I’m pretty amazed that, when I stepped on the scale on returning home, my weight was unchanged!

What was my secret? I guess there were a few things that helped counteract the chips and that huge Arby’s Angus Three-Cheese And Bacon sub (660 calories, 33 grams of fat, over 1800 mg of sodium, and only 2 grams of fiber) that I chowed down on after a long day at Yellowstone. The big one was that we had a cooler in the back of the van, packed with generally healthy on-the-road lunch/snack items:

– apples, oranges, kiwis, nectarines, plums, strawberries, and grapes
– celery sticks, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, sliced peppers, and broccoli spears
– whole-grain crackers and tortilla chips
– salsa, hummus, black bean dip and ranch dressing
– whole-wheat bread, and whole-wheat wraps
– sandwich meat, mustard, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce

So, instead of pulling into a fast-food restaurant mid-day, we’d pull over at a scenic road-side stop, and everyone could make their own snack/lunch. Crackers, carrots, and hummus were great for a quick stop. Black-bean dip, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes was great filling for a wrap. Add a piece of fruit for dessert, and we were good to go.

I tried out two new recipes for the trip, both of which were resounding successes – here they are for you to try at home.

Raw Zucchini Hummus (recipe inspired by one on ChoosingRaw.com)

2 medium zucchinis
1 cup raw tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil

Put all ingredients in food processor, and process until creamy. Makes about twenty 1.5 ounce servings, 100 calories each. It’s a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese.

Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks, snap peas, whole-grain crackers, and tortilla chips. Or put some into a cabbage leaf and roll it up to eat.

Black Bean Dip

540ml can black beans
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine, and mix together using a hand-held blender or food processor. Makes about fifteen 1.5 ounce servings, only 40 calories each.  It’s a very good source of fiber and folate, and a good source of protein, thiamin, iron, magnesium, and manganese.

Serve with celery sticks, crackers and tortilla chips.  Or in a wrap with lettuce, sliced peppers, and tomatoes.

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So, that’s pretty much how we did it.  Ate healthily (mostly), and conveniently, and – bonus – probably saved a lot of money doing so!

What are YOUR secrets to staying healthy during summer vacations?

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