I love vacation, and recently I enjoyed some vacation time with my family. I thought about food (of course, I always have my eye on what is going on with children, food, and eating!) and how we change our eating patterns while we are on vacation.
Do you find yourself “dealing” with vacation food?
Vacation Food Worried Me
Long ago, it used to bother me when my husband would go to the grocery store and purchase many foods that we normally didn’t eat at home. I would feel worried.
Worried that all the good measures I had taken at home to assure our four children were being fed healthfully would be erased by the presence of white bread, sugar wafers, and potato chips.
In those early years of vacationing, what was stocked in the kitchen on vacation was often a bone of contention between my husband and I.
But, I think my husband was on to something, and I have to say that I have come to agree with his attitude about vacation and food.
It has paid off in spades with our children.
Vacation Offers a Break from the Routine
Vacation is a break from the usual routine. Sleeping patterns change (I sleep later, and without an alarm clock!), exercise habits change, and eating schedules and foods are different.
A break from shopping, cooking, and healthy meal planning is something I relish. The children also get a break from the usual foods we eat, and indulge in foods that are not regularly purchased.
Striking a Healthy Food Balance
While we all savor foods like Pepperidge Farm White Bread, Cocoa Puffs, sugar wafers, chips, and more ice cream than usual, we also incorporate more fish, farm fresh vegetables, and fruit into our vacation diet.
When I step back and weigh the balance and totality of what our family is eating, in general, it is still balanced, just the individual components have changed.
The Benefits of Eating Vacation Food
I see a benefit from shifting the overall eating pattern and embracing less than healthy foods on vacation, as well as the healthier, local, seasonal food items.
For the healthier options, allowing your child an opportunity to try new foods and expand the food repertoire is always a good thing.
On the other hand, offering less than healthy foods allows your child to have what is often tightly controlled at home, or infrequently available.
This escape from the usual food routine may help your child be relaxed about food and eating, as they learn that there is a time and place for all foods.
They may also learn to appreciate the act of balancing all kinds of foods, both healthy and not so healthy. Use some of my tips for vacation eating!
Here is the payoff for my family: By the time vacation is finished, we are all happy to have had the break and ready for a return to the normal food routine.
As my 13 year old daughter said at the end of our recent summer vacation,
“Mom, I miss your bread.”
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: September 2, 2010
Updated on: May 15, 2019