We just got back from three long days at Disneyland. I don’t know about you, but I always come back from trips motivated to get back into a routine, especially with eating.
I feel like I’ve been finding a bunch of great recipes online lately. For Monday Mexican night I’m going to try breakfast burritos for dinner (that’s okay right?). And this Shepherd’s Pie from the Meal Makeover Moms looks intriguing (and includes beans). I’m not a huge casserole fan but love the ease of one-meal dishes.
I make it a rule never to try more than two new recipes a week just in case they are failures. A couple of weeks ago the Chicken Pot Pie Stew I made flopped big time. My 17-month old threw most of his food on the floor — and he’s not the picky one.
For more weekly meal plan ideas see Org Junkie.
What’s cooking this week?
Monday: Breakfast Burrito with toppings
Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie, green salad, fruit
Wednesday: Salmon topped with veggies, mac and cheese and fruit
Thursday: Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili, bread and carrots
Food lessons learned at Disneyland
I love getting out of town, changing up the routine and taking a break from planning and making meals. But eating while out of town can be challenging because your don’t have as much control. And when kids need to eat, they NEED to eat.
There were some things I did right and other things I wish I had done better. So I jotted down 5 helpful tips for eating well during family getaways.
1. Pack snacks: The day before our trip I cut up fruit and veggies and packed up some other snacks like cheese sticks and whole grain crackers. I planned on making muffins but ran out of time.
I brought food to the park during the day for in-between meals. It was also good to have something to nosh on in the hotel room. This is a great time to get fruits and veggies in, not just for nutrition but to prevent “vacation constipation.”
2. Bring something for the first lunch: We’ve been to Disneyland a few times now but the same thing consistently happens. We plan to get there when it opens but usually don’t get in until 11:30am. By then our daughter is so excited we have to go on some rides before stopping for lunch.
Then right at 12:30 we all lose it (especially me) and eating quickly rises to the top of the priority list. This would be the perfect time to have a pre-made sandwich or something more substantial than snacks. Usually this intense hunger results in poor choices like this lunch we had!
I guess you have to have at least one of these meals at Disneyland. It was my 17 month old’s introduction to real fried chicken nuggets! And my daughter ate like she hadn’t had food in days.
We followed this lunch with a nice dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe. I ordered my daughter pizza and raw carrots. She took one bite of the pizza and proceeded to finish her plate of carrots. I think she filled up so much at lunch that she instinctively balanced it out. At least that’s what I want to believe.
3. Plan where you are going to eat: The next morning we didn’t have a plan for breakfast. My husband thought we should go to downtown Disney to see what they have. This is always a bad idea for people like me (and my kids) who are used to eating first thing in the morning.
So we walked along downtown Disney to La Brea Bakery where there was a huge line. At this point I was not fun to be around — of course I kept complaining to my husband that the kids needed to eat when I was the one losing it. So we back tracked and ended up at this little cafe. It had all the basics — fruit, cereal, pancakes and eggs.
I think it’s best to have a plan for where you are going to eat so that you and your family don’t end up melting down and eating something you never wanted in the first place.
4. Relax: I stayed pretty relaxed about my kids’ eating on this trip. I brought some good stuff to eat between but knew that we wouldn’t be eating like we usually do.
We met some friends on the second day (Hi Caroline!) and ended up with burger and fries. And of course my daughter had to have the same ice cream cone she had last time and a couple of Mickey Mouse lollipops.
But our last lunch meal was awesome. We went to this place on Main Street called the Carnation Cafe. they had a good variety of food — and great service. The kids’ meals all had sides of fresh fruit and baby carrots. They even had this make your own peanut butter and jelly sandwich plate with peanut butter, sliced bananas and raisins.
It seemed for every not-so-healthy meal we had another healthier option. Not a bad balance.
5. Freeze a meal for when you get home: I think Disneyland is one of the most “exhausting places on earth.” We got home around 3pm but I had no desire to cook, not even something easy. I thought it would have been nice to have a frozen lasagna or something already made to just pop on the oven.
The last thing you want to do after vacation is to order takeout, which is exactly what we did.
So tell me, what do you do when your family goes on vacation? Is eating stressful or a nice change?