I hope you consider me less of "that person who can't stop talking about her vacation" and more of "that awesome Mom who is providing a service to other families" (as well as "that woman who has no other ideas for a post this morning")
How do I keep my family of seven fed on the road? We have a few guidelines that might not work for everyone, like we generally don't let them eat in the van and we don't do fast food. We do frequently eat lunch on the side of the road and sometimes what constitutes a meal is pretty weird:
Keeping everyone full, happy and relatively healthy while on the road can be a challenge. We definitely eat out frequently, it is vacation after all, but there's no way we're going to purchase breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner every single day. So here are a few tips that have helped for us:
1. We pack the seltzer maker. I know this sounds a little crazy because when my husband announced, "We have the van and lots of space now, I'm packing the seltzer maker!," I thought he was a little crazy.
However, we're a family that drinks a lot of water and all enjoy seltzer. We also hate spending money on water when we can just refill our bottles at sinks and water fountains. The only problem is that even if the water is potable, it might not be palatable. We've found when you "zizz up" weird-tasting water it becomes bearable.
2. A second modern supply that we traveled with for the first time this year: an electric cooler. Not having to deal with buying ice, keeping food dry, etc., was a total game changer for me. If you're traveling for more than a week, I highly recommend buying or borrowing one.
3. We frequently use tortillas. Bread is nice but too easily squished. Tortillas are so much easier to pack and make nice wraps. The best part though is that they almost always come in resealable bags that can be used to pack sandwiches or cut up fruits or veggies in!
4. Speaking of cutting up foods . . . I keep the cutting board and knife (I've got a nice one that has a carrying case/sharpener) much handier than the other kitchen supplies. I won't frequently need a can opener, for example, so that can stay in the big bin o'camping kitchen supplies . . . but a knife and cutting board are kept in the more easily accessed snack and food bin.
5. We hit the prepared foods at supermarket delis. Eating out is expensive and unhealthy but cooking every night isn't exactly a vacation for the family chef. Every meal can't be gas station snacks and apple slices, so what's a Mom to do?
Head to the supermarket! They have so many options now that they haven't always had before . . . my favorite this past trip was buying some grilled chicken breasts to make a sandwich with (I was getting sick of cold cuts) or to throw on top of a salad (from a bag, of course, I was on vacation after all).
Hope these tips can help someone considering a family road trip. Next week we will (most likely) be back to our regularly scheduled programming.