We’ve done lots of family trips away where I’ve planned an entire week of meals off of one master grocery list, down to spices, condiments and often including utensils (missing from the “kitchenette” rentals). In a Las Vegas timeshare I even had to buy a pot and frying pan to accommodate us eating in. In Hawaii a delayed oven timer saved me when meal planning conflicted with a hike we wanted to do (and dinner was ready when we returned!) Eating in on vacations has saved us the hassle of small kid’s constant needs (milk and breakfast 30 seconds after waking…at 5:30am) and my requirement for healthy, balanced, vegetarian meals. I can only do salad so many times guys.
I’ve realized with travel that many places don’t factor into account the required protein and iron for vegetarians. (I can’t imagine being vegan and trying to navigate!) Sure we could opt for the “veggie burger” and fries every night. But we all end up feeling crummy. Trust me, we’ve done it.
Hence why I plan.
So we’re going on a (SURPRISE!) family trip. (I have yet to mention to the kids.) And they don’t seem to have noticed my near-constant cooking and kitchen prep the last few days to prepare.
The difficultly this time doesn’t revolve around an oven timer or can opener…this time what I am given to work with is only a mini-fridge and microwave. And 48 hours of fun in a waterpark! Which means large appetites. I tried unsuccessfully with my pinterest reflex to find solutions. So I created my own.
Mini-fridge and microwave. 48 hours. A family of four.
Bring. It. On.
First things first…the master meal plan of what to bring…and then the shopping trip of what to buy (along with the regular weekly grocery shop, see my grocery belt lineup of food above – YUM!)
Meal One – Dinner
- So after arriving, checking in, and going hard at the waterpark for a few hours we will start with Homemade Cauliflower Mac’N’Cheese. Just needs to be heated up in the microwave safe bowls I’m bringing! Kids love it, and the extra carbs will be needed for all that swim time! Recipe makes enough for two meals (freezer meal for later in this case!) Packed in a gallon ziplock baggie so we can stuff it in the minifridge in any shape needed 🙂 The kids will also have tetra packs of almond milk. Mom and Dad’s bevvie of choice: Bota Box wine! Then back to the pool, slides and splash park before bed!
Meal Two – Breakfast
- I’m not a huge fan of the pre-packaged instant oatmeal you can buy. But my family are huge oatmeal fans. And I appreciate the convenience of just having to add boiling water. Solution: Homemade Instant Oatmeal! No high fructose anything or preservatives. Only awesomeness. I made an apple cinnamon walnut kind…after finding these dehydrated apple chips. Even more than loving the pre-made chips (because I don’t have a dehydrator and keeping my oven on for hours while continually checking chips doesn’t thrill me) is the ingredient list. Organic apples and organic cinnamon! Along with our oatmeal I’m bringing a variety of fruit (mangos, pears, bananas and apples). Yum!
- I caved and bought yogurt tubes. Yes. I know. Parent fail 😉 The kids love them and they are e-a-s-y! And even though they are the organic, hormone free kind they still make me cringe at the level of sugar (9g – that’s 2 teaspoons of processed sugar!) Oh well, it is vacation. They will be served alongside apple slices and gulp…another processed item – cheddar bunnies. (Similar to goldfish but sooth my inner-health-food-gal minimally by being organic.)
Meal Three – Lunch
- I really, REALLY wanted to bring my homemade soup. I know, crazy right. Mini-fridge I fear your small size! So I bought the best darned canned kind I could find. Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup (in the BPA free can). This is actually a staple in our pantry for emergency lunches when we have nothing else. The kids LOVE this soup. I LOVE this soup. Heck everybody must LOVE this soup, half the time I go to buy it there aren’t any left on the shelf. And as a side I made jello fruit cups. My daughter has somehow been lured by marketers before ever having even had jello. So she will be happy to have her wishes fulfilled for the elusive jello that mommy never buys/makes (except this vacation). Oh and I stuffed those darned little cups full of as many berries as I could before pouring the sugar/gelatin mixture in!
- Cheese Strings. I lie, they aren’t stringy at all. They are the whole foods brand organic colby cheese in pre-packed singles to look like cheese strings 🙂 hehe sneaky mommy! Fruit squeezes and homemade granola bars. When planning these snacks I thought I would be allowed to bring them along with us to the water park. Sadly I learned after prepping everything that isn’t the case. Had I known, we would have done real fruit and cheese, rather than spend the extra on less-mess and easy-to-pack foods. The granola bars are Ah-mazing! Filled with oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, almond butter goodness. Travel well wrapped in foil. I don’t feel right about giving out the recipe, as it comes from a fellow blogger’s recipe book (which is also Ah-mazing! Really, every recipe I’ve tried scores an A-plus in my book, and my kids) Find it here.
Meal Four – Dinner
- Sweet Potato and Spinach Lentil Curry and rice (made and bagged separately). All pre-made in gallon baggies, again stuffed into that small mini-fridge! Everything can be divided into the microwave safe bowls and heated up! (And enough leftover for another freezer meal for later.) Nice hot meal filled with protein, iron and love to fuel our activity! And again with the tetra packed almond milk for the kiddos and wine for Mom and Dad.
Meal Five – Breakfast
- A repeat of the same family favourite instant oatmeal! And more fruit!
- whatever is leftover and not already eaten 🙂 I also packed a few extras for night snacks (which we don’t normally do, but this is vacation!) Microwave popcorn, raisins and cherry tomatoes. So whatever isn’t already gone is game on our last day!
Meal Six – Lunch
- Egg salad sandwiches and jello fruit cups. Again the egg salad was pre-made and bagged to fit in the mini-fridge. We brought the bread and will make the sandwiches right before check out time at 11am.
So all in all it will be a fabulous time! What a great Mother’s Day gift. And I’m happy I could give it to myself, because the best thing in the world I could get on mother’s day is family memories.
Happy Mother’s Day!