This vacation was different from any other vacation we’ve ever taken. So much so, that each night, we weren’t really sure we would stay an extra day until the last minute so we actually stayed in different hotels each night! We had no plan, no itinerary, and no menu. It was an experience!!!!!
I had breakfast with the boys at Applebees this morning. The menu choices for the boys were pancakes and bacon, or eggs and bacon, or oatmeal. I chose one pancakes, and one scrambled eggs and substituted both bacons for fruit. Then I split the pancakes and eggs so they each had half with their own bowl of fruit. They were happy.
Note: I’ve never put maple syrup on their pancakes because although you can find some good quality maple syrup that is good for you, the stuff we normally see is full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. So I avoid it, and usually serve it to them with homemade whip cream or some honey. Anyway, here at Applebees they didn’t have those options, so I put a little butter on the pancakes. They never even asked for syrup, because they’re so used to eating the pancakes without it. A little touch of butter was all they needed and they were happy. I try to avoid giving them extra sugar as much as I can.
I saw 2 options I liked. There was a low carb omelette (meaning it didn’t come with bread and potatoes), and a garden vegetable omelette. I ordered the low carb omelette with all the vegetables from the garden omelette. It was pretty good. This was interesting, the waiter asked me what kind of toast I wanted and I said, no, I’m ordering the low carb omelette, it doesn’t bring toast. He says, Oh, that’s right. and walks away. Shortly thereafter, I get my omelette…with the potatoes!!!! I thought it was funny that he just couldn’t register the low-carb part.
After breakfast we were on the road. We had a stop at Ikea and then kept going. At around 2pm we were all hungry. Orlando didn’t have breakfast and the boys were starving. Once again we stopped at a service plaza. This time we went to the KFC express because thought we could order the rotisserie chicken. Except that KFT express doesn’t carry rotisserie. Only original or crispy! We left.
The next service plaza had a wendys, earls sandwich, and dunkin donuts. We stopped there. This time around I was done with bad salads so I just ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with a baked potato. Luckily they had these items! I took off the sandwich bread and had the chicken with the lettuce and tomato in the potato. It was pretty good.
Orlando really did the best he could – he ordered a tomato soup from Earl of Sandwich, a baked potato with broccoli, and a side salad.
For the kids, we got smoothies. There was a smoothie place that had frozen fruit with no sugar added! What a nice surprise!
So the question we posed at the beginning of this adventure was:
Can we be poor planners, yet healthy eaters?
Our conclusion is NO!!!!!!
You can opt for healthier choices, but you’re not going to eat healthy, balanced meals without some planning and packing.
I learned something on this trip that I really didn’t see before. I used to think that restaurants didn’t give as healthy options as it should. What I didn’t understand was WHY!!!!! There is NO MARKET for healthy food!!!!! Restaurants don’t make it readily available because there is no demand for it. THIS IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM!!!!!! So then when you do have someone who wants healthier options, the options are subpar. The quality sucks, the options are limited…and it makes you prefer to eat the bad stuff! It is a vicious cycle. The first wendys we visited on the way up had 1 baked potato. 1!!!! Plenty of french fries, though! They took an extra 10 minutes to prepare the grilled chicken because no one orders the grilled chicken. Even those that get the salad order the crispy chicken! The KFC express had no rotisserie. No one orders it!!!!
Even when healthy options are offered, people don’t take advantage of them. Here is an example: at the last service plaza we went to they had a dunkin donuts, a wendys and a smoothie place. The smoothie place was the only thing you could buy that consisted of whole foods (Frozen Fruit). I looked around and noticed the lines at each place.
That’s right. We were the only people in the line at the smoothie place. People were walking around with frostys and nice big chocolate drinks from dunkin donuts, but no one wanted the fresh fruit. So that’s, in my opinion, the biggest problem. Restaurants need to make money and you’re going to cater to what is in demand. If healthy food is not in demand, it is not offered. PERIOD. If we want to change the way we eat, we have to demand it!!!! To me, this was the biggest eye opener. We have to work together to educate people, because people really don’t understand what they’re putting in their bodies. FOOD IS INFORMATION. If you are feeding your brain bad information, your body will generate bad results – heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. WE NEED BETTER INFORMATION!
What can we do in the meantime???
- Plan as much as you can. Next time, even if we choose not to take a cooler for example (we probably will), but if we don’t, we would still pack healthy snacks. Maybe nuts, dried fruit, a veggie tray, some pre-made sandwiches for the road trip.
- drink lots of water with lemon. Lemon is a cleanser. So one of the things I did was order water with lemon for us everywhere we went.
- Ask for veggies. Our options were limited, and we didn’t necessarily make the best choices everywhere we went. We definitely made exceptions. However, one thing we did do was get as many veggies in our bodies as we could. Veggies in our pizza, veggies in our omelettes, a side of veggies with our dinner. Load up wherever you can. Caveat: because the demand is low, the quality can be poor. Applebees had delicious veggies but naturally the broccoli in our baked potato at Wendys wasn’t great. But at least we ate it and we can only do with what we have at the time.
- Explore the options the restaurants are giving : low carb menus, gluten free, guilt free.