Summer is a wonderful time of year to travel as a family and reconnect after dealing with hectic work and school schedules throughout the year. As we all know, when traveling with babies and young children - whether it's to Disney World, a beach house or a relative's home - we need to take along tons of necessities, from snacks, diapers and wipes to car seats and strollers.
Jet Set Babies, Diapers.com and Amazon.com
The first thing I recommend is using a service, such as Jet Set Babies, Diapers.com or Amazon.com. You can have many of the above-mentioned items delivered and waiting for you at your destination. Then, you'll just need to pack things in the amounts you'll need while traveling.
You can have grocery staples delivered to your hotel or other destination as well. Do some research to find local farms and supermarkets with fresh, organic and nourishing foods and snacks that you and your child can use to supplement hotel and restaurant meals.
Preplan and Prepare Lunches and Snacks
We know that children's tiny bodies need to be nourished several times a day - and, often, when they are hungry, they really can't wait. So, have snacks prepared, packed and ready to go. It's all about planning ahead so you're not scrambling at the vending machines or stopping at a fast food chain.
I recommend taking lots of fruits and veggies, especially if your child is used to fresh, homemade food. You always want to have fresh, not processed, foods available. Real food equals real nutrition.
Some snacks I like to take along on trips with my children are crackers with almond butter and cut up bananas. Strawberries and blueberries are great to take along as they are bite size. Cut up other fruits into small pieces. Rice cakes, pretzels, dehydrated fruit, cold cuts, finger sandwiches, and yogurt are super for lunches and snacks. Pack a cooler with water and foods that you make the day before. Plus, supermarkets sell nifty little bags that keep foods cold for up to three hours.
If you're eating some meals at hotels and restaurants, check out their menus beforehand so you can choose ones that most align with your nutritional lifestyle.
Staying With Friends or Family
If you're staying with another family, they may not have the same philosophy that you do on nutrition and food choices. Remember, not everyone eats exactly the same diet (or the way you'd want them to) and you can't convince - nor should you try to - anyone that your way is the better way. If the family you're staying with allows their child to eat "junk" food, you might consider letting your child indulge a bit but mostly stick with your routine as much as possible.
Day Trips to Local Events
Our family goes to a local amusement park for the day, and I pack a cooler with healthy lunches, water and snacks. At the park, the temptation to eat fried and fatty foods is there, but, since my kids' bellies are a bit fuller, they'll indulge in less of these temptations. They'll eat one slice of pizza, say, instead of three, and I can live with that. When our children were younger, we traveled with a NutriBullet blender and made them shakes with locally grown fruits and vegetables. They loved them!
Everything has the potential to make a mess, so, if you're traveling by car, cover the seat with a plastic protector. These make it super easy to clean up and you won't spend time worrying about your child making a mess.
We don't live in a bubble, so it wouldn't be fair to a child to not let them enjoy some of the tasty, less-healthy treats. While on vacation, it's okay to bend the rules a bit, but make healthy choices as much as possible to set a good example for your little ones. Above all, your entire family will enjoy the health and vitality that results from eating well.