Off to the Jersey Shore–and Eating Healthy on the Road with Kids
|June 18, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Healthy travel|
School’s finally out, and I must admit, I’m very glad to be done with those 8 a.m. drop-offs. Getting my 6-year-old to school on time every morning (with my 4-year-old twins in tow!) was tricky, especially since the switch to Daylight Saving Time. I think the problem was we just weren’t getting to bed early enough—but that’s another story.
Tomorrow, we are off on our annual pilgrimage to the Jersey Shore, where I grew up and my sister and parents still live. Despite my best efforts, our healthy eating habits tend to go out the window when we’re traveling. I don’t know if it’s being surrounded by more temptations (I can almost hear the “clang clang” of the ice cream truck now!) or just being in “vacation mode,” but healthy meals and snacks become a tougher sell with my kids. To help, I’ve tried to plan a few activities that will encourage food a little more wholesome than corn dogs and other traditional boardwalk fare.
Go cherry picking: When I was a kid, there were pristine farms and orchards just a few miles from our coastal town. Sadly, many have been replaced with strip malls and super-stores. So we’ll have to drive a little further to get to a place where you can pick your own fruit. An Internet search for “working farms” and “N.J.” brought me to a website called Visit NJ Farms, where you can search for farms by location (just enter your zip code) or activity (for example, “Pick your own” or “On-farm activities”). This led me to Battleview Orchards, where we can hand pick sour cherries and juicy peaches. (If you’ve never had them, N.J. peaches are the best!).
Make cherry cobbler: My sister (with whom we’ll be staying for two-plus weeks…yes, she is a saint!) always makes an effort to whip up healthy meals and nutritious treats for my kids, which I love her for. Last summer, she made fresh strawberry sorbet in her ice-cream maker and popsicles with pureed fruit in her Zoku Quick Pop Maker. This year, I’m thinking maybe homemade cherry cobbler with the spoils from our Battleview Orchards outing?
Hit a farmer’s market: I didn’t discover the joy of strolling past stands of fresh organic produce until I moved to San Francisco in my mid-20s. I’m not even sure whether they existed on our part of the Jersey shore during my formative years. But on a website called Local Harvest, I was able to pinpoint three within a short distance of my sister’s house. Sounds like a fun, pre-beach activity to me!
Eat organic pizza: The other day, I happened upon the Eat Well Guide, a very cool online directory of 25,000+ local, sustainable and organic restaurants, family farms, grocery stores and more. That’s how I found Jason’s Organic Pizza Café, about 10 to 15 minutes from my sister’s abode and within spitting distance of the boardwalk amusement park rides that my kids love. Whole-wheat pizza crust and toppings like organic squash and vegan pepperoni? Heaven!
Pack healthy snacks: For the plane ride and various car rides, I’ll be packing a variety of nutritious nibbles in my kids’ backpacks. And during those car rides, my children will be sitting on inflatable BubbleBum booster seats. (I’m not quite sure what it has to do with food, except that we tend to snack in the car and BubbleBum sounds like bubblegum). Seriously, they are the best thing ever–super-easy to inflate and to stash in your suitcase or carry-on. I highly recommend!!
I’ll be checking in occasionally on Facebook and Twitter while we’re away. Otherwise, I will be on the beach building sand castles and dodging waves with my kids. Jersey Shore, here we come!
Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with any of the products or websites mentioned in this post, nor have I received any compensation or free samples. Nothing, nada, zip.