Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Packing for a Day at the Amusement Park

We had passes this year for the local amusement park, Kings Island, which we visited quite often throughout the summer. Needless to say, buying food there is not an option for us for three reasons:

1. It's way too expensive.

2. The food contains gluten and possible tree-nut exposure, so two of the four of us cannot eat it.

3. Even if 1 and 2 were not an issue, the food is packed with trans fats, high in refined sugars and is so nutrient depleted that it is an overall bad investment for our health.

With all this being said, packing for a family of four for a full day at the amusement park can seem overwhelming. But through lots of practice, we've gotten pretty used to it this summer. I wanted to pass on our strategy because I know we aren't the only ones who like to take day long trips out into civilization, and we've all got to eat, right?
Bumper car road rage!

So here's our strategy:

1. Make sure we all get a filling and healthy breakfast with lots of water.

2. Before we leave the house, we all eat a quick snack since it is between breakfast and lunch.

3. Pack everyone their own refillable containers of water, and fill up some extras to refill waters throughout the day to stay properly hydrated. If you run out of water, the park usually has to provide you with a glass full if you ask.

4. Pack a simple, yet filling, lunch. For the main course, we usually pack things like chicken legs I cooked the day before, hard boiled eggs, a fruit like strawberries, apples or whatever is in season, fresh veggies like ants on a log (celery with nut butter and dried currants) nuts, cheese, dried fruit or some organic popcorn. We all get a piece of fruit each, usually an apple, and some dip theirs in almond butter.

5. Have a little treat for the day. Sometimes watching everyone else eat all the sweets around you causes the mouths to water a bit, and makes the kids feel a little left out. So I like to pack a nice little treat for everyone, just remember not to go overboard. Some cheap and healthier snacks that the family can share are Ginger Chews, fruit leathers, mint water, homemade fruit & nut bars or other homemade treats work well too.

6. Finally, have a small snack packed for when you are leaving wherever you are to kill the urge to eat out because you will probably be hungry by then. Our kids love getting their own little "hodge podge" of food in a small container. It usually contains almonds, organic raisins, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries or sometimes a little of the leftover popcorn or piece of fruit helps too.

I forgot to mention one important detail of this whole day - make sure you have your dinner already planned out the night before so that you have an easy meal to cook when you come home!

Heading out for a full day on the road without ever stopping to buy anything not only helps with the pocket book and reducing the intake of unneeded excess calories, but it also helps train us as adults and children to exercise self-control when surrounded by food. Sometimes we eat just to eat, and that is when food has taken control of our lives versus us taking control over the food we eat.

Enjoy your time with family and friends!