Our little family went on a spur of the moment vacation last week and it was so much fun!  There is a chance we may be starting a business up in Northern Idaho and so we went up there to look at a few of the locations we are thinking of building on.  Originally my husband was just going to go up, but we found plane tickets for really cheap and so decided to make a little family vacation out of it.

Northern Idaho truly is one of the most beautiful places in the country.  I’ve traveled all over and have been to 45/50 states and I still think that Idaho is one of our country’s prettiest states.  Here are a few pictures from our trip:

Hiking to Snow Creek Falls in Bonners Ferry, ID

Hiking to Snow Creek Falls in Bonners Ferry, ID

Hiking to Snow Creek Falls in Bonners Ferry, ID

Hiking to Snow Creek Falls in Bonners Ferry, ID

The photos just don't do this view justice.  There is something so calming and peaceful about being in the mountains.

The photos just don’t do this view justice. There is something so calming and peaceful about being in the mountains.

Mountains just completely full of pine trees...so pretty!

Mountains just completely full of pine trees…so pretty!

Snow Creek Falls, Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Snow Creek Falls, Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Snow Creek Falls, Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Snow Creek Falls, Bonners Ferry, Idaho

My heart just melts when I see these pictures of my husband teaching my son how to fish.

My heart just melts when I see these pictures of my husband teaching my son how to fish.

Newport, WA (the river separates Idaho and Washington and we were on the Washington side in these pictures.

Newport, WA (the river separates Idaho and Washington and we were on the Washington side in these pictures.

This is how I had the baby during most of the trip - thank goodness for Ergo carriers or we would get nothing done.

This is how I had the baby during most of the trip – thank goodness for Ergo carriers or we would get nothing done.

My little man was so proud of his "big mouth small mouth bass" (as he calls it)

My little man was so proud of his “big mouth small mouth bass” (as he calls it)

We had a great time, and I am really happy we got to spend so much quality time together as a family.  One question I get asked quite often has to do with staying on track with your nutrition when you are on vacation.  Some of the questions I’ve gotten asked before are: Do you just “enjoy” your vacation and eat whatever you want?  Are you strict with your eating when you are out of town?  Do you pack all your meals for your trip?  How do you eat out at restaurants?

Here is my quick answer to these questions: a vacation is a time I rewind and focus on spending quality time with my family, not a time where I stress about what I am eating or getting my workouts in.  So, no, I don’t pre-pack all my meals when I am on vacation, yes we do go out to eat, and the main thing I try to focus on is being mindful of the food decisions I am making.  Here are a few tips that work really well for me:

-If your hotel room has a mini fridge, stop at a local grocery store (stores like CVS and Walgreens also usually keep these items) and pick up breakfast items for the next morning.  Things like: Greek yogurt, berries, eggs that are already hard boiled, and low fat cheese are all easy options.  Not only will this help you start your day with a healthy meal, but it can save money by not eating a meal at a restaurant.

-When I go out to eat, for the most part, I try to order something that would be similar to what I would be able to cook at home.  Aim to look for foods that are grilled or broiled instead of fried, and be mindful of the condiments that are used at restaurants (those calories can really add up quick!).  So, for example, we stopped at Texas Roadhouse one night for dinner.  I ordered a sirloin, sweet potato, and vegetable medley and just asked that the veggies came with no butter.  This is really similar to a meal I would have at home and then indulged some with the deeeelicious rolls they bring out.  I left feeling stuffed with a delicious meal but didn’t feel like I derailed my progress.

-It helps to keep healthy snacks in the car.  Some of the things we like to snack on are: Quest protein bars, pretzels, berries, bananas, apples, cutie oranges (easy to peel), flavored mini rice cakes, etc.

-If you know you are going to have one unhealthy meal for the day, that’s ok!  Don’t let yourself feel like a failure and eat every unhealthy thing in sight because your nutrition isn’t 100% perfect.  If I know we are going to go out for dinner, for example, I try to keep the other meals throughout the day as healthy as possible.  This helps to keep your total calories for the day at a healthier level than indulging in each meal of the day.

So, to summarize, I don’t have ‘perfect’ meals while we are on vacation, and I might allow a few more treats than I normally do.  I try to keep a healthy mindset and not let the vacation turn into a free-for-all, and when eating out am mindful of the foods I order and try to order things that would be similar to something I could make at home.  I’m not a figure competitor or preparing for a photoshoot and so my goal is just to balance having fun with my family and live a healthy lifestyle….for me that means not stressing about food while we are on vacation, but still making healthy nutrition decisions for our family.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  What do you guys do while you are on vacation?  Do you have any tips for me that I left out of this article?  I’d love to read your opinions in the comments below.

Your Friend,
Natalie

PS – Here are a few pictures from our flight – that is hands down the most exhausting part of any trip.  I might do a blog post one of these days about it!

Flying with the kiddos

Flying with the kiddos

Running around in the airport playing tag during our six-hour layover.

Running around in the airport playing tag during our six-hour layover.

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Natalie Hodson is a mom of two showing how to balance family, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle.  www.nataliehodson.com