This summer we were lucky enough to travel to Bar Harbor, Maine for our family vacation (see correct pronunciation above). I’m not going to lie… the 12+ hour car ride was brutal and everything you would expect it to be with five kids and zero electronic devices. There is only so long you can look at license plates without turning on each other.
Our first goal was to find the best lobster roll. Our research ahead of time led us to the ultimate decision…standard which is made with mayonnaise, lemon and parsley, or naked, which is lobster and butter only. Of course we tried both because that is what you must do when you’re visiting Maine. One afternoon we traveled on the Miss Samantha to learn more about lobster fishing and hopefully see seals. We learned that 80% of the world’s lobsters come from Maine!!
Now for most of my patients, vacation is a time to splurge, throw out the rules, and stock up on every conceivable junk food the grocery store has to offer. When we travel, we do it a little differently. I try to pack as much food as I can for the drive to the destination to keep us from picking up high-calorie snacks along the way. For this particular trip, we brought turkey sandwiches on wheat bread, cucumber slices, red pepper slices, pretzels, trail mix, grapes, cherries and licorice. Don’t ask me why, but Twizzlers has become our family’s go-to travelling sweet treat for years. The great thing about having a large family is when you buy a small package of anything, the portions are appropriate. Everyone has a water bottle and we store gallons of water in our trunk for an inexpensive refill.
We work hard on trying to teach our kids balance. Our goal is to work hard and play hard. That means coupling more indulgent meals with lots of activity. We hiked every day on the gorgeous trails of Acadia Park. My daughters Charley and Bella even got sworn in as junior rangers. Hiking is a great cardiovascular exercise that the whole family can enjoy (plus when you jump from rock to rock like my family, you get the added bonus of strength and balance). One of our favorite places to hike was Jordan Pond – a three mile loop around the perimeter of the pond. Due to the ages of our kids, we weren’t able to do crazy mileage but the most important part was that we were together and doing something active.
The cabin we rented was beautiful but didn’t have a lot of frills. We were able to turn our driveway into a gym a few mornings by using rocks as dumbbells, the picnic table as a bench and the front steps as a foundation to do moving planks. We alternated weight reps with running around the cul-de-sac for some extra cardio.
In order to enjoy all of those lobster rolls, we had to create balance by heading to the grocery store for the remainder of our meals. Some of our meals included pasta with red sauce and Caesar salad, make your own pizzas on flatbread, and cod, corn on the cob and asparagus. We ate all of our breakfasts at the rental to ensure a nutrient dense meal to start our day and to fuel us for our excursions.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the official fruit of the state….blueberries. Every shop we visited in town had an array of blueberry options – blueberry syrup, blueberry jam, blueberry pie (the official state dessert), blueberry soda, blueberry ice cream, blueberry soap and blueberry candles. Even though most of the edibles were in dessert form, I was still happy to see them present. The first night our family split one blueberry soda to try. I can’t say I was a fan (too sweet for my taste) but it was a memory our family will enjoy for a lifetime.
Wherever you land on your own family vacation, I challenge you to remember the word "balance". There is no such thing as a bad food when balanced with healthy items and lots of movement. Below are some pictures from our trip for you to enjoy.
And now it’s your turn. How does your family include healthy foods and movement into your vacation? Leave a comment below and feel free to share pictures of your trip too!