For many of our military moms, it’s PCS season (time to move a new installation). These moves are often out-of-state and complex in terms of packing up household goods, waiting to leave the current installation, making the trek to the new installation, and waiting for household goods to arrive. I’m not military, but we just made a huge move from Alaska to Montana. It was a doozy. It seems that once the kitchen is packed up, all healthy nutrition routines go out the window. It’s much easier to order take-out or go to a restaurant than it is to try and throw together a meal without your kitchen stuff. Stressful days and unpredictable schedules can be a burden to making healthy choices especially since we need kitchen-less food.
After having experienced a big move, I wanted to share some tips and tricks I employed to stay somewhat healthy during such a very stressful time. These tips are useful for moving season and road-trips season – it’s summer vacation, after all.
- Keep the water flowing. Even slight dehydration can be a bummer causing headaches, fatigue, and irritability (symptoms unwanted when you’re coordinating a move or executing a long road trip). Sticking to plain water and avoiding liquid sugar can help with weight maintenance when your exercise routine may be interrupted. Remember to drink your water by setting alarms on your phone, pre-filling water bottles to drink throughout the day, or making marks on your favorite Nalgene or Hydroflask. Staying hydrated will help you keep trucking along.
- Make your snacks healthy. If you’re having snacks and offering them to the kiddos – this is the time to choose good nutrition. Almost all fruits and veggies are convenient and need little prep. You can even get pre-cut veggies and fruits in the grocery store that only require you to open the package.
Try grapes and cheese sticks, snap peas and hummus, or banana slices and walnuts to keep you going between meals. The fiber from your fruit and veggie choices will help to keep your regular (yes, that kind of regular) and the protein in the cheese, hummus, and nuts will keep you powering through to your next meal…whenever that may be.
- Include veggies. If you’re grabbing sammies for lunch or pizza for dinner – don’t skimp on the veggies! Add them to your sandwich or load
them on your pizza. You can also buy the bagged salads to have as a side to any meal. The fiber in veggies helps to promote regularity (stress can cause irregular bowel movements so we want to keep everything moving smoothly) and fill you up so you don’t overeat.
- Choose 2 extras when dining out. We’ve all been there – whether we are in complete vacay mode or just done at the end of a day of packing and cleaning. We go to a restaurant to enjoy a meal that is prepared for us and cleaned up after us and then we overindulge. We eat all the things. We leave feeling worse than when we arrived from enjoying too much. Not all hope is lost – you can practice a better dining experience by only choosing TWO extras. At many places they offer: Bread Basket or Chips, Appetizers, Cocktails, Dessert, and After Dinner Cocktails. Once you’ve decided what you are having for your meal – choose two of the above. If you know the place has excellent dessert, then skip the breadbasket, appetizer, and after-dinner cocktail and enjoy your meal, a glass of wine, and that most delicious dessert. If the chips are ahhhhmazing at your favorite Mexican place, then split your entree with someone and enjoy chips and salsa with a margarita before your fajitas arrive. Rather than having it all, make a wise decision to enjoy two extras and leave the restaurant without feeling stuffed.
- Remember the basics. Moving is stressful. Vacations should be stress-free, but long road trips with littles or opinionated teenagers can be full of stress. In these times it’s all too easy to soothe our nerves with our favorite _____________________. (Insert bottle of wine, chocolate bar, salty chips, ice cream, frozen pizza…) I encourage you to remember the nutrition basics – eating fruits and veggies, enjoying all things in moderation, avoiding junk food, and taking the time to enjoy treats when you have them. Your body is working hard for your when you are moving or maintaining sanity on a cross-country road trip. Love it back by giving it good nutrition.
I had to remind myself over and over – it’s not forever, it’s just for right now. I’ll have my kitchen in order in a couple of weeks. I’ll be in my own routine by the time school starts. I’ll use my InstaPot this fall, if I can remember where I packed it. If you’re moving or taking an epic road trip or hosting visiting family for weeks on end this summer, take a little time to make sure you have some good nutrition in your day. It’s just a little gesture for yourself that can go a long way!