Monday, September 29, 2014

Real Food Road Trip: Packing for Baby, What We Ate...and Wholegrain Mustard White Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

Longest blog post title ever, right? Well there is going to be a lot of good information packed into this much that I am actually breaking it up into two posts. My second post will be about healthy eating at Walt Disney World (with lots of cute pictures of Avery and Mickey, too)! Today, we are going to focus on:
  • What we packed for a road trip with a one year old
  • Paleo road trip eats
  • Tips for road-tripping with a one year old
  • What we ate at the beach
  • A recipe for Grainy Mustard Sweet Potato Salad

We recently returned from a six day road trip to Florida. Here was our schedule:
  • Day 1 - Drive from Indiana to St. Augustine (13-ish hours)
  • Day 2 & 3 - Beach-front condo in St. Augustine
  • Day 4 - Morning in St. Augustine and then drive to Orlando
  • Day 5 - DISNEY!
  • Day 6 - Drive home
I'll start off by saying that my sister (who has 3 kids) helped me come up with the theme for our vacation, which was "low expectations". I was fully prepared to listen to lots of crying in the car and that Avery would sleep very little. This way, if things went well I would be happily surprised! I think when traveling with children you definitely have to expect the unexpected. There was plenty of unexpected, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we could set out on our trip, we had to plan and pack!

I started our meal planning, grocery list and packing list about our month before our trip because I am a crazy person and planning makes me happy. I started by writing out a rough schedule for each day of our trip so I could plan what we would need for each day (see below).

After I had a general idea of our schedule, I was able to make a meal plan for the week using my handy-dandy meal planner and then build my grocery list off of the meal plan. I made notes on my grocery list for items we would need in the car, items we could bring from home and items we would purchase after we arrived in Florida. 

Is my type-A personality showing yet?
From there, I made the rest of our packing list. I actually made two lists; one for items we would need in the car and one for items we wouldn't need until we arrived at our destination. Here is a look at our packing list:

Packing (items needed in the car)
  • Snacks in cooler
    • Plantain chips, grapes, jerky, bananas, Epic Bars, Kit's Organic Bars, hummus, carrots, apples, nuts, nut butter, snack bars for Avery, refrigerated supplements
  • Water bottles
  • Avery's water cup
  • Travel highchair
    • We purchased this BRICA Fold N' Go Travel Booster Seat for only $25 on Amazon and LOVE it! It worked perfectly in the chairs in our condo and in our hotel at Disney. We will definitely continue to use this.
  • Travel placemat
    • Another must for dining out with a baby. We bought this Summer Infant Tiny Diner Portable Placemat on Amazon, too. It suctions to most table tops, but we still use it even when it won't stick. It even has a little pocket to catch all the food Avery inevitably drops.
  • Bib
  • Diaper bag (stocked with diapers and wipes)
  • iPad and charger
    • We loaded a few Clifford and Mickey videos as a last resort if we had a major meltdown. Luckily, we didn't need them.
  • Toys and books for Avery
  • Napkins
  • Plastic utensils
  • Printed directions to condo
  • Baggies
  • Garbage bag
    • Just a plastic grocery bag
  • Baby carrier
  • Wet wipes
    • For messy hands and faces in the car
Ready for a fun ride!
Packing (items not needed in the car)
  • Spices
    • We just brought them from home instead of purchasing new bottles when we arrived
  • Supplements
  • More water bottles
  • More utensils
  • Stroller
  • Disposable diapers and wipes
    • We cloth diaper at home, but chose to use disposables on our trip so we wouldn't have to worry about laundry
  • Avery's soap, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Pack-n-play
  • Outlet covers
    • We did not use these, but at the last minute I decided to throw them in just in case Avery was very interested by all of the outlets at the condo
  • 2 pair of shoes for Avery
    • Sandals and sneakers
  • 2 outfits for Avery for each day
  • 2 swimsuits for Avery
    • Just in case he had an accident in one of them
  • Pajamas for Avery
  • Rain jacket for Avery
  • Blanket and toy to sleep with
    • Avery doesn't sleep with anything in the crib at home, but I was very nervous that he wouldn't fall asleep in a strange environment so I wanted some comforts of home
  • Sippy cups
  • Sun hat 
  • Bibs
  • Avery's grooming kit and medicine kit
    • Just in case
  • Baby sunscreen
  • LOTS of toys and books
  • Beach toys
  • Beach chairs
  • Beach radio
  • Beach umbrella
  • Toiletries and clothes for Kevin and myself
    • The normal stuff, I'll spare you the details :)
A peek inside Avery's suitcase
Avery's toy suitcase

Tips for road-tripping with a baby

  • Climb on back - I spent most of the morning of our day on the road in the back seat with Avery. I fed him a banana and some turkey and tried to keep him occupied with different toys, books and songs. It actually worked really well. He was generally pretty happy and only got fussy as lunch approached.
  • Take a nice, long break - We planned to stop in Asheville at Over Easy Cafe for lunch. We could have just stopped somewhere quick or eaten in the car, but we knew Avery would need to get some energy out. We didn't mind the 45 minute wait because it gave us the perfect opportunity to stroll around Asheville before lunch. He literally didn't stop walking the entire time! We did the same thing for dinner and also worked in a few nursing stops. Milk usually keeps this baby pretty happy.

Strolling around Asheville with sticks in hand.
The hash from Over Easy Cafe was AMAZING!
  • Stop for lunch just before nap time - We planned our lunch stop so that Avery would have a full, happy belly when we got back in the car and (hopefully) fall asleep. It worked perfectly. He fell asleep almost as soon as we got back on the road and slept for a solid two hours.
Sleeping babies are the best.
  • Pack LOTS of toys - My friend Jamie gave me the best advice before we left for our trip. She said that she had purchased various toys before her last vacation so she could switch them out and give her daughter new toys every few hours. Instead of buying new toys, I borrowed a bunch of toys from my mom because she keeps a lot at her house for when she watches the grandkids. I tried to give Avery different books and toys in the car and then just dumped them all out on the floor in the condo to keep his little hands busy when we got there.
It already looks just like home! :)
  • Home away from home - Once we decided St. Augustine would be our destination, I was overwhelmed by the options. There were hotels, condos and rental houses galore. I finally decided on a condo community that was on the beach. We had a short walk to the condo's private beach, a full kitchen, towels and even a washer and dryer. When we travel I always try to find a full kitchen so I can cook the same meals that we do at home.
Breakfast time! AKA - Beach fuel!
  • Make enough for leftovers - I preach this to pretty much anyone I talk to about nutrition. On vacation with a baby, though, it serves the special purpose of more time having fun and less time in the kitchen! I made big breakfasts that would last two mornings (or more) so we could spend more time chasing Avery on the beach. I actually prepped breakfast the night before so we could sleep in a bit, too.
My beach baby!
  • Keep meals simple - In that same vein, we stuck to no-cook lunches with veggie sticks, deli meats, avocados, hummus and sliced fruit. Oh...and iced coffee with coconut milk. :)
Yum yum!
That brings me to today's recipe! I try my best to follow my own advice so I made this yummy sweet potato salad that we could eat in the car and at Disney when we had a refrigerator, but didn't have a microwave to warm our food up. This sweet potato salad was so easy to make and it held up well for the two or three days that we enjoyed it. Honestly, I made it up as I went along and threw in whatever we had around that I wanted to use up. It turned out to be a good mix of sweet potatoes, green bell peppers, apples, sun-dried tomatoes, mustard and spices. Because we boiled and chopped the sweet potatoes, it was nice and soft and perfect for Avery to eat, too. 

Wholegrain Mustard White Sweet Potato Salad
Serves: 6
Time: 45 Minutes

2 pounds white sweet potatoes (can sub regular sweet potatoes), cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 medium Granny Smith apples, diced
1/2 cup whole grain mustard

Place sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Add a dash of salt, cover with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain water and place sweet potatoes in a large bowl in the refrigerator until cool, 30-45 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and stir in onion, bell pepper and apples. Fold in mustard until everything is evenly coated. Return to refrigerator until fully chilled, at least one hour. Store in an airtight container.