You Can Make Healthy Choices…Even on Vacation!

Are you headed on vacation this summer?  This post is just for you!  Don’t let it all your hard work go out the window just because you are on vacation.  This post was written by Karen Wilson who also wrote THIS post!  Thank you Karen for continuing to inspire us!

“Just a Small Town Girl…”

This is the first line of my favorite Journey song. I’m just a small town girl, but I’m not “livin’ in a lonely world.” I live in a crazy, busy, stressful, go-go-go world where I don’t slow down until June 1. I go from 100 mph to 0 in a matter of a five hour drive to my hometown, Reidsville, NC. I come here to stay with my parents for several weeks during the summer.

As a teacher, summers off is a definite plus! Usually being at home is a BIG challenge with lots of sour cream pound cake, ice cream, and fried okra…ALL homemade! If you’ve never eaten homemade ice cream, I recommend you eat some immediately!! I told my mom before I left Atlanta that we could not have that. We were going to have a healthy summer. We would walk and cook and walk some more. And read…we like to read a lot.

Before becoming Jacynta’s client, my eating was out of control even on Weight Watchers. No wonder I wasn’t making any progress. I thought of going to my parents’ as “vacation.” I told Jacynta a few weeks ago, “I’m nervous about going home. I’m nervous about the summer. I have no routine. I need a routine. What do I do?!” Her reply was, “You are already doing it!”

Her words stuck with me. I just need to stick to my plan. I have come home on weekend visits for the last couple of months, and I have stayed in control. Since arriving last week, I have tracked everything that I have put into my mouth in My Fitness Pal—yes, even my birthday cake. I have walked with my mom 1-2 miles every night. If we go out to a restaurant, I figure out what would I normally order and pick that. This isn’t a holiday—it’s not a vacation. Yes, it’s summer, but I’m still living my life. And I want that life to be one of health and happiness and strength.

As a little girl, we had a garden. My grandparents had a garden, and now when I come home in the summer, my uncle has a garden. We go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. Heck, my boyfriend grows peppers in pots on his apartment balcony in Tampa. I have always been surrounded with vegetables and fruits—tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, sweet potatoes, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers. Many of these came right out of the ground from a garden in the back yard or down the road. I didn’t have to go to Publix and buy them (we don’t have Publix stores in NC anyway—I didn’t know what that was until we moved to Georgia). There are so many excuses for not eating fresh fruits and vegetables. You know that you’ve thought of one…they are too expensive…they take too long to prepare…they just don’t taste good. I think these are excuses that we all make, but you can incorporate more fruits and veggies into your day if you’re creative.

In this small, rural town, the only large grocery store is Walmart. There are others if you drive 30 minutes toward the city or you choose to go to a smaller chain. I found these packaged French Beans (fancy green beans) at Walmart.

French Beans from Wal-Mart

Check the produce section for prewashed veggies and cut up fruits. These are very convenient and minimize prep time (less work for you). If you’re on a budget, buy the whole fruit and watch a You Tube video if you don’t know how to cut it up. I did this once for a mango. It worked! And I tried a new-to-me fruit!

I opened the package and put them on a foil lined pan for easy clean up. Roasting is my favorite way to cook vegetables.

Roasted French Green Beans

I use 3 easy things you already have in your pantry or you can buy cheaply…1) sea salt (or regular)…2) cracked black pepper (or regular)…3) 1-2 teaspoons olive oil (regular or flavored). You can also use canola oil or other healthy oil. Green beans are best roasted at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes. You can also use canola or olive oil sprays, but I like getting some healthy fat in my day.

Seasonings for Roasting Vegetables

I like the beans roasted with a little char on them. Experiment!! Use different vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini). I roasted asparagus last week the same way as the green beans. They don’t even need to cook as long—only 10-12 minutes. Use different flavored oils. Trader Joes makes a lemon olive oil and a basil olive oil. I have a chili olive oil from Aldi. Add minced garlic or dried herbs or lemon juice or peel for extra flavor. Enhancing your veggies with flavor will make them taste better which will result in YOU eating more!!

Cooking Fresh Asparagus

Whether it’s at Walmart or the doctor’s office, I see many people in this country town who are obese. Maybe I have just started noticing whereas before I didn’t think about it because that was me too. With more Hardees and Bojangles than Chic-Fil-A’s or Zoe’s Kitchen, many folks don’t feel like they have options. But you do! And they are closer to home than you think. You just need to know where to look. And be smart about your choices. Many of us, including me, struggle to get in our 5 veggies and fruits a day. Prepping, portioning, and choosing what tastes good to you (I will NOT eat lima beans no matter what you do to them!) will help. Try something new!

Whether you live in the ATL or a small rural town, “Don’t Stop Believin’” that you can eat more fruits and vegetables and have a healthy life!!

You deserve it!!

Keep Calm and Enjoy Your Vacation

Great reminders!  Thanks Karen!  

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About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.