Un-Junking Your Vacation Food

Courtesy of GoNorthwest! website

I confess. Our family just returned from four days at Cannon Beach, where all the walks in the world to Haystack Rock could not make up for the amount of food we ate. There was my brother-in-law's home-brewed beer, my mother-in-law's cinnamon rolls and Texas Chocolate Cake, my sister-in-law's "naked" cookies (Tollhouse chocolate-chip cookies, minus the chocolate chips) and pumpkin cookies, ice cream from Osburn's, the slice of the day from Pizza a' Fetta, and, of course, s'mores around the beach firepit. I gain weight just reading over the list.

I made a feeble effort not to let everything go to pot this time. Since other family members had the sweets covered, I shared some healthier snacks: Samish Bay's Ladysmith with Chives cheese on whole-grain chips, hummus, salsa, Billy's apricots. Most people, myself included, will eat whatever's in front of them because it happens to be in front of them. While treats are half the fun on vacation (YMMV), the trick is to make sure better options are also available.

If you have a trip coming up, consider packing the cooler with these farmers market finds:

Beef jerky from Skagit River Ranch or Olsen Farms
Salmon jerky from Loki Fish
fresh and frozen blueberries
a cheese you can pre-slice to serve on crackers or chips
House of the Sun's kale chips
small carrots
fresh peas
watermelon, cut in chunks

Instead of soda, pack a jug of homemade lemonade or mint iced tea. Save money, save calories, save artificial additives and stabilizers, and gain in flavor and nutrition.

Any other suggestions for the road trip pantry?