Bonnie and I are packing up for a vacay! I have the next two weeks off from keeping babies, and I am going to Nashville, which is where my parents are, and where my sister’s family is too. We moved away four years ago, and this will be the first time I’ve been able to go home for two whole weeks. I am beyond excited. Andrew won’t be able to go with us the first week, but he will meet us there the second week. He has several meetings lined up, as well as a chiropractic screening, so his trip will be all business (mostly.)
Words cannot describe how tired I am of Atlanta. I hate, hate, HATE IT! The people are rude (not all, but many.) The roads are congested, and there is constant, excessive road construction going on. Gas prices are more expensive than in Nashville. The Aldi stores don’t have nearly as good a selection as the ones in Nashville. We’ve had a hard time getting plugged in to a church here… this list could go on, but I will stop, because it sounds ungrateful. I really believe it’s a God-thing that we are here, but I am so over it. On the bright side, they have great farmers markets, flea markets, and thrift shops. And on the even brighter side, we have nine months, to the day, until Andrew’s graduation. And only six months of classes. God has seen us through these past four years, and He’s brought so many good things into our lives while we’ve been here too, e.g.: Bonnie Claire.
Packing for a two week trip, with a 15 month old, is something I’m a little nervous about. Of course, I’ve made a packing list, and in the end, I’m sure I’ll overpack, especially when you take into account the FOOD I’m bringing with us! Eating on the go when you have PCOS can be difficult. And a two week trip could be enough to derail me.
It’s so easy to let you healthy eating fall by the wayside when you’re on the go, and then so difficult to get back into the swing of things once you get home. I’ve fallen into this trap many times over the past few years, but have learned that if you’re armed with good foods, you’re less inclined to eat the bad ones! So here are some pointers from someone who’s learned PCOS diet lessons the hard way… time and time again!
1) Pack your own snacks. Homemade protein balls or bars, KIND bars, dried apricots, nuts, trail mix… These are some of my faves these days. Trail mix is a great snack option, but you’re better off making your own, as it’s hard to find trail mix that is actually healthy, since most store-bought varieties are dressed up with sugary candy. Use nuts of your choice, a bit of dried fruit, and a bit of dark chocolate. You can buy Larabars and Kind Bars in bulk from Costco, or from Amazon, but you’ll find better deals (and huge selections) through Thrive Market. If you order anything through Thrive Market, be sure to order a couple weeks in advance to be sure that it arrives on time.
2) B.Y.O.B. This stands for, “bring your own blender.” Unless you are staying with friends or family who have a blender, it may be a wise idea to bring your own. This way, you can avoid the potentially unhealthy and limited breakfast selections at your hotel’s continental breakfast bar, and make a smoothie in your room! A smoothie is a great fall-back option for any meal or snack! Just be sure to include some protein in your smoothie, and stay away from sugary juices. Here is a list of a few easy, well-balanced smoothie recipes to get you started.
3) Plan some meals. If you are staying with friends and family who are in charge of the menu, this may not be a good option. But a lot of times when I go home, since my mom does not love to cook, her meal plan is wide open, and I can plan some for the family. This is great for helping me stay on track! Be realistic with this one. Do not plan EVERY meal. Plan on eating some meals out, and plan on someone else being in charge of some meals, since it’s kind of rude to take over someone else’s kitchen completely.
4) Plan on going to the grocery store shortly after you arrive to your destination. Grab things for your smoothie (a bag of spinach or kale, avocados, a few bananas, nut butter, seeds (I like chia and flax.) And grab extra snacks if you are worried you did not bring enough. Buy veggies and hummus to have on hand for emergency situations. Make sure you take your meal plan with you so that you can get all the ingredients you need in order to make your meals a reality! I suggest finding an Aldi, since Aldi is your most cost-effective option.
5) Hit the kitchen. After you’ve done your shopping, do as much prep work as you can. This way, cooking will take up less of your time throughout the week, and you will be more likely to actually follow through with your meal plan. Clean and chop your fruits and veggies, make a big batch of baked chicken, etc.
6) Bundle of bananas- Either pack bananas or buy then when you arrive at your destination. Although bananas fall pretty high on the glycemic index, they are a great snack option if you pair them with a nut butter. This gives you carbs, balanced with a bit of fat and a bit of protein. And they fill your belly up so that you’re less tempted to indulge in worse alternatives!
7) Prepare for difficult situations- If you are visiting with friends who are going to pull the desserts and coffee out at 10pm, ask your husband to hold you accountable and help you NOT eat this! If you know to expect difficult and tempting circumstances, you can better guard yourself against them.
8) Drink lots of water- It’s great to have a water bottle in hand to distract you when all your friends are chowing down on the junk food that you know would send your blood sugar on a wild ride. Keep your water bottle nearby, and when you are tempted to reach for that brownie, grab the water bottle instead. Or grab those veggies and hummus that you purchased at the grocery store… Snack on those!
9) Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up- And if you eat a few fun-sized Snickers bars, don’t let that derail you and make you think, “Well, I’ve ruined my healthy eating today… may as well polish off the bag.” I fall into this trap A LOT. One bad eating choice is OKAY. It does not have to ruin your entire day and make you feel crappy about yourself. A sweet treat during the day can still be part of an overall healthy diet. Just stop at one or two small candy bars and DO NOT eat the entire bag. Your eating habits do not have to be extreme. They do not have to be all or nothing. Keeping the 80/20 rule in mind while you are traveling, and even when you are not, is a great way to learn to give yourself grace. And if you tend to be extreme (letting one bad choice lead you to ten more that blow your whole day), the 80/20 way of thinking may be a good way to help break you of this.
10) Bring and eat foods that you LIKE. Otherwise, making healthy choices and preparing your own meals/snacks is going to feel like a chore that you dread. Have fun with it, challenge yourself, and at the end of the day, you can feel good about your efforts, knowing that you treated PCOS with the best medicine: food.
As far as shopping on a budget goes, you’ll do well sticking to Thrive Market and Aldi, but here are 10 additional tips for grocery shopping on a budget with PCOS.