I recently shared how I plan for healthy meals on my vacations. This week I‘m sharing the meals (with photos) and some recipes I enjoyed on recent vacations. There is a lot here, and if the idea of making so many meals overwhelms you, then use my last blog post to help organize a plan that you can actually implement. Sometimes it's best to start small, then build your way up to preparing only healthy meals for all your vacations where you have access to cooking and refrigerating.
Early Spring Mountain Cabin Trip
Here we had a stove top, oven (no microwave), and fridge with three adults to feed over four days.
Casseroles can easily be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
I like to use this recipe from Thrive Market: https://thrivemarket.com/blog/whole30-breakfast-casserole-recipe
I love chili for it's flavor, satiety, versatility, and "one-pottedness." Haha! New word.
This can be made ahead in a slow cooker (that's what I did) or while on vacation. We reheated it easily on the stove top and enjoyed it as a chili soup as well as a taco salad, served over tortilla chips and our favorite toppings like lettuce, salsa, grated goat cheese, lime juice, grass-fed sour cream, cilantro.
Sausage-Potato-Pepper Skillet Hash
This is one of my favorite, go-to meals when I'm in a pinch for time but don't want to skimp on flavor and nutrition. It's pretty simple and can be modified to meet your needs. This recipe is for about 4 servings. I like to double mine for leftovers so I don't have to cook as much. ;-)
1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons water
4 chicken sausages
2 bell peppers, diced or sliced (red, orange, or yellow)
1 onion, diced or sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large sweet potato, cubed
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet on medium-high heat and saute the onions, peppers, and potatoes. Add more oil if vegetables don't seem coated enough or start sticking to pan.
Once the onions start turning translucent, add the garlic, stirring for one minute.
*Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan then cover with a lid and let steam for 3-5 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Add the sliced sausages and parsley to the pot, stirring until heated through.
Serve and enjoy!
*This step may NOT be necessary if the thickest potatoes are tender when you stick a fork in them.
Leah's Lentil Soup
Another go-to recipe for it's smoky flavor, satiety, and it's both quick and easy! Get the recipe here.
Gambas Al Ajillo with Roasted Green Beans & Quinoa Brown Rice
This was a special meal my husband made so we used the fancy dishes. ;-) While it's not a one-pot dish like the rest here, it's super easy and mouth-wateringly delicious! YUM!!! The "Garlic-Infused Shrimp," as this recipe might translate is the star, with just about any sides you could imagine. The green beans were roasted in the oven, tossed in avocado oil with sea salt and pepper. We only made a small batch of the quinoa brown rice to have as a small side. Here's what we used for convenience and just heated it in a pot.
Brownie Batter Protein Balls
These make a great snack, especially for long activities like hiking, swimming, surfing, etc. We enjoyed them after getting lost on a vigorous 2 hour hike. ;-P
Here's the recipe for 6 servings (18 balls):
1/3 cup Pitted Dates (packed)
2 cups Black Beans (cooked)
1/2 cup Chocolate Protein Powder
1/3 cup Pumpkin Seed Butter
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tbsp Cacao Powder
1/2 cup Organic Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine dates, black beans, chocolate protein powder, pumpkin seed butter, sea salt, and cacao powder in the bowl of your food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the covered baking sheet. You should have about 3 balls per serving.
To make the optional chocolate drizzle: melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and drizzle over balls.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set. Enjoy!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Summer Lake Cottage Trip
Here we had a stove top, oven, microwave, and fridge with two adults to feed over three full days.
Paleo Banana Nut Bread
Breads are always a great idea for a lighter breakfast with coffee or evening "snack" with tea. I love that you can make them ahead of time and they keep really well in the fridge. You can slice the bread and eat it just about anywhere, even on the go. We enjoyed this one morning with coffee on the boat.
I like this Hearty Paleo Banana Bread recipe from Paleo Running Momma because it's super low in sugar. I add 1 cup of roughly chopped walnuts to mine. We drizzle a little raw honey on it when we want to sweeten it up.
Tuna Salad on Grain-Free Bread
The classic tuna salad has received an upgrade by The Healthy Maven, Davida Lederle. Avocados, apples, toasted walnuts, and dill put this salad over the top for me! Get the recipe here. I made most of the salad at home. I only added the fish and avocados when we were ready to eat it so it wouldn't spoil or oxidize as quickly. We ate on it for 3 days so it keeps well in the fridge.
I like to enjoy the salad on my favorite, best-in-the-world bread EVER! Every time I make it, I get rave reviews. Thanks to Meghan Telpner for perfecting this recipe I learned in her Academy of Culinary Nutrition, where I became a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert (CCNE). I made the bread at home before vacation.
Potato Salad & Ham
I made my own Savory Potato Salad recipe you can find here.
Buying prepared meats can certainly make meal planning and execution easier! Just be sure they are from sustainably raised animals that aren't fed antibiotics and with as little additives and preservatives as possible. I couldn't find organic, so this was the best we could do. Every now and then I'll choose convenience over the healthiest option, but these are exceptions in our lives, not the norm. While I'm not a fan of added sugar, the sugar cane and honey here only add 2 grams of sugar to a 2 oz. serving.
Sweet & Savory Pecans
These are the perfect treat for snacks since they're both salty and sweet, packed with flavor, and very filling. I like to keep mine in a mason jar, but you can transfer them to a Ziploc bag for a snack on the go!
I used a recipe from YumUniverse that I adapted like this:
2 cups pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey) You could try starting out with 1/3 cup and see if it's enough to coat all the pecans and tastes good.
4 tablespoons Chinese Five Spice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix pecans, sweetener, and spices in a large bowl until nuts are well-coated.
Place coated nuts 1-deep on parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
Let them cool so the sweetener has a chance to harden a little then remove them from the pan and store in a mason jar or container of your choice.
Yet another delicious and healthy convenience! If you've never tried pho, it's simply like a broth-based soup with rice noodles, vegetables, and sometimes meat.
We love the Happy Pho brand because it's healthy and makes dinner easy for us. We just have to buy the vegetables we want to eat with it (mushrooms, ginger, bok choy), and all the delicious toppings customarily enjoyed with pho, like basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, green onions,and lime juice. We add some Herbamare seasoning, tamari, and toasted sesame oil as well, instead of the traditional hoisin sauce.
I hope this blog has given you a lot of ideas to work with for a healthy vacation ahead! I'd also love to know if you have any go-to recipes that are quick, healthy, and easy to take with you or make on vacation.
Happy and healthy vacationing to you and your family!
In Love & Service,