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Vacation Meal Planning

We spent the last week in Hilton Head Island, SC, and it was so fun! It was as relaxing as it could be with our 5 y/o and 2 y/o in tow. They were the best little travelers! I was a little nervous about the 10.5 hour drive, which turned into 13, but they were great. We had my husband’s parents join us which is always fun and a huge help! They enjoyed themselves and we got to take some walks together while the kids were sleeping. 


Traveling is pretty much a must in this house, and we try our best to fit it in the budget. We do use a Marriott travel rewards credit card for monthly expenses, but I haven’t quite mastered the travel hacking like the Points Guy.

I grew up going to the beach every year, and when we were little, we often tagged along on my dad’s work trips, especially in the summers. My mom would drive behind him in his service truck. He would work and we would explore. I have only 1 state left to go to, guess which one that this.. Alaska! Between all of the normal travel and a couple driving trips out west we hit all the rest. And my Dad saved all his Holiday Inn points from traveling all the time and converted them to Delta miles and the five of us flew to Hawaii the day after I graduated from high school. 

This post is a little bit more in the life category of this blog, but I wanted to document what we took with us this year for meals so it’s easy to pull up next year. I figured if I was writing it down, I might as well share, since it might help some of you! Generally our plan is to cook at dinner at least 3 times, sometimes 4 times during our week long vacations. When traveling as a family we book places that have full kitchens. This was our first time as a family in Hilton Head, and we stayed at Waterside by Spinnaker. It was a perfect location and had nice pools as well. Cooking several meals saves money and keeps us on track with healthy eating. It’s also nice because we can stay in the pool longer in the afternoon and not have to get “ready for dinner.”

The trick is to make it simple. Most condos or VRBO type places have basic kitchen supplies but you won’t find a Blendtec, immersion blender, muffin pans, etc.  Today I made 4 meals for this week and 3 of the 4 required the Blendtec, so those aren’t on the vacation list.  🙂 

The best part about this trip (ok not the best part) but a convenient part was there was a Kroger on the island, new since the last time we were there. So that meant it was super easy to do Click-list and no roaming around the store after a long day of travel trying to find items. It was also right next to a Whole Foods so we were able to grab a few items Kroger doesn’t carry.

 Here was the menu

Breakfast Ideas: We brought a bag of Pamela’s whole grain gluten free mix, so we made pancakes a few mornings and I also made chocolate chip cookie bars with it as a treat later in the week. Funny the ingredients weren’t much different between the pancakes and bars, just different ratios + dark chocolate chips. 🙂 I sort of follow the pancake recipe on the back but add almond butter and applesauce and they are perfect!

Our son loves Applegate Farms chicken and apple sausages so we got those, The weekend before the trip, I had frozen these morning glory muffins, so we had a dozen of those that we brought with us for other days. We purchased some frozen fruit and avocado so we had some collagen fruit smoothies too. The ingredients doubled for popsicles too! Eggs and bacon are super easy as well. We did eat breakfast out once at The French Bakery Hilton Head and it was amazing! See my instagram feed for pictures. 

Lunch Ideas: Chicken Salad, Applegate Farms- Grass fed beef hot dogs, guacamole (pre-made from the store), salad (I brought a few Primal Kitchen Dressings from Thrive Market), some Boar’s Head lunch meat, fruit, raw veggies, or leftover dinner. 

Easy Dinners:

  1. Bunless Burgers – Hawaiian style with Grilled Pineapple on top, with Roasted Cabbage (use olive oil instead of Canola oil)  
  2. Spaghetti Squash and Meat-sauce- Muir Glen Organic Pasta sauce, Meat of your choice (or Veggie Version), + Roasted Spaghetti Squash. Condos don’t have the greatest knives, so microwaving the squash a few min before cutting can be helpful! We also had a bag of frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower steamed to go with it. 
  3. Grilled Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes, steamed veggies from above. 

On Mother’s Day we enjoyed dinner out at Chow Daddy’s Hilton Head, the roasted veggie hot bowl with grilled fish was very good. Another night we checked out Giuseppis Pizza, I had the gluten free cauliflower crust pizza (Kale Pesto version!), and the last night we had a local Mexican restaurant called Amigos Cafe Y Cantina. It was literally right across the street and a friend had texted me that week to recommend it. It was a small, authentic mexican restaurant. It was fun to practice our Spanish too. 

A couple other tips: I brought 3-4 seasonings (mostly Trader Joes Blends), a small 8 oz mason jar of olive oil and one of apple cider vinegar, some collagen peptides in a baggie (for smoothies and popsicles), popsicle molds, salt and pepper. I also mixed up the seasoning in a small baggie for the chicken salad in advance as well as the seasoning for my burgers, so I just had to dump it in on vacation! My mother-in law also brought raisons, nuts, and seeds for throwing on salads at lunch, in addition to some snacks. She finds the best deals at what we call the “junk stores” in their area. Recently they snagged a whole box of Rx Bars for $2!

If you are traveling with kiddos and need some easy meal ideas for while you are gone, I hope this is helpful. If you happen to be traveling to Hilton Head, check out some of these yummy restaurants too!

Dr. Hartzler

1 Whole 30 Week #2

Hi Everyone-

I hope those that are doing the Whole30 program with me this month are doing well! So far so good here…my main issue this week was #1 forgetting my homemade salad dressing one day and #2 I haven’t been exactly making sure that the bacon I eat isn’t cured with sugar. We know bacon doesn’t have any after the cooking process for the most part but sometimes remains a bit sweet. I feel like for a busy working mom who was on the road this weekend, I succeeded!

My conference has been fun. I have enjoyed chatting with other practitioners and dietitians about functional medicine approaches to prediabetes and diabetes. I’ll be speaking at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting about this too with two other pharmacists. Blog posts on diabetes are coming soon!

Seriously if you have a family and haven’t stayed at a Residence’s Inn by Marriott…you are missing out. Full kitchen = better food choices and most of the time the same price or cheaper than area hotels. We packed leftovers, so I was able to eat a yummy butternut squash hash yesterday morning and today a sweet potato with some shredded pork. The one where we are staying at in Indianapolis is just down the street from the convention center and near this awesome cafe called Patachou where I got a whole30 compliant salad yesterday! I just got oil/vinegar instead of green goddess dressing. Another great Indy breakfast find was LePeep. The hash dishes are Whole30 if you say no cheese. If we were staying longer, I certainly would have just headed to the grocery store and cooked here!

We also visited some friends from college last night at their home just north of town. Their kiddos are just a bit younger than ours. They were so sweet and made a wonderful dinner with grilled chicken and farmer’s market veggies. It was delicious! I couldn’t get over how sweet the cherry tomatoes were. Goal this week is to try to find some Farmer’s Market veggies. I think the 2nd street market in Dayton is open on Sundays now, might have to check it out on our way home or find a local one here on our way out. Their little boy and Princess K played together well and even took a dip in the neighbor’s hot tub!

Whole 30 Week #2 Menu

Last week I left off after Monday’s dinner. So here is this week’s meal plan for your enjoyment! If you did cook a whole chicken on Sunday..leftovers are perfect for breakfast or lunch this week!

Tuesday August 8th: Sheet Pan Roast Chicken Dinner Tuesday’s are busy for us with me working the bulk of my clinic time between Monday and Tuesday so we need something simple and easy to do! You can pretty much roast any veggie and chicken thighs (and we like boneless ones for easier eating) this way and it’s amazing. Toddler approved too! I don’t often find parsnips so ours ends up being sweet potatoes and carrots.

Wednesday August 10th: Chive Pesto Shrimp (or chicken) with Zoodles We have lots of yummy chives growing in our garden along with zucchini. This dish is super light and tasty. Feel free to do any protein with it. Chicken, turkey, or pork, with or without the shrimp might have more staying power! Nutritional yeast will have to be used instead of parmesan or omitted.

Thursday August 11th: Salmon and Roasted Veggies. Cook this however you like, we have found grilling on a cedar plank is delicious. We often end up doing this recipe and broiling because it’s yummy and quick. Roast some potatoes, broccoli, or brussel sprouts; really any veggie you like for the side!

Friday August 12th: Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Salsa Chicken Tonight we will be at my in-laws and want to share this dish with them. We made it during the last week of July and loved it. Honestly I haven’t tried anything from this blog that I haven’t liked!

Saturday August 13th: Slow Cooker Al Pastor Loaded Taco Salad. We are having a Pool Party with Dustin’s cousin’s family as well as two of their good friends from high school. We are excited for all the kids to play together. We are getting shredded pork for salads for us and sandwiches for others. If you are at home this weekend, definitely try this recipe. So yummy and no need for the tortilla just put it over a baked potato, sweet potato, or salad!

Sunday August 14th: Lettuce Wrapped Hamburgers with Roasted Veggies (leave out the honey). Again I hope this is inspiration…you can roast whatever veggies you would like!

Monday August 15th: Slow Cooker Spicy Stuffed Cabbage Casserole  Again starting the week is often busy for us and I’m sure many of you, so find those go-to slow cooker recipes that you can even prep on Sunday night!

If you haven’t been using ghee on your Whole30 plan you are missing out. My favorite is this brown butter ghee. Other yummy options are over at Thrive Market. If you haven’t signed up check it out and you can get free coconut aminos with your first order! We have saved a lot of money on paleo pantry staples here.

I hope something here inspires your week of clean eating.  If you are interested in checking out SunBasket next week. For the week of August 14th, the Turkish lamb köfte with tahini sauce and smashed cucumber salad, Southeast Asian chicken salad with sesame-lime dressing, and Chinese five-spice steak stir-fry with cauliflower “rice” are all good options to put on your order and Whole30 compliant!

How is your Whole30 or cleaning eating going this week? What have been your go-to meals?

2 Whole 30 Week #1

Hi Everyone-

If you have been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you have seen that in August I will be doing Whole30. This is essentially a reset plan, despite the fact that I should have been watching what I eat more while growing a little human being, somehow it got me off track. And the the ravenous hunger while nourishing my “little” baby (he’s 18 lbs at 4 months!) during the first few months also led to eating some things that weren’t as nourishing. So in an effort to get back on track, I’m heading into 30 days of whole real food!

You can find the “rules” here. Essentially it’s similar to a paleo plan; no grains, no dairy, no added sugar, no alcohol, no legumes, or processed additives. The main difference between this and paleo is not trying to recreate baked goods, or treats with approved ingredients. The goal is to change the way you view and consume food. Also the plan includes not stepping on the scale for 30 days!

I love the tough love found on their site. My favorite is “This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”  Amen to that!

The biggest thing is planning ahead which is why I’m staying up late to get my  dinner meal plan in your hands in prep for next week if you are joining me in this adventure. For me, breakfast will likely be leftovers from dinner because I don’t tolerate eggs very well. If you tolerate eggs, scramble them, make breakfast hash with whatever veggies you have, make omelets, frittatas, the options are endless. For lunch will likely be salad with some protein (beef/chicken/tuna) and homemade dressing. Lately I’ve just been mixing Apple Cider Vinegar with Olive Oil and Italian Seasoning. I’m going to have to bake lots of sweet potatoes and yams to get some carbs for nourishing little man. Whole 30 is not necessarily a low carb plan, but you can easily make it low-carb if you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Whole 30 Week 1 Dinner Menu

  • Tuesday August 1st: Taco Salads
    • You could do this a variety of ways, shredded pork like fajitas or just taco meat which your own seasoning overtop your favorite lettuce blend with lots of veggies (avocado, tomato, peppers, onions, etc!) Homemade Salsa and Guac for bonus!
    • We have a garden producing a TON of zucchini so likely we’ll have grilled zucchini or roasted zucchini with some olive oil/salt as well. Zucchini + Olive Oil + Trader Joes Everything Bagel Seasoning is really good!
    • Add roasted potatoes if you need more carbs! If you have diabetes, leave them alone.
  • Wednesday August 2nd: Moroccan lamb merguez patties with warm carrot salad.
    • We are trying another round of SunBasket this week. I’m so excited to try this again, for a full review check out this page. Note: if you place your order by tomorrow (7-27) at 3pm EST you can still have SunBasket do your shopping and prep for you. If not you an purchase the ingredients on your own and follow the recipe!
  • Thursday August 3rd: Chicken and new potato lettuce cups with tarragon-mustard dressing
    • This is also a SunBasket meal. Again if you know your planning time will be limited to start sign up and try it out or add the ingredients to your shopping list!
  • Friday August 4th: Vietnamese shaking beef with lime-pepper dipping sauce 
    • This is the last Sunbasket meal of the week. I decided to cook them all in a row so nothing goes bad!
  • Saturday August 5th: Strawberry Turkey Burgers and your choice of veggies/salad.
  • Sunday August 6th: Roast a Whole Chicken.
    • Here are a few options. Lemon Dill or this is pretty simple just use Ghee instead of butter for Whole30. Add carrots and veggies!
  • Monday August 7th: Balsamic Beef Roast and Veggies
    • Mondays are busy in our house so I typically try to at least prep our dinner Sunday night but crockpot meals are always a go to at the begining of the week for us because I’m at the office 7-5 both Monday and Tuesday. Always plan ahead for those busy days to make sure you stay on track!

I am actually traveling on the weekend, I’m headed to the American Association of Diabetes Educators Conference (AADE) but I added some ideas if you are cooking at home. I will likely be packing some sweet potatoes, ghee, (follow the link for the best ghee ever!) grilled chicken, and some hamburgers to heat up at our Residence Inn. It’s not too hard to eat Whole 30 eating out if you pick somewhere you can get grilled chicken/fish/steak with veggies and a starch.

For snacks have some nuts or nut butter (ingredients nuts +salt) on hand or raw veggies/fruit.  You can get great deals on nuts at Nuts.com or Thrive Market!

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