Fit Fun for Family Vacations - Guest Post by Kendra Thornton

With spring break and summer travels right around the corner, I'm honored to have teamed up with Kendra Thorntontravel expert, TV spokeswoman, PR businesswoman and busy mama of 3, to bring you tips for keeping your family healthy and happy on your journey.  

If anyone knows how to stay healthy and fit while traveling with kids, it's Kendra, having been born and raised in the travel industry.  You'll find her tips below, followed by mine.   

Fit Fun for Family Vacations
written by Kendra Thornton, Travel Advocate, TV Spokesperson, PR Businesswoman 
As a mom, I find it important to help my family make healthy choices. We do this on a regular basis at home. On the road, making healthy choices can be more complicated, but I have a few tricks I’d like to share:
1. Bring Dry, Healthy Snacks
Whenever my family travels, I pack healthy snacks to bring along with us. My kids love my homemade trail mix. I include healthy nuts and dried fruit, and I usually include a few M&Ms to satisfy the sweet tooth. Granola and fresh, raw veggies also make great snacks on the go. By keeping these snacks handy, I’m able to ward off the rumbling tummies that make little ones grouchy. Also, none of us are tempted to overindulge when we finally get to a restaurant as long as we haven’t gotten over hungry en route.
2. Make Good Choices at Restaurants
Of course, traveling usually means eating out, and that can mean high-calorie meals. When traveling, I try to stick to the standards my family follows when eating out near home. First, I choose restaurants with healthy options. Mediterranean cuisine tends to be a healthy alternative, and places that feature vegetarian food also have good, lean options. When eating out, I also cut back by ordering hamburgers without the bun or requesting no cheese.
3. Walk for Exercise
You probably won’t get your regular exercise routine in during a family vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. My family always walks a lot on vacation. We walk around amusement parks and other attractions. We also choose to walk rather than taking a tram or shuttle. We make a game of taking the stairs instead of the elevator at hotels and other places. Remember, every step counts on your family’s journey to health.
4. Go on a Run
My family likes to run. Whenever I plan a trip, I check to see if our stay coincides with a local fun run or other event. If so, I make reservations for my family to participate. Often, my entire family can enjoy a local 5k. Some of these events even feature short-distance races for the kids. These events also help us to learn more about the community where we are visiting.
When my family makes healthy choices on vacation, it helps us to more easily return to a healthy routine when we return home and these tips will be used on our upcoming trip to Orlando. We even booked a hotel with a nice gym for convenience and also just in case it rains. This proved to be a difficult process as there are just so many hotels in Orlando. Sites like Gogobot however are a huge help as they let you read user reviews so you know exactly what you’re getting into. I hope these tips help your family as well.

Top 5 Ways To Keep Healthy (and Sane) While Traveling With Kids 

written by Kim Plancich, tree-hugger, lightworker, Buddha-and-beer-lover, fire wife and mom of 2. 

5. Unplug.

You're getting away for a reason, right?  

We've never had a DVD player in the car, although we haven't driven cross-country with the kids yet...  But I have vivid memories of staring out the window on road trips as a kid, daydreaming and looking for shapes in the clouds, and I smile to myself when I see my kids doing the same in the backseat.  If the thought of car or plane rides without devices for the kids sounds unbearable, then hide them after arriving, and tell them mom and dad are unplugging, too.  Make a game of it, and give them a minute more at the park/zoo/arcade/pool/amusement park for every time they catch you checking your phone for anything other than the time or the camera.  If they throw an epic fit at the first sign of boredom, stand your ground!  They'll soon cross over from boredom to creatively assessing their new environment.  Helping our kids and ourselves be truly present in the moment reaps vast rewards in discovery and connection.  

4. Stop and smell the roses. 

 If flying, arriving at the airport with enough time to explore will keep everyone's sanity healthy, so kids aren't stuck sitting all day in terminals, planes and trams. This list highlights the top ten kid-friendly airports.  If driving, stop often, even just to stretch and do some roadside yoga headstands for the amusement of passersby. This can be difficult for those drivers, like my husband, who like to push on through to get to the destination quicker.  But enjoying the journey really does make for a happier crew and some fun, unexpected memories.

3. Snack well.

I'm known as the mom-who-always-has-snacks for good reason - my son can go from happily playing to whining and flopping on the ground in 3.2 seconds if I don't keep protein in him.  Trail mix too boring?  Avert low-blood-sugar meltdowns with different snacks from those your kids normally eat at home.   We love pistachios, dried fruit, beef jerky, pepitas and sunflower seeds.  Clif bars, dark chocolate-covered almonds and these protein-packed "Cookie Dough" Balls are our favorite snack "treats." If you can take a little cooler bag with you, whole carrots, cucumber spears and yogurt tubes offer a refreshing change.  And of course, drink lots of water.

2.  Keep your vitamin/supplement routine up.

This is one of the most important things for me.  

No matter what new, strange, unhealthy things we may eat, or what kind of time/routine change may throw our bodies for a loop, keeping up our whole food supplements and daily probiotics is an absolute must to keep our immune systems and digestion in working order. 

I divvy up our whole food herbal multivitamins from Dr. Schulze and our Bio-Kult probiotics, both of which the kids just chomp and swallow, into baggies for easy transport, and our bottle of Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil in our snack/cooler bag.  Not only do the kids seem to enjoy the one routine from home that travels with us, but keeping it up gives me peace of mind for my final tip......

.....1. Forget about staying healthy once a day. 

Or however often suits you. Let your kiddos get that roadside slushy or airport Cinnabon (gasp!) or deep-fried Oreo. Showing my kids that letting a little loose nutritionally (and otherwise!) when on vacation is a big part of them learning how to keep themselves un-deprived and in a healthy relationship with food as they grow into more independence.  

I enjoy a bite of the guilty (and sometimes downright nasty) pleasure myself, and make sure to keep my mouth shut about the carcinogenic "bad colors" or cavity-potential it may have.  They hear enough of my rhetoric at home to know it already, and after all, we have to put our vitamins and supplements to the test, right?

Happy trails to you!

Love + light ~



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