Saturday, May 31, 2014

Healthy Choices for Family Road Trips

healthy road trip food

Yeah, you could eat half a bag of chips. (I recommend salt and vinegar.) Stop the car now and then for a stretch and a coffee and some sunshine and a packet of chocolate chip cookies - hydrogenated oils included! Don't worry about it ... Springsteen's blaring on the radio and you're on the open road, baby. 

But ... maybe ... you do want to worry about it. Because (oh, yeah) the kids are in the back and they need more than junk food (and iPads) to sustain them on the 12 hour road trip. So do you. And your hands are greasy, their hands are greasy, and you feel bored and hungry despite all those handfuls of Doritos. The car is covered in fine, particulate, orange dust. Chip motes. 

There's another way - all you have to do is plan a little bit ahead. And avoid panic. I'll show you how.

this is a tiffin - the best ever lunchbox / picnic box / camping food carrier

First things first, this is a tiffin: three stackable stainless steel layers that keep your food separate and can be held together (and carried) with a heavy duty locking handle system. You don't need one, but if you can find a good quality, stainless steel one - buy two of them. I bought mine in Malaysia ... you can get the same one on Amazon here .

Second? Pack your tiffin full of rainbow colours for the road trip. Let's be honest, you don't really get ravenous when you're driving ... you just want to munch on things. Crispy things. And you don't have to limit yourself to chips. Try carrot sticks, zucchini sticks, multi-coloured mini tomatoes, sugar snap or snow peas, fresh green beans. Try berries and almonds and crisp, washed grapes. The key (as always) is variety and rainbow colours. Plus - the kids are trapped! No chips in the car? Too bad. Heh, heh, heh.

Don't forget to pack a picnic or two for some nice stops or a casual outdoor dinner at the hotel.

picnic, not panic - simple and nutritious and without rushing

Just don't panic about the packing. You'll get there. Preferably, without spilling a jar of poppy seeds in your mad rush out the door (as I did. Oops.) 
It's holiday time.

Have a great weekend out there!
Amanda xx

Friday, May 9, 2014

Yoga for Waiting

I've been spending a lot of time in bathrooms lately, and it's got nothing to do with fibre in my diet. My daughter seems to enjoy sitting on the commode - thinking, daydreaming, contemplating, chatting, doing pretty much everything except what she's supposed to be doing. 

For me, standing and waiting waiting waiting? 
It's excruciating.

temple buddhist travel with kids
Penang, Malaysia

Particularly when we're having dinner. Or have just finished dinner. Or when we're at a busy hawker centre in Penang, Malaysia. Or at the Singapore Zoo, where undoubtedly exciting things are happening in pens just around the corner. We are going to miss the elephant show!!

Nothing I can say or do makes it happen faster. Never before have I wished my words could incite bowel movements - never before have I wished to become an oral laxative. Come on, sweetie, just finish. Please? Are you done yet? Can you hurry a little more please

And if this was physiological, dietary, I'd be more sympathetic. It's not. As an armchair psychologist I can assure you this is a control thing. This is the one time she calls the shots 100%, because she knows I'm not leaving her in a random toilet in Kuala Lumpur. She's got me. 

So I've just got to get her back deal with it. Appreciate this time for what it is.
I've started doing yoga. 

family travel in asia
Kek Lo Si Temple in Penang, Malaysia

I once had a boyfriend who took every opportunity to stretch, or flex, or do press ups, or otherwise contort himself in humiliating (to me) ways. In line at the bank? Standing on the subway? Trying to decide between Powerade and Gatorade in the sports drink aisle? That's wasted time, if you're not working on your flexibility. It used to kill me when he'd do that. But now I kinda see the point, just a little bit - it's not just about using that time, it's about taking control of it. My time. 

Don't get me wrong, I may see my ex's behaviour in a new light, but won't be doing calisthenics while I'm waiting in the toilet. That would be pretty silly - I mean, how dirty is that floor?! Nope, you can find me doing vrikshasana - the tree pose, with modifications that mean a) I don't have to put the bottom of my shoes on my pants and b) it's not actually obvious to others that I'm doing yoga. 

Here's tree pose:

NOTE: Adriene (above) is awesome. She does awesome yoga videos - you totally need to check her out. 

And here's my modification (and a REALLY dirty vintage mirror ... uh, sorry):

yoga tree pose patience parenthood
tree pose for waiting

See how I do it? The main difference is foot placement, because (ew) we don't want the bottoms of our shoes on our pants when we're standing in the toilet, right? So my legs are firm, my foot rooted into the ground, spine straight. Opposite (inside) ankle resting on the back my standing leg, as far up as I can get it by just lifting my foot. I stand tall and strong, using my leg muscles to push my bent knee into the same plane as my body. Shoulders down, shoulder blades pulled together, chin up, abdominal muscles engaged. Looking around makes this pose less apparent to everyone else in the toilet, and is also more difficult, which increases muscle toning. 30-60 seconds, then I switch to the other leg. If you're like me and my charming daughter, you should get a few dozen rounds in before you have to stop. 

But even a few minutes of yoga while you're waiting helps make you stronger - physically and mentally. So thank you, child, for this time.
And can you please finish?

Have a great Mother's Day out there!
Amanda xx