Food Diary of a Nutrition Student on Vacation

Having just come back from a long weekend at the beach, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to write an entry that makes things a little bit more personal. I’ve been wanting to have some pictures taken so that you can put a face to this blogger, but until that happens, this will have to do. While at the beach, I took pictures of everything (ok, almost) I ate. This post is a collection of all of those pictures, which I’m calling a “Food Diary of a Nutrition Student on Vacation.” I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I fell off the wagon a little bit with this vacation, and feel the need to assure you that I usually eat a little bit better than this, even on vacation. I try to eat home-cooked meals most nights and I make sure to bring plenty of nutritious snacks, but that boardwalk food really got the better of me on one or more occasions. But enough of that! It’s only proof that dietitians (and RDs-to-be!) are human, right? Without further ado, I present to you my Food Diary of a Nutrition Student on Vacation:

Before leaving Thursday morning, I fueled up for the car ride and busy day ahead of me with a glass of milk (not pictured) and a balsamic raspberry omelet. I really like adding fruit to egg white omelets, since egg whites are such a blank canvas for other flavors and it allows me to have the sweet, natural sugar without carb-loading, as is the case with most popular breakfast meals. The natural sugars and juice from the fruit also give the egg whites a great fluff and texture. There’s also some chopped up, sautéed spinach thrown in for good measure.

Lunch on Thursday was none other than Mack-n-Manco’s pizza, a staple and absolute must-try at the Jersey shore. I have to confess here that I am a huge sucker for pizza, and these guys have the art of pizza making down pat. I opted for one slice of the spinach white pizza, though most people insist that you go for the plain when you’re there (I stole a bite of one of L’s 2 plain slices so as not to feel like I was missing out). The crust is thin and crispy but still a little bit chewy, the cheese never gets overly greasy (though your hands by the end of it are proof that it’s no health food, either), the sauce is sweet and the vegetables are fresh. Plus, the atmosphere is fantastic, with everything being open to the boardwalk: you sit at the bar and watch them toss pie after pie into the air, then you get your slices slid up to you on a paper plate, you eat like a champ and then shove your way through the crowded storefront to go on your merry way. It’s an experience.

For dinner that night I sautéed edamame burgers that I had formed into patties at home the previous night. L had his on a roll but I ate mine mixed up with a vegetable sauté topped with toasted pine nuts. No real recipe here – just lots of veggies, some seasonings on hand, lemon juice, and the nuts scattered on top at the last minute. Very tasty!

Then, of course, there was dessert – we were planning a quiet night in, so I just stuck with 2 Trader Joe’s maple cream cookies I had packed. These cookie sandwiches are a pure taste of heaven, but I have to watch it because the serving size is only 1 cookie, and I could easily make a whole sleeve disappear. Two, though, is almost reasonable, and I proved that I was really hungry when even those weren’t enough to fill me; later on I snuck back into the kitchen for some plain chobani, sweetened up with some more indulgent chocolate covered blueberries I just received from Dove.

Friday morning we woke up early and I had a banana and a little bit of Kashi mixed into my blueberry yogurt. Nothing fancy, just a standard breakfast in the Floptimism kitchen – tasty, though! We ate outside in the sun, which at 8:30am was already strong enough to dry the furniture from a nighttime shower.

We headed out to eat for lunch, stopping at a local café called Yianni’s along the main shopping strip of the town. Although the breakfast options were tempting, with farm fresh egg omelets and tons of fresh fruit options for pancakes and French toast, I stuck with lunch and ordered a chicken salad sandwich. I ate half of the sandwich along with half of a plain garden salad, no dressing, and packed the rest up to take back to the house with me. L had a much fancier sounding crab and spinach quesadilla, which he said was pretty good, too.

Dinner on Friday was a mild let-down, but wasn’t a complete disaster. I planned to make my favorite baked chicken fingers to pair with a fresh strawberry spinach salad. As the chicken was baking, I went to prepare the salad. First, I discovered that I had left this fantastic, vibrant, tangy strawberry vinaigrette that I had made at home, which definitely bummed me out for a bit. At least it will be waiting for me when I get home! Then, I went to wash the spinach – unopened as of yet – only to discover that it was already wilting and turning into that dark, slimy green version of spinach that no one wants to touch. I picked through to find the good leaves, washed those, and tried to hand dry them as best I could. I really do want a salad spinner – greens just look so much perkier when you don’t have to press them dry with your hands and a towel. Finally, I went to wash the strawberries to top the spinach with, only to discover that they, too, were past their prime and most had bruises all over them. Maybe I let all of these less-than-ideal encounters impact my perception of the salad, but it definitely wasn’t much to write home about. I’ll have to try it again with that dressing when I get home and can find some fresher ingredients.

That night we went back to the boardwalk for mini-golfing, and on the way back finally stopped at Shriver’s Gelato, a store that we drool over every single time we pass. I was tempted by the healthful claims of The Bashful Banana, a shop that makes frozen banana “ice cream” with lots of fun toppings (if we had more time you can bet that’d be one of our stops too!) and the fresh fruit on the kitchen counter called to my conscience, but I had to stop for gelato instead. Have you ever been in a gelato shop? If they hadn’t been so packed and I had thought to bring my camera, I absolutely would have taken pictures of the amazing display. I also would’ve taken a picture of the decadent little scoop of N.Y. cheesecake (with strawberries!) gelato I got, smushed up against L’s 2 scoops of chocolate hazelnut (decidedly too chocolately and not hazelnutty enough) and tiramisu (nothing short of divine).

I woke up early with L for his Frisbee tournament Saturday morning, the whole reason we were at the beach to begin with, and helped him pack some food for the day before he headed out. I did a fairly intense Jillian Michael’s work out, which my legs felt after all of the walking we had done over the past two days. Then I had a simple breakfast of yogurt to hold me over until lunch.

For lunch I ate my leftovers from the day before – I had intended to make it low carb by not eating it as a sandwich, but after finishing the salad and chicken and still feeling pretty darn hungry, I decided 1 slice of whole grain rye wasn’t anything to feel guilty about, and polished that off, too.

A walk into town and a few hours of window shopping worked up my appetite again, so I snacked on some sliced mango and strawberries with Kashi drizzled over for crunch, and followed that up with some cucumber slices dipped into the tail-end of a hummus container and a laughing cow cheese wedge.

Dinner that night was a true hodge-podge of leftover ingredients. It began as a Chana Saag recipe with homemade chapitas, paired with a Moroccan tomato salad. Then, I accidentally used all of the yogurt, had extra chicken and veggies, and was feeling a little too overwhelmed about all of the cooking during vacation to worry about making homemade bread of any kind, no matter how quick and simple. So, I chopped up everything I had left over, threw it in the skillet, added milk instead of yogurt, and hoped for the best. It turned out absolutely incredible – I ate mine as it was but L cut up some whole wheat pita to mix into it for a more filling, heartier meal. I’m sure traditional Chana Saag is wonderful, but this was very enjoyable, too.

That night we decided to just relax around the house, so when I got hungry for a little something sweet in the evening I took some sliced strawberries and mixed them in with a few of the chocolate covered blueberries that I had opened the night before. It was a perfect compromise between totally indulgent and smarter snacking, and definitely satisfied my sweet tooth. Of course, I only remembered photography after my last bite, so here’s a photo of the package that the chocolates came in.

Sunday was our last day there, and I was heading to L’s tournament for the last day. Nothing on this day was captured on camera because we were out and about and I was more than a little distracted by the Frisbees flying all around me. I drank a glass of milk before we left, and by the time we got to the fields (aka the beach, a few towns over) I was ready for a banana-Kashi mash that would have only been made better by a little dash of cinnamon. Lunch was a small whole wheat pita with peanut butter, paired with an apple. I had some of the leftover tomato salad from the day before as an afternoon snack before heading out, and after running into some car trouble on the way home that extended our drive, I was thankful for a tupperware container of leftover mango and strawberry slices.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable break from the daily grind of a full-time job and juggling various other responsibilities I seem to involve myself in at all times, and the food was definitely fantastic. Like most vacations, there were some indulgences that I wouldn’t have normally had, but I’m happy with the planning I did that made eating healthfully the majority of the time very easy and the special treats here and there just that: special.

So there you have it, the food diary of a nutrition student on vacation! I hope everyone brought in the end of July with similarly excellent food (do tell if you did!), and I look forward to sharing what I have in store for August as well as hearing what you create.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment