I have embarked on a courageous summer-long journey with my kids, solo. SOLO. I know, I’m insane. In the midst of beautiful evergreen trees and fresh water lakes, with a side of crazy, I have been beyond grateful for my friend Lilli’s words of wisodom. This is the first post of a series of guest posts this summer. I hope you Enjoy…
When my husband and I started traveling with our first child we tried to make the food of the region part of that experience. The avocados and mangoes in Monterrey, Mexico are a particularly memorable example. The season had peaked and my daughter seemed to know she was getting that beautiful fruit at its very best. We mashed the avocados and tore up tiny pieces of the soft margarita bread. She loved those tasty morsels.
We underestimate children. If given an opportunity they might really surprise you. The fact that they are in a different environment and probably with different people when you travel will set the stage for them to try new flavors. Of course if they won’t try it don’t stress. And if they do experiment with new food tell them how proud you are! Lead by example and try something different yourself. Let them see you eating differently than you do at home.
Here are 5 quick tips to help you incorporate great regional foods into your family’s meals while traveling:
- Do a little research online before you go and find out what the “typical” foods of that area are. Learn about the ingredients so you can prep your child with friendly reminders.
- Make a list and bring it with you to make it a point to try some or all of them with your family.
- Visit a local market once you arrive. It will fully transport your mind body and spirit to the new environment.
- Snack foods are an easy friendly place to start experimenting.
- Try foreign versions of familiar favorites. A Nutella sandwich instead of Peanut butter sandwich. Carrot juice instead of Orange.
- Savor the flavors
- Romans eat gelato, but more importantly, they stroll or sit in a square enjoying the sights and sounds while doing so. Make the food experience part of the travel experience. Although slowing down to take in life is not typically American remember that you are on holiday and what better time to live a little differently and a little slower.
- Forget about the kids menu.
- In North America there very well might be a kids menu, but try to avoid these options. Share your plate with your little one or order something for them from the adult menu to encourage a different mindset.
- If you are in another foreign country kids menus may not be common. Many restaurants are very accommodating though so don’t be afraid to ask if you need them to give you single ingredients or modified dishes. As long as you are polite and enlist their help most establishments will try to work with you.
- Don’t be afraid to try new foods.
- Don’t worry, I’m not talking about “bizarre foods” just new to you or prepared differently. If you’ll try it your child might also.
Now that you’re prepared for your trip don’t forget to make food a central part of your adventure. It will strengthen memories for you and your children transporting you all to that time and place with each future bite.