We were on the road this weekend & pictured above is breakfast at our hotel. I wasn’t expecting much from the “free” breakfast, but this was literally all we could muster up. (Missing from the picture is a small bowl of Special K that T ate dry after I nixed Fruity-loops or some other similar monstrosity of a food-like substance.)
So, just to be clear, here’s what you’re looking at in the picture. There is plain instant oatmeal (I thought about syrup for a second but high fructose corn syrup was the first ingredient) & I will never trust honey I can’t vouch for (to read about fake honey check out this or this). There is also something resembling scrambled eggs (though it was so rubbery I doubted its origins & hardly ate any of it). MFA Dad had a mini-muffin. Oh, and coffee.
What did we pass up? Trix-themed yogurt. Instant waffles, made with who-knows-what (designed to be topped with the HFCS, naturally). Sausage & potato patties (I was willing to try the eggs, but no one could have paid me to eat the sausage).
In retrospect, the peanut butter might have been a good option (if there were no funky added ingredients) but I don’t know what I would have put it on, as all bread-like offerings were clearly over-processed. The apple cinnamon instant oatmeal would have been alright & would have made the plain stuff more palatable.
I left the breakfast area feeling hungry & like a total snob. (The reviews of this particular hotel raved about the breakfast offerings… Clearly I was in the minority…)
But even if we had gone out to an actual restaurant for breakfast, would our options really have been any better? I doubt it, given our location (small Midwestern town; near a mall; etc.). Perhaps with some research I could have hunted down a restaurant serving pastured eggs & meat. And whole grain goodies. Maybe.
But what would have been easier? A little planning!
We could have knocked breakfast out of the ball park with a few of our own additions. Hard-boiled pastured eggs from home. A little container with oatmeal toppings (raisins, cinnamon, ginger, hemp seeds). A container of plain yogurt.
We could have added these to the “free” plain instant oatmeal, the fruit (oranges were an especially decent non-organic offering), and the coffee. We’d have eaten like kings!
Because, really, eating healthily on the road shouldn’t mean a table-ful of the bland fair pictured above.
The same goes for snacking, but we’ve had a bit more practice with snacks (since, really, we can’t leave home without at least one snack!).
Before we left for our weekend get-away, I read this article from Slate on why those squeeze bags of puréed fruit & veggies are a bad idea. (The most interesting argument for not giving these suckable pouches to your kids? It’s not really “eating.” Which is something that’s bugged me about these pouches… Really, aren’t they just pulpy juice packs? Michal Pollen’s Food Rules devotes an entire chapter to how we eat. There’s a reason for that. Chewing, it turns out, is actually important. And according to the Slate article, teaching kids that snacking without chewing is alright is a dangerous habit indeed.)
We planned out snacks a bit better than breakfast. Apples, bananas, homemade pizza leftovers, carrots, a Lara bar for snack emergencies (I really want to learn how to make a Lara bar substitute at home!) … These held us over for the 8 hours or so that we spent in the car over the weekend.
I’m still wondering, though… Does all this make me a snob?! I don’t think so… I didn’t really expect much from the “free” hotel breakfast. But this weekend of eating on the road made me appreciate how much I value our home-cooked fare.
The truth is, the more I pay attention to the food I eat, the harder it is to eat out. I don’t think that makes me a snob. It is not too much to expect a fresh vegetable to be offered on a menu. Or to find more than fried fare on the kid’s menu. Or to find non-sugared yogurt for breakfast.
I am not a snob. I just like real food. You know, the stuff humans were designed to eat. It doesn’t even have to be organic. Just real.