The Quintanas, Week 25: The Buffet Comes After Us, and We WIN!

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

Have you noticed that when you try to avoid something, it is constantly dangled in front of you like a carrot?

Last week, my family was able to enjoy our first full vacation in more than six years. Sure, we've had a few weekends away here and there, but not like this. We spent eight glorious days in beautiful Savannah, Georgia.

Beth, my oldest daughter, turns 15 in May, which is like a sweet 16 in our culture. Instead of the big party, she opted for a trip, so off to Savannah we went. Thanks to the Healthy Families Challenge, we left prepared to do battle against unhealthy vacation carrots. Although there were a few dangling vegetables (and much worse) along the way, we came out of it pretty unscathed.

David, my husband, drove with a gallon of water by his side to avoid the soda pitstops, and we brought bottled waters, and almonds and cereal bars as snacks, for everyone.

The next morning in Savannah, we woke up to what would be our daily continental breakfast. If this was a movie, you would now hear that dreadful music that lets you know someone might be in trouble ...

It's true, I did just recently write that I would stay away from buffets. Of course, this was an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, starting with coffee and juice, and ending in cereal. In the middle, there was french toast, eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, danishes, and all kinds of bread items, including a waffle maker turning out crispy goodies. Actually, there were two waffle makers, one that made four baby waffles, and another that made a gargantuan waffle.

David and I found it safest to stay away from the monster waffles. We opted to share the baby waffles, and eat them with sugar-free syrup. That was pretty much what we ate every morning. David also indulged in biscuits with gravy, since they are his ultimate favorite and not commonly found in Miami, where we live. The older kids, Aaron, Beth and Christian, each had one ginormous waffle every morning. My youngest, Chloe, who likes cereal, would have a small bowl of Special K with 2% milk and two baby waffles with syrup.

quintana family vacation

What a Trip! Credit: Nory Garcia

Lunch the first day was easy. We stopped at a deli in Historic Savannah and had small sandwiches -- mine was egg salad on wheat, and David and the kids opted for turkey clubs. We didn't get chips or fries!

In Savannah, there really is no option downtown other than to park and walk. And walk we did. We were missing our classes back home, but we did not lack for exercise. We figured we managed to walk, at the very least, 10 miles over the entire vacation.

The next day, things got dangerous. Beth wanted to have a birthday lunch at The Lady & Sons. This restaurant belongs to southern chef Ms. Paula Deen. Once again, we were faced with a buffet, this time all down-home fixins. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and it goes on. I'm proud to say I chose the asparagus sandwich on rye, while everyone else bolted to the buffet. The famous southern fried chicken was the unanimous favorite. I was impressed with my vegetarian meal, as a lot of restaurants don't include us.

The rest of the trip was pretty safe, though with quite a few small snack-sized meals at fast-food places with healthier options, including Taco Bell's fresco menu (they call it a "Drive-Through Diet"), Subway's "Jared" Menu and Arby's turkey on wheat or lean roast-beef sandwiches.

Back at home, we discovered that David had gained four pounds and I had gained two. Not to worry. We're already back to the gym! I started boot camp at The Doral Vineyard and have attended yoga at Pranoga twice.

And I am already down a pound.

David and the kids are stoked about getting to American Top Team of Doral to start training with the new head coach, Thiago "The Warrior" Silva, a UFC light heavy-weight Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. And Chloe is back to her class at the Little Gym of Doral.

Buffets, you don't scare us a bit.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.