Dietitian Gone Wild: Annual Trip to Wisconsin

For the first few days of any vacation I eat everything in sight to fully immerse myself into all the region has to offer. The more fried and golden a food the better. Wine with lunch? Absolutely. Unless I’m headed to the Las Vegas strip, I always pack a change of workout clothes just in case, but if I don’t end up using them it doesn’t stress me out. Though I might not make it to the gym with Scarlet in tow, I can count on carrying her 30 pound body around a sprawling water park or pushing her through the airport while balancing a huge purse doubling as a diaper bag and carry-on. I usually don’t gain an ounce. My secret is portion control, mindful eating, and staying busy.

Last week I made the annual excursion to my Wisconsin homeland where Scarlet, Steve and I spent every night with different relatives. I really missed blogging but I had no time to post.

Warning: The images you are about to see include an abundance of fried food, pastries, cheese, and meat. Do not try this at home on a regular basis.

We headed straight to my mom’s from the airport. After eating the shrimp eggrolls (a childhood favorite), I dove into homemade strawberry pie with vanilla ice cream.

The next morning my aunt made baked French toast. She smeared a cookie dough looking substance over the bread before baking. It was made of butter, brown sugar, and pecans. Whoa! A scoop of cottage cheese alongside balanced out the dish.

I worked at Schreiner’s Restaurant as a teenager and though the food may be a bit dated, I always pay a visit. I ordered their famous New England clam chowder.

And spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette.

After a pizza dinner that evening, we celebrated three birthdays with 4-layer chocolate cake. Scarlet and I shared half a slice.

The next morning we headed up to Kohler, a gorgeously manicured little town, home of the world-renowned maker of luxury kitchen and bath fixtures.

My sister stayed at The American Club where we enjoyed a late lunch. I took a sip of her bloody Mary, which was perhaps the best I’ve ever had.

Friday fish fry is a must eat in Wisconsin. We all ordered the beer battered Icelandic cod with fries. Sadly, they didn’t offer perch. I ate a third of my order, preceded by three fried cheese curds lightly dipped in ranch.

We trekked to Wisconsin Dells after lunch and my sister made a stop at A & W for a root beer float. I didn’t object and slurped down half of it.

The last supper: 1/3 rack of ribs, fried shrimp, grilled pineapple, and a twice-baked potato. By this point in the trip, my taste buds hit the wall. I ate a third of everything, including a slice of lemon meringue ice cream pie.

I jogged along the lake on the last day. It felt amazing.

We enjoyed one more order of fried cheese curds and a Cobb salad before our flight back home. My husband’s frequent flyer privileges bumped him up to first class so we split the time behind the curtain. Randy, the US Airways flight attendant, was from a virtually extinct breed, the type you find in the friendly skies only on rare occasions. I could tell he’s loved his job since the time commercial air travel was dignified (as I’ve heard from older people), rather than the cattle herding we experience these days. He lured me into a glass of Italian cabernet as well as a refreshing appetizer of sliced chicken breast atop julienne tart apples and carrots with tarragon.

I also ate the hot roll with butter and most of a thin slice of turtle cheesecake.

I was jolted back to the present when my husband beckoned me to trade places with him in coach. I collected my things and headed back to reality, back home. It’s great to be in my own kitchen again.

Tell me, how strict or free are you with eating on vacation? How does it make you feel?

Estimated Calories: Wednesday dinner 840, Thursday (750 breakfast, 406 lunch, 655 dinner), Friday (964 lunch, 175 snack, 603 dinner), Saturday (761 lunch, 429 dinner, 100 wine)


You may also like:

Chef’s Post Vacay Meals

A Nutritionist’s Point of View: World of Coca-Cola Tour

Weekend Fun: What Happens in Vegas Stays on My Blog


  1. Kristina says:

    When I go on vacation, I usually drive, so there are stops for mochas or those touristy roadside shops or stands with samples and new food items. And when I get to my destination (coast or big city), there is the fish and chips, salt water taffy, new restaurants and yet again, more touristy food places where you eat samples and buy food items. I tend to avoid fast food and go for the local favorites, but I’m not worrying about the calorie count. After all, it’s a vacation:)

    1. Hi Kristina,
      I love those mochas at the gas stations! I had one of those too, while in Wisconsin.
      Thanks for sharing.

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