Every time I travel, I learn something about myself. I’ve said for years that there is a vacation version of myself – someone more present, in the flow, finding joy in the moment. This makes sense if you think about it. Without the associative triggers of our environment, the regularity of routines, and stressors of daily life, we are more likely to relax, let go, and have fun. I always vow to bring more of this side of myself home with me. It can sometimes feel as if it never “sticks,” but looking back over the past decade or so, I know it has. The accumulation of my travels have slowly but surely chipped away at my rigidity. It is a constant practice, but I have become more nimble.
As we were driving home from the airport after our return flight home (4.5 hours later than expected mind you, more on that below), I told my husband this trip increased my mom confidence, which I then quickly coined “momfidance.” Being without the comfort of your home and accessories for a week will do that. When it comes to “Healthified travel,” I figured that out a while ago. I always leave feeling as if I have upheld a sense of balance. Bring a baby into the mix? That is a different story! Yet I still managed to return feeling recharged, lighter, and more energized, which is a win in my book. On that note, travel looks different these days than if we were without baby, so I included some suggestions at the end of this post for healthy places we would have went to if we had had more freedom and flexibility. It is making me dream up a more curated Healthified travel trip to Miami in the future!
This was actually our first time flying with Mason, and luckily my husband was able to find a direct flight first thing in the morning. It was almost too easy (again, the return flight made up for it), and while Mason had his moments, he slept most of the way and did pretty well! It’s funny – when the third person in our row was finding his seat, I found myself almost apologetically prefacing that Mason was “typically chill.” The kind man reassured me that he too had children, so everything was just fine.
We stayed at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Alex thought a bigger resort for our first trip with the baby would be a good idea – more amenities, restaurants, and less to figure out on the fly. After checking in, we immediately hit the beach. Mason passed out immediately. I enjoyed some time to read and drink rose.
When lunch time rolled around, we ordered from the beach bar. There were not that many healthy options, so I ordered the pesto chicken sandwich with a side salad. Given the early start to the day (wake-up call circa 3:45am), I knew I (and my blood sugar) needed protein and fat. I decided to forgo the bun, and I enjoyed the chicken, bacon, avocado and leafy greens. It was exactly what I needed!
It was a great first day!
When it was time to make a decision about dinner, we were exhausted. We ordered sushi and had a night in. I went with the salmon and avocado roll, and we shared some tuna as an appetizer. This was from some place we found on Uber Eats, but Miami has a lot of sushi options.
The next morning, Mason was up before the sunrise, so…we were fortunate to watch the sunrise (see what I did there? Glass half full…). Lots of coffee ensued. He had just started crawling a couple of weeks prior, and was on the loose! Trying to climb over everything, I definitely got my upper body workout in through the week.
Every morning we went on a long walk on the boardwalk before breakfast. It was the perfect way to get outside and move.
I made Alex and I breakfast yogurt bowls almost every morning consisting of Gratisfied Granola Clusters, fruit and peanut butter. There were a couple of mornings when we ate out, but we were fortunate to have a hotel room with a full refrigerator. We had placed an Instacart order at the start of the week for some staples. When we travel, we typically choose Gratisfied products for breakfast instead of eating out anyway, which starts our blood sugar on the best foot (and saves money)!
Another great day at the beach! There were times when Mason lost his cool, but for the most part, he did OK (but it was not always relaxing).
For lunch I ordered the blackened mahi sandwhich, with a salad on the side and forgoing the bun once again. Greens + protein = lasting energy and satiation!
For dinner that evening, we ventured out and ate at Ocean Social located at the Eden Roc hotel next door. It is a beautiful open air restaurant with a view of the water. Any establishment with healthy and fresh seafood options is right up our alley.
It was lovely, yet what the below photo doesn’t show is the handful of times Alex and I had to walk Mason around the premises to avoid a meltdown. PS: I highly recommend the Colugo stroller for flying and traveling. It served us so well, both at the airport and getting out and about around town.
We ordered the octopus appetizer, and I had the sea bass dish for dinner. Delicious!
The next morning entailed another long walk and Gratisfied breakfast bowl, after which we hit the beach.
Mason didn’t last long in his swim suit. The heat was making him a bit irritable, so I just decided to slather him in sunscreen and let him be.
By lunch time, Alex and I were in the mood for a cocktail. Two smokey margaritas please. It included mezcal, which I love.
I ordered the house salad with blackened mahi and added avocado. A bit of a basic salad, but colorful and fresh with healthy fat, fiber, protein, and leafy greens – it’s all you need! This was my go-order at the beach bar for the other times we ate there.
We decided to stay in the resort for dinner, and headed to more of the family-friendly restaurant Pizza & Burger. I loved how they had “naked” options on the menu (i.e. burgers without the bun). Don’t get me wrong, I love a burger with the bun, but sometimes I want to focus on the protein and flavors. I went with the naked burger that came with lump crab and asparagus and a side salad. So good!
We walked a little longer the next morning and ended up in South Beach. We were both pretty hungry by that point, and so spontaneously ended up at The Betsy for breakfast.
I ordered an almond latte and the greek yogurt bowl with house made granola.
The morning was beautiful and we had about a 40 minute walk back to the hotel. I always love this aspect of travel – walking to and from meals. It helps with digestion and makes me feel lighter and more energized.
We tried the pool instead of the beach, which I think Mason enjoyed more.
For dinner, we went for sushi at Blade, which is another restaurant in the hotel.
We ordered the edamame as an appetizer. I typically stay away from processed soy for multiple reasons, but edamame is soy in its whole food form. There was a roll on the menu which was wrapped in cucumber. I loved this! A way to sneak in another vegetable and it added a nice crunch.
The next day it was raining, so we took it as an opportunity to enjoy a slow morning. I made Alex and I yogurt bowls with Gratisfied Granola Clusters and crumbled Almond Butter Bar and we just hung out in the room.
We had debated bringing our car seat, but after I asked around, we realized most Ubers don’t have them. We were only going to be taking two cars (to and from the airport), so it was a little annoying to fly with the car seat for just two trips, but it ended up coming in handy in the hotel room as well!
When the rain cleared, we went on a long walk, ending back in South Beach just in time for lunch. We stumbled upon Market at Edition in the Marriott hotel. It was such a great spot! I ordered the kale salad with salmon, which was amazing. The kale was massaged in an apple cider and mustard vinaigrette with toasted pumpkin seeds. I could literally eat this for lunch every day.
It never warmed up enough to go to the beach or pool, so we hung out in the room until dinner. Mason was able to take a proper nap, and it was actually nice to take a break from the sun. We went to Scarpetta for dinner, an Italian restaurant in the resort. I didn’t take any photos, but ordered the sea bass entree.
We were back on the beach the next day!
Mason didn’t last long, and it was a little taxing keeping him content. Thank goodness for Alex who took him up to the room to nap, because I got a couple of blissful hours of reading my book. I was literally too lazy and in my element to order lunch, so I ate a Gratisfied Oat Bar and it did the trick – held me over until dinner.
When Mason woke up from his nap, we decided to leave the beach and go to the pool instead. He crawled around while Alex and I drank a cocktail.
We decided to go back to Pizza & Burger for dinner. It was the most convenient and casual place we found all week.
This is the first time we got Mason a highchair, which he loved. I think he just wants to feel a part of the fun.
We had calamari as an appetizer and then I ordered the ancient grain salad with salmon. Healthified travel tip: make an indulgence like fried calamari the anomaly and the not the norm. I love calamari and was able to enjoy it, but am not going to order something like this every night. It is a treat! I eat to my pleasure parabola then balance it out with a healthier dish.
The next day was our last full day. We went on a longer walk once again to South Beach in search of a juice bar. We were both in the mood for a smoothie bowl. It was a beautiful morning!
We found Joe & the Juice. I ordered the spirulina bowl and Alex had an acai bowl. When it comes to smoothie bowls at juice bars, I opt for something that balances out the fruit with protein and fat. The spirulina bowl had avocado, which is a great ingredient for more blood sugar balance.
We didn’t end up eating breakfast until close to noon, so that afternoon I had a Cacao Bar to tide me over and it was perfect (and easy!)
By the last night, all we wanted to do was eat a healthy salad and stay in. We ordered Sweetgreen through Uber Eats, did some packing, and laid low.
Some friends were in the area that weekend and wanted to meet us for breakfast before our flight. I jumped at the chance to eat at Ocean Social again because their breakfast menu looked delicious. I had an almond milk latte and the the chia pudding.
It was then time to leave. I packed a small snack bag for the plane, knowing all I needed was Gratisfied products. There was a rogue avocado that made it home as well. By the time we got to the airport, we were both very hungry, and had a couple of hours until take off. A burger place was honestly our best bet. In the past, I would not have eaten at the airport, but now I know I can find something healthy anywhere we go. There is likely going to be something with protein, healthy fat, and leafy greens. Although it might not be the most nutritious, that is totally OK. I ordered a cobb salad and ate to the point of satiety. We also ordered a drink, which I don’t normally do, but hey, we were still on vacation and when in an airport!
The first flight went smoothly, but the second leg, not so much. Long story short, we ended up having to de-plane and catch a later flight. Delays, while the epitome of something you can’t control, are stressful – especially with a baby! I broke into my snack bag around the time we were actually supposed to be home.
We got home almost 5 hours later than anticipated, so it was around midnight by the time we went to bed. I ate a small bowl of granola and hit the hay. I was so grateful to have gotten home safely!
Overall, it was a great trip. I have heard from multiple people that the concept of “a vacation” with a baby is forever changed, and isn’t that the truth. What is important is the time we spent together, so a big success!
Here are some spots I would have loved to hit, but didn’t get to: