June 27th, 2015 1:18 am

First Posted: 7/16/2013

Summer is the time for getting away from your regular routine and going on “vacation.” Whether you are traveling away from home or planning a “stay cation,” it is important to break away from the usual jobs and experience something new with family and or friends. Vacation, howeve,r is not the time to divert from a healthy diet.

Folks who are following an eating plan to manage a health condition can be quite challenged if vacationing away from home. There are new places to eat and possibly seeing family whom you do not get to see often. Both of these may be a call for disaster.

New restaurants, road stops and fast food restaurants along the road can spell disaster without some pre-planning. If you are dining out at a new restaurant and are unsure of how they prepare their food, plan to ask a few questions. If possible, try to get a copy of the menu in advance.

Boring car rides can also spell disaster. Pack fruit, popped popcorn and nuts. Try to stay away from cookies, candy and chips. They will only make you feel hungrier and leave you feeling guilty.

Visiting family may also be a challenge. Grandparents often mean well by buying special treats for kids. Even though they may not be on a special diet, kids behave better if they eat well. If possible, try to space out those special treats. Grandmas can make their special sauces or traditional entrees and skip the desserts.

Being away from home doesn’t mean that all activity stops. Swimming, walking and hiking can burn extra calories. Run around with the kids, play their games or visit while you walk.

Vacation is only once a year. Keep your health in mind so that next year you can enjoy the activities you enjoy most.

If you are visiting friends and want to make a special side dish, make this family favorite of ours. If traveling a distance, take it in a small container and cook up the pasta when you get there.

I couldn’t resist reprinting this recipe from last year. It is one of our familiy’s most favorite foods and brings back many special memories. Pesto is a green sauce added to vegetables, fish and pasta. If you wish, you can eliminate the walnuts and substitute pine nuts or not add them at all.

Basil-Walnut Pesto

4 peeled, medium-sized garlic cloves

½ cup walnut pieces

1 cup Parmesan cheese

4 cups packed basil leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor, blend all ingredients. Makes two batches for two pounds of pasta. Toss 1/2 of the recipe with one pound of freshly made angel hair or linguini pasta.