4 Nashville Activities that Belong on Your Spring To-Do List

Now that the weather’s getting warmer, it’s time to get out of the house and explore Nashville. Not only do these options offer plenty of family-friendly fun for all ages, they also help the whole family burn calories and build muscle without even realizing it. Pack a healthy lunch, get the kids in the car and enjoy spring in Nashville.

Float the Harpeth

The Harpeth River snakes 125 miles through the middle of the state before emptying into the Cumberland River. During the majority of the year, it offers only Class I rapids, which are perfect for children and beginners. If you have older children, renting kayaks will allow them more freedom.

Go on a Science Adventure

A science center may not be your first thought when you’re trying to keep your kids moving, but the Adventure Science Center is perfect for the day when those spring showers keep you indoors. From climbing in the three-story tower to dozens of hands-on exhibits that allow kids and adults alike to learn about science, there’s plenty to keep them interested.

In the BodyQuest gallery, you can play a life-sized version of the board game Operation, control a Ping-Pong ball with your mind and learn about blood cells while playing laser tag. The science center also offers a special toddler area to keep the youngest members of your crew engaged.

Learn about more family fun activities in Tennessee.

Learn about Nature

There is something for every member of the family at Warner Park Nature Center. For preschoolers, ask about the latest StoryWalk book and follow the story along the Little Acorn Trail. For teens, consider signing up for an organic gardening class.

People of all ages can enjoy other nature center programs, including learning orienteering and survival skills, catching crawdads and making mud pies. Nature Guides can help you spot wildlife and identify plants on a family-friendly hike.

Hit the Ice

You may know Ford Ice Center as the ice rink where the Nashville Predators train. But did you know it’s open daily for families to learn to skate, play games on the ice and have a little fun?

Kids can learn more about hockey through the center’s free youth hockey clinics for beginners and even meet Predators prospects. After you’ve gotten some exercise and enjoyed an afternoon of family fun, stay and watch local recreational hockey leagues duke it out on the ice.

 

What are your favorite outdoor activities to do in Nashville? Let us know in the comments!

Leah Newman is a freelance writer with particular interest in health and wellness, law, and personal finance. Her background is in journalism, and includes several years as a staff writer and editor at a daily newspaper. She has previously worked at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, YMCA Camp Widjiwagan and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Leah lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.

3 Things Your Kids Will Learn at a Working Farm

Next time you’re planning an activity for the whole family, consider giving your children a glimpse into Tennessee’s proud agricultural heritage by touring a working farm. Many working farms in Tennessee welcome visitors for tours and a taste of the farm life experience.

Touring a working farm will help you and your family get a better understanding of where food comes from and develop a deeper appreciation for the farmers who manage the state’s 67,300 farms.

Here are three things your kids might learn on a working farm in Tennessee.

How to Make Cheese

Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee, welcomes visitors for walking tours. Visitors learn how humans’ routines affect a cow’s diet and how computers are used to manage the herd’s health. Farmers explain the cheese-making process, and visitors can see the process in action. A selection of these cheeses is available for purchase as well, so your family can enjoy what the farmers and cows work so hard to produce.

How to Make Wool and Cashmere

You’ve probably wondered how your favorite wool sweater was made. Find the answer at a place like Mountain Hollow Farm in Tazewell, Tennessee. Goats, rabbits, llamas and sheep live on this farm. Workers show visitors how fibers like wool and cashmere are harvested and then spun into yarn for clothing. Mountain Hollow also offers knitting and spinning classes.
 

Learn about more family fun activities in Tennessee.

How to Preserve Food

Farmers often preserve food grown during the summer to use during the less bountiful winter months. Find classes on how to can and preserve various types of foods at Taproot Farm in Franklin, Tennessee, or find one that’s organized by the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Office. You’ll learn what it takes to grow food and the best ways to store it, so you’ll have plenty of goodies to eat later on.

So why not plan a family farm experience for your next outdoor excursion? Find a working farm near you through the Tennessee Agritourism website.

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

Why Gardening Is a Great Way to Relieve Stress

The next time you feel stressed, don’t reach for a sugary snack. Grab the gardening shears instead! Various studies have proven that gardening and stress relief go hand in hand.

A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology reported that gardening was more effective at reducing stress than reading a book. Another study that appeared in the Journal of Public Health found that working in a garden for just 30 minutes increased self-esteem and mood.

The Health Benefits of Gardening

So, why does gardening provide relief from stress?

  • Exercise: Digging, weeding, planting and harvesting are all physical activities that release endorphins and help keep you fit.
  • Time in the fresh air and sunlight: When you’re outside, your body enjoys fresh, clean air and your skin soaks up vitamin D from the sun. Just remember to wear sunscreen!
  • Provides nutritious food: If you grow vegetables, you’re more likely to eat a healthy diet. And when your body is healthy, you’re better able to manage everyday stresses.

Learn more about healthy living.*

Tips for Getting Started

Ready to start gardening? Here are four ideas:

  • Plant a vegetable garden at home. You don’t need much space to plant a garden. A small area in your yard where you can grow a few vegetables is a good start. Start with easy-to-grow vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers.
  • Or grow flowers instead. Try planting flowers in your yard or in hanging baskets. Good options to start with include clematis, petunias and geraniums.
  • Join a community garden. A community garden is a piece of land collectively gardened by a group of people. Each community garden works differently: some grow vegetables, some flowers. Some exist as one single plot where everyone pitches in while others allow people to rent individual plots.

In Tennessee, you’ll find various types of community gardens across the state. Neighborhood gardens like the Tree Streets Garden project in Johnson City allow residents to grow and harvest flowers, herbs and vegetables in a common plot. The Rest Community Garden in Memphis brings together seniors and youth to grow vegetables at a church. And the Sylvan Street Garden in Nashville utilizes public park space where local residents can grow food.

Have you tried gardening? Offer your tips for beginners below!

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

6 Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Activities in Tennessee

Did you know nearly 700,000 Tennesseans are of Irish ancestry? It’s no wonder there are so many fantastic family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day activities held in cities across the state every March.

So if you’re Irish — or even if you’re not — you can plan to attend an event that highlights the culture and heritage of the Emerald Isle. Here’s a look at some of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day events in the state for you and your family to enjoy.

Memphis

The 42nd Annual Silky O’Sullivan St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held along Beale Street on Saturday, March 12. The parade features floats, bands, dancers, cars and bead and candy throws. The free event is appropriate for all ages.

Learn about the Scots-Irish who rest at Elmwood Cemetery with the “Luck of the Irish” Walking Tour on Saturday, March 12 at 10:30 a.m. A guide will teach visitors about a former mayor, the city’s founder and other notable Irishmen and women who are buried in the historic cemetery. The cost is $15. To register, call 901-774-3212 or visit the cemetery’s website.

Nashville

Learn to dance a jig at the Music City Irish Fest,  located on Demonbreun Street, starting at the Musica Roundabout. Irish bands and dance troupes will perform throughout the day and vendors will sell Irish wares and offer dance and music lessons. This celebration of all things Irish is free and open to the public on Saturday, March 12.

The East Nashville St. Patrick’s Day Festival runs from noon until 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 12. Kids can enjoy a parade and “little leprechaun” contest early in the day, and parents can take in some tunes by Irish folk bands in the afternoon. The festival will be held at East Park. The event is free, but VIP tickets include lunch, and souvenir glasses are available for purchase.

Chattanooga

Rock City transforms into “Shamrock City” on two weekends in March (March 12 & 13 and March 19 & 20). The entire family can enjoy Irish jig lessons, strolling musicians, Irish foods, Celtic dance performances, green fudge and much more during this ninth annual celebration. Shamrock City festivities go from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all four days. Tickets are required.

A fun event for all ages, the St. Chatty’s Day Parade winds through Chattanooga’s downtown from Market Street to Coolidge Park. The parade will be held on Saturday, March 12 beginning at noon and features more than 40 participants.

Celebrate at Home

Can’t make it to one of these events? Don’t worry! Have fun at home with these family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day activities! Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Serve up an Irish feast featuring traditional foods like potato leek soup, soda bread and apple cake.
  • Listen to music by popular Celtic bands like The Chieftains, Gaelic Storm, The Clancy Brothers or The Dubliners. Or watch a video of Irish step dancing by groups like Rhythm of the Dance or Riverdance.
  • Organize crafts and activities for kids of various ages. Make a leprechaun puppet from a paper bag, create a rainbow using Washi tape or play a St. Patrick’s Day-themed word game.

Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the Irish culture together as a family. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a community event or stay home and host your own Irish festivities for family and friends.

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

Why It’s Time to Bust These Stress Myths

We’re all familiar with stress. Considering how common it is in modern life, we’ve also probably heard a few common misconceptions about stress as well. These misconceptions can hold us back in effectively treating the stress in our lives.

Here are some myths about stress and some ways you can manage it better.

Myth 1: Stress is “just a feeling”

Although we often say that we “feel stressed,” stress itself is more than a feeling. Stress is the physical or mental pressure you feel when faced with a situation that is new, unpleasant or threatening. Stress is not something to write off as “just a feeling.”

When left untreated for extended periods of time, it can negatively impact your health just like smoking or obesity. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and depression are all serious health issues that are often caused by untreated stress.

Myth 2: No symptoms = no stress

It’s a myth that only major symptoms of stress are cause for concern. According to Mayo Clinic, stress may impact your health without you even realizing it. Many minor stress symptoms, such as headaches and indigestion, are easily confused with illness.

Whether you experience irritability, physical aches or sleep deprivation, our brains create patterns of behavior that determine our own automatic reaction to stress. Because that pattern is different for each of us, the way we react to stress even the symptoms of stress we exhibit can be completely different from one person to the next.

Learn more about managing health conditions.*

Myth 3: Stress is uncontrollable

Because it’s impossible to control every aspect of our lives, we cannot completely avoid stress and the things that cause it. As mentioned above, stress is an automatic reaction and although we can’t entirely escape it, we can effectively manage stress in three easy steps:

  1. Identify your stressors. Take time to pinpoint what causes stress in your life. Common stressors include work, finances and relationships, but remember that stressors are different for everyone. Whenever you begin to experience stress, the American Psychological Association suggests writing down the cause, your thoughts and your mood. By keeping a written record, you will be better able to identify what causes stress in your life and develop a plan to address it.
  1. Recognize your reaction. How does your mood change when you’re stressed? Some people feel more irritable or anxious. What do you do to relieve stress? Common reactions include emotional eating or consuming more caffeine. Whatever your reaction to stress, it’s crucial that you consciously recognize this reaction before you can effectively change it.
  1. Change your response. Once you have identified your stressors and recognized your reaction, you can begin to train your brain to react differently to stress. Whether it’s working out, visiting with friends or meditation, find what helps you to relax. Replace a negative automatic reaction with one of these positive stress-relieving activities and eventually the brain will change its automatic response pattern.

Lastly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a large part of managing stress. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and strive to get enough sleep each night. Studies show that laughter effectively relieves stress, so make it a priority to spend quality time with family and friends. Although we can’t completely avoid stress, developing these healthy habits can prevent stress from becoming a problem in your life.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

Healthy Eating in the Winter: 4 Easy Recipes to Get You Started

What is it about winter that gets you out of your healthy eating routine? Is it a jam-packed schedule of holiday parties and treats that come with the season? Or is it the cold weather that keeps you inside around all those tempting snacks in the cupboard?

Whatever the reason, there are ways to get back on track with healthy meals. For food the whole family will enjoy, add these four fruits and vegetables to your grocery list this winter.

Avocado

Although avocados may have more fat than any other fruit, their mono-unsaturated fats are actually good for you. According to the American Heart Association, the fats found in avocado can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Avocados are also rich in magnesium and potassium, which are both known to reduce blood pressure. You can find avocado at your favorite grocery store year-round, but the Bacon Avocado is most plentiful during the winter months. Try adding avocados to chicken tacos for added nutrients in a dish the entire family can enjoy.

Broccoli

Broccoli might have a bad reputation with children across the globe, but it’s still one of the world’s healthiest vegetables. Packed with vitamins and minerals, broccoli can improve bone health and skin health, and aid in detoxifying your digestive system.

A study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute has also revealed a link between broccoli and cancer prevention. Entice your family to indulge in this super food by pairing it with shrimp stir-fry when you’re looking for a nutritious, easy-to-make meal this winter.
 

Get more healthy winter recipes.

Carrots

Carrots have been advertised for decades as the vegetable that will help improve your eyesight. While carrots do contain a substantial amount of vitamin A, which has been linked to improving vision, the vegetable also has plenty of other health benefits.

The veggie has high concentrations of both vitamins K and C, which contribute to a healthier immune system and stronger teeth and gums. Carrots are also rich in potassium, which is said to help with anxiety, high blood pressure and stroke. The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some carrots to add to a veggie-packed dish such as rainbow spring rolls.

Potatoes

People who are health-conscious tend to avoid consuming potatoes because they are a starchy food with a relatively high glycemic index. However, potatoes are actually an excellent source of nearly every essential vitamin and mineral.

Research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found that several potato varieties are also rich in flavonoids, which help improve your overall heart health and protect against both lung and prostate cancer. The next time you find yourself craving a filling meal on a cold winter day, pick up some potatoes to make some hearty potato soup.

 

What is your favorite winter recipe? Let us know in the comments!

 

Why It’s Important to Have Self Compassion

At the end of each year it’s a custom to make resolutions to improve one or more aspects of your life. Some people vow to lose weight, others promise that they’ll save more money—yet somehow after two or three months you find you have succumbed to your old habits.

Maybe you’ve faltered from your goals due to stress, or perhaps you’ve found that your goal doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Instead of beating yourself up, why not replace that frustration with compassion and make 2016 the year for being nicer to yourself?

Self-Compassion

How do you react to failure? Do you keep a positive outlook as you focus on what you can do to make improvements in the future? Or do you become discouraged as you dwell on your shortcomings? Studies have shown the mindset that you have toward yourself can actually affect your overall health.

The concept of “self-compassion” means you are able to accept failure and inadequacy with kindness and understanding. A series of studies conducted by leaders in the field of psychology examined the relationship between self-compassion and overall health.

These studies revealed people who treat themselves with self-compassion tend to have a better state of both mental and physical health. These same studies found that self-compassion can help decrease the long-term effects of stress.

Mindfulness

Being kind to yourself also requires taking a balanced approach to your life and learning to channel your emotions. Mindfulness is your ability to accept your feelings and thoughts about your life experiences.

In this case, it would mean accepting your failure to achieve your established goal and using your emotions to encourage yourself instead of becoming overwhelmed with stress and disappointment.

Aside from the positive effects mindfulness can have on your emotional health, the practice has also been linked to several physical health benefits.

Scientists from Brown University recently published a study concluding that highly mindful people tend to have a better understanding of their emotions, thoughts and sensations, which gives them a greater sense of control over the health choices they make. Similarly, the researchers observed that mindful people tend to have healthier hearts and a reduced risk of obesity.

Whether or not you’re still committed to your New Year’s resolutions, it’s never too late to change the way you look at yourself. After all, being kind to yourself through self-compassion and mindfulness can only help you achieve all of your other goals in 2016.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

7 Can’t Miss Historic Spots to Visit in Memphis

As the largest city in Tennessee, Memphis has a thriving downtown and exciting nightlife. But don’t forget one of Memphis’ best features – its history. Let’s look at some of the city’s best attractions and how they played a part in today’s music, civil rights, architecture and American history.

Local visitors and long-time residents alike can experience the city’s vibrant cultural heritage through these historic sites:

National Civil Rights Museum

Located south of downtown Memphis, the National Civil Rights Museum is housed in the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. This multimedia museum features interactive exhibits, video presentations, African-American art installations, historic collections and dynamic special events.

Chucalissa Archaeological Museum

The C.H. Nash Museum at the Prehistoric Chucalissa Archaeological Site celebrates a rich cultural history of Native Americans who first settled along the Mississippi River. See the prehistoric American Indian mound complex, believed to be constructed between 1000 and 1500 A.D. Other attractions include a hands-on archaeology lab, a nature trail and an arboretum.

Beale Street Historic District

Spanning three blocks in downtown Memphis, Beale Street features restaurants and nightclubs where you can experience the city as the musical melting pot that it is. Officially declared the Home of the Blues by Congress in 1977, Beale Street hosted performances by early blues and rock legends from around the country, including Louis Armstrong, Isaac Hayes, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. In May, you can attend the Beale Street Music Festival.

Graceland

Elvis Presley was born in Mississippi and immortalized in Las Vegas, but he made Memphis his home. The second-most visited home in the U.S., Graceland welcomes more than 600,000 visitors each year to tour the King of Rock’s storied mansion. The building spans 10,266 square feet and still features original furnishings chosen by the Presley family.

Sun Studio

Often called the birthplace of rock n’ roll, Sun Studio and its founder Sam Phillips helped launch the careers of numerous rock and blues legends — Elvis, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash among them. Tour the downtown Memphis studio to see where these performers recorded their first hits, and peruse Sun’s impressive collection of music memorabilia.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Located on the site of the original Stax Records studio, this museum celebrates the lives and careers of soul singers who got their start in Memphis: Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, Booker T. Jones, Otis Redding and several others. In the 1960s, Stax was the fifth-largest African-American-owned business in the U.S., and Memphis’ most successful record label.

Peabody Hotel

The Peabody Hotel was originally constructed in 1869, and is a treasured piece of architectural history. The four-star luxury hotel is known for its excellent service and beautiful decor, but its real claim to fame are the mallard ducks that march through the lobby each morning at 11 a.m., spend the day swimming in the Peabody Fountain and waddle back to their rooftop suite each evening at 5 p.m. Hotel guests and the general public are all invited to watch the procession, which is an 80-year tradition.

Where are the best places to take in history while visiting Memphis? Let us know in the comments.

Taylor Mallory Holland is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in healthcare, technology, and business leadership. She regularly contributes content to some of the world’s top brands, including BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, and Samsung USA. As founder of Taylored Editorial, LLC, Holland also edits books, blogs, and Web content for dozens of bestselling authors. Find her on Twitter @TaylorMHoll.

Three Tips for Caring for Aging Parents

As the lifespan of the average American increases, so does the number of children caring for their aging parents. According to the Centers for Disease Control, life expectancy in the United States has hit a record high at 78.7 years.

New research from the Pew Research Center shows families in the United States are the primary caretakers for their aging parents.  Among Americans with an elderly parent, 58 percent have helped with errands, housework or home repairs.

The following are some ways to keep your stress to a minimum and act with compassion when caring for aging parents:

Don’t Ignore Small Changes

Changes happen gradually as parents age, so you might not notice anything unusual at first. However, if and when you do notice a change, don’t ignore it. According to AARP, some of these behavioral changes might include past-due notices for regular bills, not adhering to medication schedules, a change in personal hygiene and a change or avoidance of prior interests, friends or even family occasions.

You might also notice signs of disrepair in the house or laundry and dishes piling up. These are all signals that your parent may need help with home repairs, shopping, cooking or cleaning. When these instances happen, they don’t always signal a serious decline or danger, but you do want to be proactive and ask questions to determine whether help is needed, what type of help is needed and how you can make it happen.

Keep Conversations Open and Honest

Your role in a healthy relationship with your parent should be as an adult to an adult. While you want to be honest, you never want to treat your parent like a child. According to SageMinder, your role as a grown child is to effectively help your aging parents deal with any changes. Your parents’ role is to acknowledge when they need help and ask for it.

AARP offers a useful checklist of questions to ask your parents to get an honest assessment of how they feel about their living arrangements and daily life, so you may be able to talk openly about where and when they need help.

Know When YOU Need More Help

When parents fall or injure themselves, the need for help is clear. This might include finding professional help for personal care such as bathing, medication adherence and physical therapy. If you notice weight changes, your parent may need help with shopping and cooking. If you notice memory changes such as the inability to follow directions or forgetting how to do daily tasks, that is a sign of mental decline and may mean that they need more permanent assistance.

Naomi Mannino is a health and personal finance journalist who specializes in helping consumers get the most from their health and financial choices. She enjoys sharing her personal experiences and never writes about anything she has not tried herself. You can follow Naomi on Twitter @naomimannino.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

How to Simplify Camping for the Whole Family

It might seem overwhelming to plan a camping trip for the whole family, but a group outing doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of tricks to make your trip easier.

Here’s how to simplify camping for even the youngest new adventurer:

What to Bring

Of course, the most important thing you’ll need is a tent. Keep in mind you don’t have to buy your own; try borrowing from a friend or renting from an outdoor goods store. Sleeping bags are important as well, but you can use pads and blankets for milder weather. A cooler of ice should also be on your list if you’re bringing perishable foods. Not all campsites sell or provide ice, so be sure to pack enough to last the weekend.

What to Eat

Plan your meals ahead of time; it’s a lot harder to make a quick run to the grocery store for a forgotten ingredient when you’re in the wilderness. If you are cooking, bring pots, pans and cooking utensils you’re willing to use outside.

Don’t forget your own dishes and silverware, too — disposable or outdoor dishware is your best bet. A few large jugs of water come in handy for cooking and washing, but bring enough to drink as well. Paper towels help with cleaning and can act as napkins. And you’ll need flashlights or lanterns for cooking at night.

What to Leave at Home

It’s easy to fill the car to capacity when camping, but try to pare down to just the necessities. Leave the pillow at home and pack just a pillowcase; you can stuff it with a sweater or extra clothes when you’re going to bed, meaning one less bulky item to pack.

Plan on everything getting dirty, though, and leave your nicer clothes and shoes at home. Pack toiletries with an eye to the basics. Leave the hairdryer and curling iron as well as the makeup in the bathroom.

What Keeps in the Cooler

Having fresh food while camping is not impossible. Some campgrounds, like Smoky’s Frontcountry, have ice available nearby. If not, pack your own coolers with ice, burying the most perishable items deeply. If you bring meat, consider cooking it the first night to make sure it’s at its best.

Cheese and other dairy products will also be fine when covered in ice, so pack the bread for sandwiches you can eat while hiking. Stow chocolate for making s’mores in the cooler as well. You don’t want it to melt in the heat of the sun before that night’s campfire.

What Can You Cook Over a Campfire?

Learning how to simplify camping takes you to task when cooking over a campfire. Therefore, prep most of your food at home! There are plenty of easy meals you can make in your kitchen that transport well to the campsite for open-fire cooking.

Try kebobs, fish filets, sloppy joes, chili and fajitas. Of course, prepackaged burgers and sausages are easy and popular as well. Vegetarians will enjoy veggie burgers, pasta, grilled vegetables, baked potatoes and quesadillas with various fillings — all of which cook quickly.

Keeping the Kids Entertained Without Electronics

Kids may be nervous about spending time outdoors without their electronics or Wi-Fi, but they might be pleasantly surprised by how much fun they can have offline. Bring a Frisbee, football and other outdoor games you don’t get around to playing with during the week.

If you have the space, bikes are fun to ride around smoother campsites and through the flattest dirt trails. Books are great for downtime, as are cards and board games. If it’s windy or raining, however, game time in the tent is always a relaxing option.