My Father Always Taught Me That Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail

I love you, Dad

This past weekend, people everywhere were celebrating Father’s Day. It is often a time to honour the “unsung heroes” in our lives, our Dads, and it’s often a time for favourite meals, relaxation and sports of some kind. I hope you enjoyed Father’s Day weekend in whatever way is meaningful to you.

Father’s Day was always special in our house growing up. I loved any opportunity to show my Dad how much I loved him, and I spent countless hours finding the perfect card and writing the most meaningful messages. I tried to find unique gifts that he would like (I didn’t always succeed, I am sure), and I was always looking for ways to show him how special he was to me.

My Dad was the kind of guy you always wanted around. He was smart and funny and generous with his compliments. He thrived on making other people feel good, and if you had good news to share, it was my Dad who was shouting it from the rooftops. My Dad was always my biggest fan and cheerleader, and although I know he’ll never truly be gone, I miss his physical presence in my life greatly.

I am so grateful for my Dad’s influence on my life. Things weren’t perfect and we share a lot of the same struggles–my father battled depression, was a high functioning alcoholic and struggled with his weight–but he was an amazing man who cared deeply for the people he loved. I am forever blessed that I got to call him my Dad and I love him dearly. My father worked in the insurance industry for his entire career. He spoke often about the importance of planning, especially for a “rainy day”. I believe he planted the “planning seed” in me.

The Tradition Lives On 

Our family celebrates Father’s Day weekend at an annual family reunion and golf tournament in Waterloo, Ontario, my Dad’s home town and a place I called home for 18 years. We call it the Roberts Family Golf Classic (or, RFGC for short), and my Dad started the tradition 19 years ago. It began with a handful of us golfing and having lunch at the family cottage, and has morphed into an all-out reunion with team names, awards and themes and with the whole family having fun at the cottage with a huge spread of delicious food following the game.

I have just returned from that event and ever since my Dad passed away almost 3 years ago, I find that the weekend is a little bittersweet. It gives me a moment to pause; time to reflect; a chance to get a little quiet; and an opportunity to remember the things I loved most about the man who gave me life, and who helped raise me. It is nice being around people who knew and loved him as much as I did, and I know we all sense the loss….it just seems a little quieter and a tad less bright, without him there.

Planning To Win

It’s fun to catch up with relatives we only see once a year and to play a game that we all enjoy (I am a terrible golfer, but I have great spirit and can make a good shot once in a while!) and as with all other occasions in my life, I make it a priority to plan my meals or else I know I will make poor choices. I don’t leave it to chance. I can’t leave it to chance. Not if I want to maintain my goals.

We were traveling to Waterloo on Thursday morning and returning on Sunday. So, before leaving for the trip, I planned our meals and packed our cooler with the following:

  • Several Veggie Juices (check out my Healthy Juice Boost post for my favourite combo)
  • A Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs (I peeled 6 and left the other 6 in the shells)
  • Pre-cooked quinoa (stored in a Zilpoc bag)
  • Water
  • A Small Jar of Almond Butter
  • Hummus
  • Cut Up Veggies (carrots, red peppers, cucumbers)
  • Mary’s Crackers
  • A Tub of Plain Greek yogurt
  • A bag of Home Made Trail Mix
  • 12 Banana Split Muffins
  • A bunch of Bananas
  • A bag of Apples
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Fresh Lemons
  • Pre-packed Smoothie packs (to see what I use in my morning smoothies, check out my Healthy Juice Boost Post)
  • Home made "Larabars" (see recipe below)


For the drive, we picked up coffee and had our first snack, a home made Larabar (check out this recipe by the amazing Detoxinista!


About 3 hours in, we were getting hungry for lunch, and so we shared a veggie juice and then I pulled out the jar of almond butter and smeared it on some Mary’s crackers. We ate the crackers with two hard boiled eggs each. Lunch done!


A few hours later, we needed another snack, so we had a "Banana Split Muffin" (see the download below), adapted from The Detoxinista's recipe for Paleo Banana Snack Cake. Her cake is amazing but I wanted a more portable muffin and I wanted to use fresh Ontario strawberries, so I adapted the recipe. These are so ridiculously good, I really hope you try them and never crave a store-bought muffin again!


When we arrived, I went for dinner with four of my long-time girlfriends. It is our tradition to get together over a meal, and the restaurant chosen is known for their amazing steaks. I perused the menu but already knew that I’d be ordering a salad with steak on it. I asked for the dressing on the side. We drank water with fresh lemon and lime and I finished my meal with a decaf coffee and we all shared a dessert…just a few bites each, but it was heaven!


I had prepared smoothie packs for each morning's breakfast (see my favourite recipe in my Healthy Juice Boost post) so our first meal of each day was a no-brainer.


Lunch was a picnic of veggie juice, Greek yogurt and veggies with hummus while we ran errands around the city.

On Friday, I was in charge of making a big salad for both Friday night’s Pizza Party at the cottage and for Saturday’s reunion to go alongside burgers and sausages. I hit the grocery store for all of the fresh ingredients to make a Tabbouleh salad with quinoa. I had already made the quinoa, so that step was done! I added in fresh parsley, chopped peppers, chopped kale, chopped green onion, the juice of one fresh lemon and a lime, and salt and pepper to taste. YUM!


I wanted to make it easy to resist the pizza (pizza has always been a favourite of mine), and so I went to the deli counter and asked if they would cut one of those rotisserie chickens in half for me and remove the skin. For dinner that night, as everyone else wolfed back their pizza, I happily enjoyed my delicious salad and chicken. Honestly, I felt almost zero deprivation as soon as I started eating. In fact, as the pizza started cooling down, I looked at it and determined that it was starting to become unappetizing. So little colour. So little nutritional value.  Definitely not what I wanted to be putting into my body. It felt great to be able to do that, but I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t planned for it. The saying really is true…Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. Thanks, Dad. 🙂


The following day, we golfed and so I packed a small cooler to have in our cart. Apples, Trail Mix, Larabars, Muffins, Veggie juice.


After the game, we had a lunch of salad, hard boiled eggs, and Mary’s crackers with almond butter.


Dinner that night at the cottage is always a buffet, and so I loaded up on the salads (lots of bean salad, Chickpea salad, broccoli salad, tabbouleh) and I had a chicken sausage with spinach and feta, no bun needed. So good! I avoided the burgers and I treated myself to one mini cheesecake...also part of the tradition. 🙂

I stuck to water the entire weekend as my drink of choice.


My father loved Reuben sandwiches. He loved smoked meat and he loved sauerkraut. Having those two things together between two slices of grilled rye bread was as close to heaven as that man could get! I inherited his love of Reubens and it had probably been 5 years since I'd had one. On our way home from Waterloo, I wanted to treat Roger to a visit to the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa (he is a huge car fan!) and I had been to Teddy's restaurant in Oshawa once before and knew they had a great deli. It was time for a Reuben...and it was fantastic! Happy Father's Day, Dad! 🙂

In A Nutshell

Planning really is the key to success when it comes to eating healthy at events and avoiding the drive thrus and pit stops on road trips. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are great. Little things add up, and so I don’t deny that my Thursday dessert, Saturday cheesecake and Sunday Reuben were definitely "cheats", but they were planned and so I made sure to keep things balanced for myself with my strategy for the rest of the weekend.

I hope this helps remind you that good food choices are indeed within your control; it just takes planning, preparation and the decision to stick with the plan, including the part of the plan that allows you to make allowances.

Don't forget to get some fresh air and exercise when you are traveling. We did a 20-minute HIIT workout on Friday morning by combining various body weight exercises with hand weights. We golfed on Saturday and went canoeing in the afternoon. It felt great to move our bodies and to connect with nature.

Forgive yourself if you fall off your plan, but don’t end up cheating the rest of the day…just jump right back on! A healthy lifestyle lives in each and every moment we are breathing. Be gentle on yourself; remind yourself of what you truly want; and make the next right choice.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.




P.S. How do YOU plan for road trips or events when you want to stay healthy? Let me know in the comments below so we can learn from each other. 🙂

P.P.S Let's be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. 🙂


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