They say "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Well, I say "what happens on vacations with the grandparents, stays on vacation with the grandparents."
Seven years ago or so, when my husband and I decided to go on a little trip without our 3 kids, we had my parents and his mom come out to keep the kids for us. I made sure they had the kids' health insurance card, that they knew the numbers of the Disney Channel and Nickelodion, and how to get to the grocery store. I gave them no real "instructions" and really, only gave them all, kids and grandparents alike, one basic rule: Have fun and then have more fun and more fun after that.
At this time, my whole family was still eating according to the standard American diet. That's not to say that we let our kids run amuck or anything. We had rules for certain things they could eat at breakfast and what they could or could not have for snacks, but that was pretty much it. We were much more dependent then on prepackaged food products and foods with lots of ingredients (most of which were not good for you), and I had never even heard of whole wheat pastry flour or chia seeds or flax. At this time, even though we were not eating as healthy as we are now, the kids had restrictions: they weren't allowed to have 12 cookie or 4 Popsicles or a whole bag of chips. There were limits.
We had a great trip and upon returning home, one of my kids all giggly and smiley (like he was the cat who ate the canary) came up and told me that he had pop tarts all weekend long and that one day he even ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. "It was great," he giggled. I smiled back and excitedly said, "Really. That's cool. How exciting!" He looked a little confused. I think he expected me to be mad. I said, "That's what's great about staying with your grandparents. We can't do that normally, but I am so glad you had a fun time!"
Some people would have flipped out. Some people would have left a whole list of rules. Some people wouldn't like this pop tart incident happening at all. And some people might be mad at the grandparents for letting this go on. I'm not saying that those reactions are wrong, except for me. I had a great, short, 5 day vacation with my DH, I had the best people in the world looking after my children, and they had a great time too, all the while spending quality time with their grandparents.
Now, seven years later, my DH and I are eating plant strong, and while my kiddos are not vegetarians like we are, we are all eating better and wiser. In general, we don't stock our pantry or fridge with many prepackaged, preprepared foods. There are some exceptions, but not many. I cook with healthier ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables rule in our house. Once again, I am readying for a short trip away with my DH, and my parents will be keeping the kids. It will be a vacation for us and a staycation for them. We are eating healthier for sure, but my only rule will still be to have fun, to have more fun, and then to have more fun after that.
While DH and I are gone, things will be different. Maybe the kids will stay up a little later, or maybe they'll eat more fast food, or maybe they'll even convince Nannie and Pappaw to buy pop tarts for them at the grocery...and maybe they'll eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner again...maybe. But you know what? It's all good. Just like on my vacation, I may indulge in an extra cocktail or a really decadent dessert, my kids will also be on a vacation of sorts...a vacation with their grandparents and away from us. They may indulge in extra cookies or candy or ice cream treats, and that's okay because it's all a part of vacations/staycations. It means indulging a little and having fun and maybe doing things or eating things that are out of the ordinary (if you choose to do so). It's what you do most of the time that matters the most anyway. A few days eating fattier, richer, less all natural foods will not kill my kids. When I come home, things will get back to normal, but while I'm gone it's strictly grandparent-grandchildren fun time, and I would never do anything to stand in the way of that. What happens on vacations with the grandparents, stays on vacation with the grandparents.
My only rule: have fun, then have some more fun, and then have some more fun after that.