Eating healthy on vacation is possible with these easy tips
It can be tough to keep up with healthy eating when you’re on vacation, but it’s not impossible. You just need to know a few tricks and tips that can help keep things simple, after all, vacations are supposed to be all about de-stressing. The last thing you want to do on your trip is stress out over what and where you’re going to eat. Before you pack your bags, check out these tips to help you stay on the right track during your travels:
- Be Prepared — Vacations are meant to be fun, stress-free, and full of new experiences. Quite often, many of those new experiences involve trying new foods. You don’t want to deprive yourself of a little culinary adventure on your trip, but it’s important to pace yourself. Remember this little mantra, moderation not deprivation. One thing that will help you from overindulging is to make sure you eat enough of the right foods so that you don’t find yourself hungry when temptation strikes. When you write out your packing list, include a variety of healthy food choices that you can bring with you. Having the right choices easily accessible helps you stay on track long term.
- Start Your Day on the Right Foot — You’re probably eager to get out of the door in the morning and start the fun, but don’t skip breakfast! You’ve heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It fuels you (make sure to include protein), and it can also set the tone for the rest of your eating. For example, when you start off with a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to make healthy eating choices throughout the rest of the day. On the contrary, eating a donut for breakfast sets you up for poor choices.
In addition to a healthy breakfast, try and start your day with some type of physical activity. It doesn’t need to be a full-blown work-out, but the more active you can be on vacation, the easier it will be to keep up with other healthy habits. You might start the day with a quick ten-minute walk, a quick visit to your hotel’s fitness center, or maybe just ten minutes of some light exercises (think jumping jacks, stretches) in your hotel room.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories — Okay, it’s a vacation, so you probably want to grab a cocktail. It’s understandable that you want to indulge a bit, but the key is moderation. Too often, one little moment of, “It’s okay, I’m on vacation! I’ll get back on track when I get home,” leads to more and more “cheat meals,” and then bad habits follow you home. A better bet is to opt for water whenever you order a drink. Drinking water delivers a ton of amazing benefits, helps you feel full, and the best part is, it’s calorie-free! Ordering sodas, juices, and alcohol, just adds empty calories to your waistline.
If you want to treat yourself to a vacation cocktail, do it smartly. Here’s a fun tip to try! Print yourself up some “drink coupons” and have them with you in your wallet. If you are on vacation for one week, you might bring print two. If you find that you really want a drink besides water, let yourself order it, but then rip up a coupon. This is a good physical way to keep yourself in check. It’s almost like using cash instead of credit cards when you go shopping — it helps you keep track of what you’re spending so that you don’t go overboard. This goes for any drink that isn’t water, not just alcoholic beverages. In addition to your coupons, if and when you do order a drink, you can still make a smarter decision. For example, a glass of wine has a lot fewer calories than a margarita or a daiquiri. The added bonus? Water is free, so you get more money for shopping!
- Know Before You Go — The internet is your friend when it comes to meal planning on vacation. The odds are good that while you’re planning your trip, you’re discovering the different restaurants where you want to eat. Take your planning a step further, and check out the online menus to see what foods are available. Many places include the calorie count for each meal on the menu. Decide on what you will order ahead of time and stick to it.
In fact, when you’re actually at the restaurant, don’t even look at the menu. If your eatery of choice serves up any type of pre-dinner fare, like free chips or rolls, decline. If the other guests in your dining party are willing, you can request that the server not bring any extra food to the table, or at least ask for him to bring a smaller quantity for the other guests to share. Also, since restaurant portions are notorious for being huge, when your server delivers your meal, ask for a to-go box right away and divide your meal in half (you can also ask if they offer half portions).
- Sleep — You’re thinking, what does sleep have to do with eating healthy? Well, if you’ve ever suffered from lack of sleep, you’ll know that it becomes increasingly difficult to make even small decisions. When you’re tired, you’re more prone to make bad choices, which means, you’re more likely to opt for unhealthy foods. If you’re functioning on only a few hours of sleep, that extra margarita and second helping of chips doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. However, when you’re well-rested, you take a little more time to think things through, and your inner voice is apt to say, “You don’t need chips. Get the side of veggies.”
These simple steps can make a big difference when it comes to staying on track with healthy eating while on vacation. Maintaining healthy habits while you’re away from home also makes it a lot easier to jump back into your regular routine when you return. For more great tips on how to be the healthiest you possible, be sure to check out the rest of our blog! Wishing you safe and healthy travels!