I go on vacation soon, and in addition to ocean breezes and hikes, I’m looking forward to some good food. However, one problem I’m sure I have in common with a lot of people is how to eat healthy. When you’re on vacation, it’s tempting to order indulgently, get fancy drinks, and eat dessert every night. However, this can really throw off a diet and fitness plan, and make you feel bad about yourself. There are ways to enjoy local cuisine and have fun without the guilt trip.
Have a good breakfast
On vacation, you’ll probably have a lot more breakfast options that usual. Instead of choosing high-fat, high-sugar meals, start the day out right. Follow the same rules you would at home and pick high-protein foods with slow-burning carbs. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, even on holiday.
Pack your own snacks
If possible, it’s always best to pack your own snacks. This way, you save money and you have control over what you’re eating no matter where you are when you start getting hungry. Yogurt, low-sugar granola bars, nuts, cheese sticks, and apples are all good choices. If you’re going on a road trip, packing your own food is crucial, otherwise you’ll be stopping at fast food places or diners, where healthy food is pretty much non-existent.
Go easy on the alcohol
If you’re a drinker, the number one stumbling block on vacation is alcohol. Without work to worry about, it’s easy to order more than you usually would, or choose drinks that are really high in sugar. To avoid this, make a rule for yourself to treat cocktails like you would desserts – you wouldn’t order two desserts for one meal, and you wouldn’t order dessert every night, right?
You don’t have to order the “healthiest” entree on the menu every time. A good idea is to split it with someone at your table. Odds are it’s going to be way more food than you would eat at home, so you’re not going to be hungry with a half portion. When you go halfsies, you can order more “indulgent” options and feel okay about it, because you’re not going to eat the whole thing.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Before you even arrive at your vacation destination, plan ahead. How many nights are you going to be eating out? Will you be able to cook where you’re staying? If you know what restaurants you want to try, you can even look up the menus online and choose some options. Arrange your schedule so you have a big physical activity on the same day you’re eating an “indulgent” meal or place known for its desserts or drinks. That way, you can earn it and not feel guilty later.
When you’re running around and doing fun activities on vacation, it’s easy to forget to hydrate as well as you should. Dehydration often feels like hunger, so when you sit down for food, you’ll probably eat way more than you actually need to. Always carry a water bottle with you and stay hydrated. You’ll also feel more energized throughout the day, which is always a plus when there are fun things to do. If you’re in a hot location with lots of sun, drinking water is especially important.
Listen to your body
You’re familiar with this advice from pretty much every nutrition and fitness article or book you’ve read, but it’s weird how easily it’s forgotten as soon as you’re on vacation. It’s probably because you’re doing something so different from your usual routine, and surrounded by new and interesting things. Nonetheless, remember to pause and listen to your body and what it wants. Are you actually hungry? Are you thirsty?
For even more tips, check out SparkPeople’s guide on how to have a healthy vacation.
Want guidelines on healthy eating in general? Read here!