It can be very tempting to abandon your good sense and stop eating healthy on vacation.
Although you may strive for healthy eating, it’s easy to drift off and grab an ice cream cone here and there. However, there are ways to watch what you eat on vacation.
It’s easier than ever these days to request a low fat or vegetarian meal or snack on airplane flights. Airports can be trickier when you are at the mercy of what is closest to your gate. I recommend planning ahead. Bring snacks or meals with you that are easy to carry, such as 100 calorie almond packs, protein bars, or beef jerky. Always plan for the unexpected – bring enough just in case there is a delay or long layover. Being prepared is the key for eating healthy on vacation.
If you are driving to your destination, the quest to find healthy food can get a bit more complicated. Rather than simply relying on greasy foods for nutrition, pack some nutritious foods in a cooler. Fruits and vegetables, low fat mozzarella cheese sticks, yogurt, and sandwiches are all great to have with you on the road. The bonus is that it will also save you time and money on restaurants along the way.
Once you arrive at your hotel, you should do yourself a favor and turn down the minibar key, as this helps to avoid the temptation. If your hotel offers breakfast, stick to fruits, whole grains, and proteins. If your hotel has a stove or microwave, consider bringing your own healthy food to prepare. Using a low calorie protein bar or shake for breakfast is a great way to eat healthy on vacation. It starts your day off right by avoiding the calorie extravaganza at the breakfast buffet.
Let’s face it- it is vacation. You will likely eat out. I tell my patients if you really want a certain food that isn’t the healthiest choice you could make, don’t deprive yourself – but try to think about it as a taste. A couple of bites of cake will give you the same satisfaction as eating the whole piece but without the guilt of sabotaging your diet. Restaurants will usually serve large portions, so be careful. Consider splitting an order with someone else. If you do go a bit over on a meal, simply cut back on the next.
If you find it hard to fit in three square meals a day, try to fit in six smaller meals or snacks, as your body needs fuel every four hours or so. Try not to go more than 4 hours between meals so that you will not get too hungry and overeat the next one.
When it’s possible, you should avoid eating large meals at night. When your body gets ready for sleep and slows down, it also burns calories at a much slower pace. Try to eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime and avoid white breads, pastas, and other refined carbohydrates at that meal. Choose fish or poultry for your meal instead of steak or pasta and include vegetables as a side dish.
Even though it may sound hard, eating healthy on vacation isn’t really that difficult. All you have to do is plan ahead, be sensible when you eat out, and pass on foods that you know aren’t healthy for you. This way, you’ll have more energy on vacation and enjoy healthy eating and living an active lifestyle wherever you go!