Eating Healthy on Vacation
Vacations tend to cause our
schedules and routines to fall by the wayside. Gym routines and careful meal
planning take a backseat to continental breakfast buffets and overflowing ice
A vacation is a chance to get away and unwind. That doesn’t
excuse pulling away from healthy habits, or establishing new bad ones.
Whether you’re going solo or planning a family vacation,
develop strategies to overcome fast-food chain temptations and other unhealthy
On the Road
Start your trip off right by packing a cooler filled with
healthy snacks, including:
- trail mix
- homemade granola
- hummus and raw veggies
- apples and pears
Steer Clear of Fast-Food Chains
Considering that most highway signs point you in the
direction of the next fast-food restaurant, it can be a challenge to eat
healthy on the road. If you’re out of snacks and don’t see a healthy option in
sight, keep these tips in mind at the counter.
- Hold the mayo.
- Skip the cheese.
- Be a kid — select a
child’s item on the menu for a smaller serving size.
- Skip the caffeine and
opt for water instead. Staying hydrated will regulate blood sugar levels.
Be a menu-savvy traveler. Know which words to watch for when
making your meal choices. According to the American
Society of Travel Agents, words to avoid include:
The Hotel Traveler
At the Airport
Flying can bring on dehydration, so remember to sip plenty
of water before and throughout the flight. Look for healthy alternatives like
fresh fruit, granola bars, yogurt, and hummus to replace empty calorie snacks.
Likewise, when you reach your hotel, load the mini fridge
with these healthy options and plenty of bottles of water.
At the Buffet
Even though you may want to pile on the portions, try to be
mindful of exactly which foods you’re piling on. Fill your plate with healthy
options, such as fresh fruit, greens, and whole grains. Opt for oatmeal rather
than sweet, sugary cereals. Grab a banana instead of a slab of coffee cake.
According to the President’s
Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, your diet can help you
maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and promote
your overall health.
Vacation time doesn’t have to mean abandoning healthy
guidelines. While it’s tempting to splurge, completely veering from your normal
routine could end up causing more harm than good, and can lead to weight gain
and low energy levels.
Find restaurants that serve local products and showcase
healthier options. On the menu, look for grilled meats and fatty fish, such as
salmon, as well as fresh salads and entrees free from heavy sauces. Sauces tend
to both disguise flavor and hide a lack of nutrients.
Gigantic serving sizes served as a meal for one can
realistically be divided into a meal for two. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research shows that
people consume more calories unintentionally when faced with larger portions. Think
about sharing your meals instead of filling yourself with more food than is
necessary or healthy. If you’re traveling solo, consider taking half to go, or
ordering an appetizer as an entrée instead.
Stick to Your Routine
A study from The Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) of the University of Florida
encourages the importance of breakfast, stating: “for adults, eating breakfast
is a great way to help control body weight because it keeps them from
overeating during other meals.”
Remember, just because you’re not at the office doesn’t mean
you get a free pass to skip breakfast. If anything, the extra downtime during
your vacation provides an opportunity to sit down and savor a hearty morning
The IFAS recommends ditching the same old, same old for
creative re-creations of last night’s leftovers, and incorporating milk, fruit,
and grains into your breakfast.
The Healthy Traveler
It is a vacation, after all, and on vacation it’s completely
normal to want to indulge. However, to avoid putting on weight, it’s important
to eat balanced meals at regular times. Sticking to scheduled meal times,
sharing desserts, and incorporating physical activity will keep you on track to
having a healthy vacation.