Healthy Eating on Vacation
While vacations can provide a much-needed mental break, sometimes they can wreak havoc on our waistlines. It is so easy to indulge in high-calorie foods while relaxing on the beach or walking through the shopping district. The cry of “I’m on vacation!” is the perfect excuse to scarf down half a pizza or three ice cream cones, but once home you realize that your favorite pair of jeans won’t button anymore. We’ve all been there, so here are some tips for Healthy Eating on Vacation.
Take Your Own Snacks
When on a road trip, the gas station is a huge trap for healthy eaters. Full of appealing packaged foods that are loaded with sugar and fats, it’s all too easy to snack endlessly while speeding down the highway. Instead of falling prey to those tempting foods, try bringing your own snacks in a cooler. Not only is it healthier, you will also save some money, which is always a good thing. Make your own trail mix or pack a bag full of pretzels. Fruits like apples, pears, and plums travel well and are a great substitute for candy if you have a sweet tooth. You can also pack some chopped-up vegetables in individual baggies as well.
Go Grocery Shopping
If you’re going to stay at your destination for a few days, consider renting a hotel or apartment that has a kitchen or kitchenette. That way you can shop for yourself and prepare healthy foods instead of constantly going out to eat. Much like packing your own snacks, this is a great way to eat healthier and save money. Even if there isn’t a kitchen available, most hotel rooms have mini-fridges and microwaves so you can still buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as heat up some soups or frozen meals. If grocery shopping isn’t exciting enough for your vacation, look and see if there are any specialty grocers in the area. Maybe you can find some unique products that aren’t available where you live to make grocery shopping seem more special.
You most likely will end up eating out while you are on vacation. While this is convenient, there are often a lot of calories in restaurant foods. And it’s not just the restaurants you have to be wary of! The little chocolate shops, the hot dog carts, the ice cream parlors, the candy factories… There are so many treats that are just waiting for you that it’s hard to say no. Well, there is an answer. When you do go out to eat, eat in moderation. When you’re comfortably full, stop eating! Bring those leftovers back to your mini-fridge and reheat for lunch tomorrow. If you do get a treat, then split it with someone. Moderation is the key to keeping the pounds off.
Share Your Meals
Often, restaurants serve giant portion sizes. Instead of scarfing it all down and regretting it three days later, try sharing your meal with your traveling companion. There’s often enough food for two people, and then you can feel better about ordering that heavenly lasagna with way too many calories and just the right amount of cheese. Sharing is a great way to cut back without depriving yourself of the culinary delights of vacationing.
When you eat out, ask questions about what you’re eating. You can often substitute small things on your dinner to make it healthier. Instead of fries, get the mixed vegetables. If your meal comes with salad, see if they have a fat-free or light dressing option instead of the standard heavier dressings. Even something as simple as getting mustard instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich can make a difference.
Allow Yourself a Treat
One of the most important things to remember is that you are on vacation. This is your time to relax and enjoy yourself, so don’t spend the whole time worrying obsessively about what you’re eating. If you’re in Paris, of course you have to get breakfast crepes. Allow yourself a treat once a day, and then you won’t feel deprived and can make healthier choices at your other meals. Give yourself permission to eat, and you’ll have a great time.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to having a healthier vacation. The small choices can make the difference between enjoying your vacation during and after, or having to buy the next size up of jeans! Remember, moderation is the key, so go have fun while eating healthily!