We all love vacations. They’re a chance to relax, spend time with the family, and explore a new place — maybe even a new culture. They’re also a time notoriously associated with indulging. Calories consumed on vacation don’t count, right? Unfortunately, they do.
Have you ever gone on vacation only to come home and realize you’ve gained weight, or you feel terrible from eating too many sugary treats and simple carbs (or drinking too many fruity drinks)? Don’t let a vacation derail all the progress you’ve made towards your health goals — you can still have fun on vacation without sabotaging everything you’ve worked so hard for! Follow these tips to stay healthy the next time you go on a trip.
- Plan ahead. You most likely plan your meals while you’re at home — why should vacation be any different? Before you go, look at all of the restaurants surrounding your hotel, look at their menus, and decide which ones you want to eat at. If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, ask what kind of food they serve and if the menu rotates during the week. Some resorts have on-site restaurants you can dine at in lieu of the buffet, but you may have to make reservations in advance, so plan to eat elsewhere on a night that the buffet is serving something that doesn’t fit into your diet.
- Pack snacks. Getting hungry while you’re out and about is asking for trouble — whether you’re sitting at the airport gate or walking around exploring a new town. Stash some filling, non-perishable snacks in your bag — like nuts, protein bars, even tuna snack packs — so that you can resist the temptation to grab some candy or a chili cheese dog.
- Pretend you’re at home. You probably have certain food rules you follow at home — no white bread, at least one green veggie in every meal, etc. Don’t relax your rules just because you’re not at home. When eating at restaurants, ask the server to hold the bread basket. Don’t go back for seconds at the buffet if you wouldn’t eat seconds at home.
- Eat local foods. If you’re in a tropical location, choose local fruits for snacks and desserts. Locally grown food is always a healthy option because it’s fresher.
- Limit your sugar. It’s tempting to get dessert at every meal or to constantly have a pina colada in your hand at the beach, but those extra calories add up. Limit yourself to one treat a day.
- Start with a salad. Whether you’re at the buffet or a regular restaurant, start your meal with a salad. The more greens and veggies you can add, the better. Then wait a few minutes after finishing your salad before starting your entree, in order to better gauge your hunger. And if you’re at a buffet, use a smaller plate for your entree so you don’t load up on too much food — you can always go back for more if you’re still hungry.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s human nature to indulge every once in awhile, especially if the pool snack bar is grilling cheeseburgers right in front of you! If you do fall off your diet, don’t sweat it — you’re there to relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t use it as an excuse to eat whatever you want for the rest of the trip, but don’t beat yourself up for it either. Let go of the guilt and have a good time on your trip — you deserve it!
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