Happy Healthy Hump Day: Eating Healthy on Vacation

Posted: August 16, 2017  

My family is getting ready to go on vacation. By the time you read this, we will be soaking up the sun and fun at the beach. In the past, we have let ourselves go and splurged on snacks and high calorie foods. This year I have a different approach.

According to WebMD, don’t leave your good eating habits behind when you get away from it all.  A vacation is a time to unwind, to celebrate, to rejuvenate, to see new places and try new things. But it can also make you very uneasy about eating. Here are 10 ways to stay on a healthy eating plan while on vacation and still enjoy yourself!

1. Resist the Urge to Splurge – don’t think of eating out as a special treat and thus give yourself carte blanche to overindulge. There are probably three main factors that contribute to this overabundance of calories and fat coming from restaurant meals:

  • We tend to splurge by choosing higher-fat and higher-calorie menu selections,
  • Restaurants are serving us large portions,
  • And we are eating it — all of it.

According to a recent survey by the American Institute for Cancer Research, 67% of Americans say they finish their entrees always or most of the time. Sometimes, it isn’t what you are eating as much as how much you eat that gets you into nutritional trouble.

2. Have It Your Way – Some 70% – 80% of restaurants, say customers are more interested in customized menu items now than even two years ago. They often want menu items prepared or dressed a different way than is listed on the menu. People also like to have a range of portion sizes to choose from, and many diners are asking to have part of their meal “doggy-bagged.”

3. Enjoy the Scenery and Enjoy the Food – You are on vacation, for heaven’s sake. It doesn’t make sense to deprive yourself of an enjoyable food; the trick is carrying “moderation” in your back pocket. Sample these delectable foods, instead of feasting on them.

4. Walking Is Your Secret Weapon – Take that stroll after dinner, swim in that beautiful hotel pool, take your kids up on that early morning hike!

5. A Treat a Day – How can you resist those scrumptious desserts? You don’t! Just try to keep your treats to one a day. After that, opt for a healthy choice instead.

6. Better Choices on the Menu – Make healthful choices that appeal to you whenever possible. Why is it important to order more healthful choices only if they appeal to you? Because if they don’t, you’re going to feel like you are depriving yourself and resent it. Sometimes you can make a choice instantly better just by ordering it with a different condiment or sauce (say, Dijon mustard instead of mayonnaise, or marinara sauce instead of a white sauce).

7. Hide the Mini-Bar Key – You know that little refrigerator that comes with your hotel room that is filled with all sorts of beverages and candy? Hide the key, it can only lead to no good — physically and financially.

8. Water Is Your Friend – Keep all systems going by drinking your daily water requirement. Traveling can dehydrate you, and so can being out in the sun more than your body is used to. Bring water everywhere you go.

9. Take “Five a Day” on Vacation with You – Now, more than ever, make an effort to get five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. It will make meals seem more filling and satisfying.

10. Eat When You’re Hungry and Stop When You’re Comfortable – It sounds simple, but many of us have gotten out of the habit of paying attention to whether we’re truly, physically hungry. Eating opportunities and celebrations are all around us when we are vacationing, and we’re in the “I’m on VACATION!” mindset. That’s when we will be the most vulnerable to eating even if we aren’t hungry and not stopping when we are comfortable.

Repeat after me, “I’m on vacation but my healthy eating plan is not!” Eat out and treat yourself within limits. You will enjoy yourself and be so much happier when you return.

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