Everyone loves a nice vacation and if you're like me, eating new and good food plays a major role whenever I travel. I don’t pick my vacation destinations according to their cuisine… (well, sometimes I do 😊), but it definitely adds on to my pre-vacay excitement, when I know delicious food awaits me. So, how can we make the most of the trip while at the same time not throwing out all our usual nutrition principles? Read on for some helpful tips to master any vacation or business trip.
First off, preparation is key! Maybe you’ll be spending a lot of time getting to your destination by car, bus, train or plane. Or you might even go for a hike, explore a new city or spend the whole day on the lake or beach.
Whatever you do, plan ahead and prepare some healthy snacks that are easy to store and take with you on your adventures. This small effort can already make a big difference in your mindset and cash flow. Avoiding gas station or airport junk will become easier, you won’t have to settle for whatever fast food joint is on your way and your wallet will thank you too! (Hello, life hack?)
Here are some healthy snack ideas for on the go:
Fresh or dried fruit
Unsalted nuts (pre-portioned into snack-size bags)
Sugarless nut butters (travel packs are great)
Homemade trail mix
Snack bars (opt for the sugarless and raw kinds with minimal ingredients)
Popcorn (sugarless and easy on the butter/salt)
Jerky (opt for the local, organic, grass-fed kind instead buying some at a store, which often has tons of additives and preservatives)
Hard boiled eggs
Alright, so we have the “getting to the holiday location” covered, but what about when we are finally on site?
Staying at an Airbnb is a great way to ensure better food choices since you’ll be in complete control of your meals and might even have a kitchen to use. Research the area of your residence ahead of time for healthy restaurants, take-out options, grocery stores and delivery services. Again, it's all about the preparation!
If you are staying in a hotel and have the option, book your stay without meals. This will allow you much more control over what and when you are eating on your vacation. Not only can you make better choices, you are also free to explore various different restaurants, local food vendors, and don’t feel pressured to eat when you’re not really hungry. Wins all around!
Of course, this is not always possible, so if you find yourself surrounded by 3-meals-per-day, all-you-can eat buffets or are frequently visiting restaurants, here are some tips to help you navigate:
Before you grab a plate, walk around the buffet and decide which foods you'll choose. Take small portions at first, you can always come back for 2nds, if you’re still hungry.
Opt for foods that are baked, grilled or steamed rather than deep fried.
Consider salads with lean protein and a vinaigrette-based dressing or lettuce wraps instead of sandwiches.
Fill your plate with mostly vegetables with small servings of meat and starches like potatoes, rice or quinoa. Skip the extra cheese, gravy or sauces.
Enjoy fresh fruit for dessert instead of always going for ice cream or cake. Especially if you are travelling to an exotic location because the fruit you'll find there just tastes amazing!
Eat slow, really taste and savor your food, try to listen to your hunger cues and stop when you feel full.
Not that hungry or already kind of full but don’t want to miss out on dessert? Share with a friend.
Drink mostly water instead of fruit juice, soda pop or lemonade.
For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic beverage. Remember that water is the best thirst quencher and can also prevent over-eating.
If you're craving comfort food, so be it, just watch your portion sizes. And perhaps combine this with a day where you are physically active.
As long as you maintain a consistent balance, indulging on vacation isn’t all that bad. Stay on track with healthy eating by planning ahead and making good choices most of the time, but also allowing yourself to indulge ever so often. This way, you will be able to relish your holiday without feeling guilty and thinking you have to punish yourself after you return home.
After all, life is meant to be enjoyed!
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