With it being summer, it feels like vacations are everywhere. I keep seeing articles with supermodels in barely there bikinis on remote Greek islands and look at my own body, and imagine what a week there would do to me, and I roll my eyes.
Talking about vacation evokes images of relaxing days by the pool, indulging in all the delicious desserts (but we can’t get this at home!), and all the drinks. When we went to Paris, Evan and I had a bottle of wine with almost every dinner! As fun as it is during the vacation, when I got back to the states I stepped on the scale and it reflected all of my indulgences over the previous ten days. Since then, I’ve dreaded vacationing (just a little bit) because I know how hard it is to stay on track.
It’s exhausting to do so much work getting beach body ready to come home in the same place you started, only more defeated because you let yourself slip (again). Frustrated with this cycle and in desperate need of a vacation that didn’t leave me heartbroken when I got back, I started trying a few different things to make sure that I stayed on track while I was on vacation. For me, vacations are most rewarding when I feel like I’ve taken care of my body and my mind and not over-indulged. Below are my best tips to keep a healthy balance in your life, even while on vacation!
1. COOK AT HOME & SHOP LOCAL
Visit the farmer’s market to pick up some fresh fruit and veggies. Even if where you’re staying doesn’t have a kitchen, you can still pick up foods you can snack on like grapefruit and home made granola. Make a date of it and have a picnic in a park or scenic area!
2. CHECK OUT LOCAL CLASSES
Before going to Colorado, I looked up local fitness classes that I could go to during my down time. Challenge yourself to try something new or keep up your yoga classes. You can also plan ahead and make sure your hotel has a gym you can break a sweat in.
3. JOIN A CHALLENGE
Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies always talks about how she does BBG – even on vacation. The fact that it’s a program helps her stay on track and focused, even while traveling. You can find plenty of free challenges with routines you can do in a hotel room to make sure you’re getting your heart rate up every day.
4. WATCH THE ALCOHOL
Alcohol is full of hidden calories and keeps your body from absorbing all of the nutrients from your food. If you must, save it for dinner and just have a glass of wine. You can also make room by forgoing sweets and desserts. It’s all about balance so prioritize what is most important to you.
5. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Keep yourself full between meals and reduce cravings by making sure you’re well-hydrated. Add fresh local fruits to your water for a fun sweet twist!
6. BRING HEALTHY SNACKS
When we went to Colorado, Evan and I brought along our travel-friendly peanut butter protein balls. We had some for the plane ride, but also made enough to snack on during hikes and other activities. This way when I was a little hungry or needed a boost between meals, I didn’t go for chips or candy. Find a healthy snack you LOVE and make sure to have that with you at all times! My personal favorites are sugar snap peas and cashews.
7. CHOOSE VEGGIES FIRST
I know when I’m hungry my eyes immediately go to the appetizers and then dessert. Before we get to the restaurant, I get myself thinking about what kind of veggies I would like to have. This primes me to be hungry for more nutrient-dense food and helps me focus on that first, and I choose potentially “unhealthier” options after (if I’m still hungry!).
8. GIVE YOURSELF ONE TREAT PER DAY
After all, it is vacation! Don’t totally deprive yourself (I ate my weight in saltwater taffy in Colorado). Save it for a special meal or activity so that you feel like you really indulged without going crazy.
9. ENJOY THE ATMOSPHERE WHILE EATING
Whether you’re eating on a rooftop, patio, or in a cozy hole-in-the-wall place, there are always people to watch and sights to take in. Don’t rush through your meal, but rather let the atmosphere be part of the experience of eating. Take your time, enjoy good conversation, and the food will be more filling and satisfying.
10. CUSTOMIZE MEALS WHILE EATING OUT
Even if you feel like going with an unhealthier option, see if there are any ingredients or sides you can sub for healthier options. If you’re getting a salad, try to sub a vinaigrette dressing instead of a cream based dressing. You can also choose vegetable-based sides instead of the usual fries to make sure you’re getting enough fiber and nutrients while still treating yourself.
11. FORGIVE YOURSELF & HAVE THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
You’re not perfect and you may gain a few pounds. IT’S OK! Our bodies are made to bounce back, and a change in our daily habits will likely cause fluctuation. If you indulged a little too much the previous night, think about how much you enjoyed the food and focus on eating healthier and doing something active today. Having a positive outlook on your daily habits (even if you missed the mark a little) will help you have a healthy mindset around food and get back on track more quickly.
12. INCORPORATE ACTIVITY INTO THE VACATION
Think long walks on the beach (where you can jump in to ocean to cool off!) or cathartic hikes. If you’re going sightseeing in a city, try to connect each site by a walk rather than taking other transportation so that you get your steps in. When we went to Paris, Evan and I easily walked 20,000 steps per day which made all of the crêpes we ate feel well deserved.
What are your tips for eating healthy on vacation?
Thanks for stopping by!