I hear it all the time, "it is impossible for me to keep a healthy diet and exercise plan while on vacation." While you might think that is true...it isn't! All it takes is a little planning and preparation. The first thing you need to do is recognize that your schedule is going to be different than it usually is and while you might be exposed to more restaurants/food than you normally are at home, you can still make it work! A lot of people spend so much time working towards their "vacation body", that when their vacation finally comes...they start to undo everything by completely letting go, not working out and choosing less nutritious foods. That doesn't have to be you! The goal isn't to stay 100% on track, but to keep your motivation and determination up so you can get back on track when you return home. You can still enjoy your vacation, eat delicious food, stay active and feel great! Follow these tips to help keep your vacations healthy!
1. Drink plenty of water. If you gain a few pounds after your vacation, understand that some of those "extra pounds" really just come from water retention as a result of all the sodium added into the processed/restaurant foods you ate over the past week. Make sure to drink around 8 cups of water a day before, during and after vacation to help flush the extra water from your system. Drink mainly water and limit any other type of beverage.
2. Pack your own healthy snacks and even some meals for the drive/flight to your destination. This will prevent you from choosing less healthy options at gas stations/fast food restaurants or even the airport. Easy to pack snacks include low or no sugar/sodium trail mix, nuts, granola/protein bars, popcorn, baked chips, bananas, apples, clementines, jerky, PBJ sandwiches and water. If you are able to bring a cooler with you, you can make turkey sandwiches, pre-sliced fruit and veggies, hummus, yogurt...or any of your other favorite healthy foods! This even works if you are already at your destination and know you will be out and about all day. Just pack your snacks, meals and water to take with you!
3. If possible, book a rental that at least has a fridge and microwave or even better, a kitchen and/or grill! Make a quick stop at the grocery store or local farmers market and pick up food (including plenty of fruit and vegetables) to have on hand for snacking, as well as for several meals. Just because you are on vacation, doesn't mean you have to go out for every meal. Try to eat most of your breakfasts and lunches at your rental and plan a few fun dinners to cook as well. That way, you know you have healthy options for a majority of your meals, and you can thoroughly enjoy going out for the other ones.
4. Enjoy your favorite treats and meals (in moderation)! It is always fun to indulge in the local fare, just try to balance it out with the rest of the food you eat that day as well. Aim to stick with the 80/20 rule (80% of your meals/snacks are healthy and the other 20% are not). Each day might not balance out exactly, and that is ok, nobody is perfect. Focus on appropriate serving sizes if you are eating a little more indulgently than normal. Ask for half-sized portions, share entrees or take back leftovers.
5. Find local ways to make getting active fun! Take long walks on the beach, play sports, walk around museums, explore the city/country/beach/mountains/woods by walking, running, hiking, swimming, cycling, kayaking or just fit in quick 15-30 minute workouts a few days during the week in your room, in the hotel gym or a gym that is close by.
6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This is YOUR vacation, make sure you really use it to your advantage so you can actually unwind, de-stress, recover and love every second of it! Sleep is so important and the more you get, the more you will feel in control the next day. Also use this time to read, do yoga, meditate or anything to help you relax. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to fall and stay asleep.
7. If you find yourself at the end of the week and you have been eating more processed food than normal and haven't worked out one day, forgive yourself and move on. This is your vacation and vacations are for relaxation and rejuvenation. One week will not ruin you. The big key here is to "move on". Once back home, start back into your routine right away, don't put it off or you can face a relapse which will make starting again even harder.
If you need help with meal ideas, or even finding healthier options on restaurant menus, please feel free to ask! If you need a little more motivation and education on getting and staying healthy, sign-up for Boost.
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I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
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