I share this story to illustrate the point that when you are on vacation sometimes you just have to let go and be a little flexible . . . when in Rome. Stressing about food and trying to eat healthy while you are supposed to be relaxing and decompressing from the stressors in your life would be completely counterproductive and harmful to your overall wellness. However, with that said, it does not mean you need to completely throw caution to the wind. Below I have shared some tips on how to make the best choices when on vacation while still being able to enjoy yourself. Remember eating should be fun!
(1) Prepare For Your Travel Days
Whether traveling by car, railroad or plane, food and snack options are almost always highly processed, tasteless, fake, and will make you feel terrible. Have you noticed how awful the food in airports or at the mini marts on the side of the road are? Pack some easy to carry snack foods with you so you are not caught unprepared and starving. Nuts, seeds, apples, bananas, popcorn, pure bars, lara bars, cut up vegetables like peppers and carrots, dehydrated fruit, crispy kale, Mary's Gone Crackers, chia seed bars by Health Warrior, and avocados (bring a plastic knife and spoon, cut open and enjoy) all make great options.
(2) Fuel Up With Veggies
Always fill yourself up on salads and vegetables. Be sure to start your meal with a salad and order extra veggies with your entree.
(3) Do Your Research
Familiarize yourself with which restaurants are known for fresh, local food. Also, seek out the local vegan, vegetarian, health food stores and restaurants. http://www.happycow.net/
(4) Ask For A Refrigerator
If possible, request a refrigerator in your room. That way you can easily keep some fresh fruit, yogurt, and other items around for breakfast and snacks. If you have children, fresh cut fruit in the morning or afternoon is a perfect way to keep them happy. While traveling, breakfast can be one of the most challenging meals of the day. I always bring some Sun Warrior protein powder with me and then buy some rice milk to leave in my refrigerator. That makes for a great breakfast or afternoon pick me up.
(5) Take A Walk
If you are like me, you will enjoy your vacation more if you keep up the exercise routine. At a minimum, you should take a nice walk every day. It will help you take in the sights and also burn up some of those extra calories you might be ingesting.
(6) Keep Things Moving
Have you ever noticed that your bathroom habits change when you go away? You have to keep that digestion and elimination working. Make sure you eat plenty of food with fiber. Vegetables, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all great options. I always bring chia seeds with me and drink them in rice milk or water. Eat plenty of fruit, our body's natural cleansers. Also, drink a lot of water. Also, a very helpful tool is "Smoothe Move" tea, a senna based tea that you can buy at Whole Foods and other health food stores like Mrs. Greens. Another great tip is to bring some magnesium supplements with you, it keeps things soft if you know what I mean. Magnesium is a great supplement in general because it relaxes your muscles.
(7) Treat Yourself
Deprivation is not my thing, especially on vacation. Be sure you treat yourself and indulge a little, but go in with a plan that works for you. Maybe you allow yourself one treat a day or maybe you have a "treat day" where you let go a little more. I tend to stay fairly controlled until the last day when I reward myself a little knowing I have limited time which can minimize the damage!
(8) Customize Your Meals
When dining out on vacation, or at home for that matter, don't be afraid to ask the chef to reduce or eliminate the use of butter, oil, and salt. If there is a piece of fish on the menu but it is smothered with a sauce, you can always ask to keep the sauce on the side or hold the sauce altogether and opt for a plain piece of grilled fish instead. Substitute less healthful options with better ones, for instance, swap out the french fries for rice, baked potato or extra veggies.
(9) Water, Water and More Water
Make sure you drink plenty of water especially in those hot climates. Water will keep you hydrated, feeling full, prevent water retention, and help your movements stay regular.
(10) Have Fun!
Most importantly, enjoy your food and your meal times. Savor every bite of your food, cherish the people you are with, and take in the scenery!