Enjoying Vacations with Healthy Habits

April 18, 2022

It is now spring which will be turning into summer, so are you thinking what I am thinking?  VACATION TIME!



Whether you are going on spring break or have a vacation in the months ahead, it takes time to plan. When we are planning out activities, it is also important to have a plan for eating. Wouldn’t it be great to come back from vacation the exact weight as when we left? Here are some tips to incorporate healthy habits while out of town:



Planning with Transportation

Driving to your vacation destination is the easiest way to plan ahead for healthy eating. Packing a cooler with healthy meals and snacks can help with calorie control to and from the destination. Instead of stopping and eating fast food on the way, pack some sandwiches for the road and make a picnic at a park with some new scenery on the way. Having healthy snacks in the car are also a must. Fruit, nuts, cheese sticks, whole grain crackers or yogurt makes for great portable snacks.



If you are traveling by plane, it is allowed to bring snacks on the plane, but it just cannot be liquid going through security. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can work for airport travel or just having snacks available if your plane gets delayed or you have a long journey ahead can help prevent airport meals which usually are not the ones where people want to spend their calories. Great snacks to stuff in the carry-on bag would be nuts, fruit, raisins, whole grain crackers or a high fiber granola bar.



Meals Out

Eating 3 meals of restaurant foods every day for numerous days may not make us feel good and this is not good for our waistline. If the goal can be 1 meal out per day on vacation, this can help balance out the calories. If the splurge meal is going to be dinner, do you have a refrigerator to store some foods for breakfast and lunch? If so, high fiber cereal and fruit or a yogurt parfait makes for a perfect breakfast and a turkey sandwich with cheese and carrots with dip for a healthy lunch. If you do not have access to a refrigerator, no worries as a protein bar and fruit can work for breakfast or even an instant oatmeal packet. Lunch could consist of a peanut butter sandwich and fruit or even going to a deli to get a sandwich can work.



If you are really trying to watch your waistline on vacation, trying to pick only one “fun” food when going out to a restaurant can help with calorie control. Instead of choosing a burger, fries and a milkshake, pick one of those that means the most to you. If you really want the fries, choose a grilled chicken breast or fish sandwich and a low-calorie beverage to pair with the fries. If you really want the burger, choose a side salad, fruit or cottage cheese with the burger.



Planning Ahead

Are you staying in a place with a kitchen? This can be a great way to save money and calories by cooking. Finding the closest grocery store to get items to cook or planning ahead with a list of ingredients for certain dishes can work. If you just don’t want to cook on vacation (I totally get that!), trying to cook ahead and bringing food to heat up. Making pasta and lean meatballs for a nice Italian meal or doing slow cooker chicken fajitas ahead of time and reheating there can be easy. Making mini pizzas can be a fun activity for all on vacation. Even now life can be easier with grocery delivery to almost any vacation destination, so it can take the stress out of shopping with a few clicks of a button.



It is also great to plan ahead with exercise. Bringing the proper gear with you such as workout clothes and shoes are the first step. Try to research ahead of time to see if you have access to a gym or are there some safe walking trails or parks nearby. Walking around on vacation is a great way to explore new places and burn some calories too. There are a lot of places that will do bike rentals which is a great workout and can be really fun. If you have access to a pool, is there a time that you can go swim, walk the lap lanes or talk a water aerobics class? If there are no options available, you can always use your phone to do workout videos in your room. Yoga, aerobics or walking videos can all be great ways to start off your day.

The Author

Kim Kramer R.D., L.D.N., CDCES

I have been a dietitian for over 15 years and my passion is in outpatient wellness working with kids and adults to help change their eating habits. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a dietitian, and I am enthusiastic about nutrition as it gives me joy to talk to others about healthy foods. I promote a healthy lifestyle and positive behavior changes. I have also been working in the field of diabetes for the last 7 years providing optimal diabetes management practices to those in need. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my kids, cooking, playing the piano and working out.

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