Health Advocate Blog

How to Eat Healthy on Vacation

Going on vacation is a great opportunity to unwind, de-stress and indulge yourself—you’ve earned it! But how do you get through the trip without packing on the pounds? Check out the tips below to find out how to successfully vacation without sabotaging your nutrition goals.

Make it a pact. Commit to healthy eating before you leave. State an affirmation such as “I will eat healthy while away on my vacation” or “I will balance my indulgences with healthy eating.” Share this commitment with those you are traveling for extra support and encouragement. You may find your partner, friend or a family member has a similar goal!

Bring a shopping list. If you have the option to purchase food to make meals or snacks at your vacation destination, write a shopping list of nutritious foods before you go. This may help you stick to your healthy eating pact. Without a written plan, you may find it challenging to shop for healthy food in a grocery store you’re unfamiliar with and that may have tempting products you’ve never seen before.

Set yourself up for success. Bring healthy, non-perishable snacks with you that you can keep close by at all times. A few examples of snacks you can bring include: whole grain crackers, high fiber cereal, rice cakes, granola, nuts, dried fruit and trail mix.

Stick to a regular eating schedule as much as possible. Make sure that eating is on your itinerary along with your plans to sightsee, spend time on the beach or go hiking. Waiting too long to eat or eating too often can both be detrimental to your nutrition goals. Going long periods of time without eating can cause your body to store calories rather than burn them; it can also cause overeating when you finally do eat. In contrast, if you eat too much, you also load up on calories, sugar and fat you may not need.

Drink plenty of water. You may use vacations as an opportunity to indulge in food and drinks that you may not consume regularly. Soda, alcohol and high-sugar juices add calories with little nutritional value. Keep empty calories to a minimum by filling up on water. This will also help to keep you hydrated for your sightseeing adventures.

Substitute “homemade” meals instead of eating out all of the time. Eating out may be a highlight of your vacation, but the extra calories, sodium, sugar and fat can add up as quickly as the bill. Rather than eating out for every meal every day, try to prepare some meals yourself where you’re staying. This can help you eat healthy and save a little money too. When you do find yourself eating out…

Research the area and find restaurants that have healthier food options. The HealthyOut app can help you locate restaurants with healthy options. If you prefer websites, try the Healthy Dining Finder to locate restaurants. You could also investigate the restaurant website and have an idea of what you may want to order before you arrive so you don’t give in to temptation. Check out these additional tips for healthy restaurant eating:

  • Only eat half your entrée. Most restaurants serve larger portions than necessary. Split an entrée with a friend or family member, or save half your entrée for another meal if you can refrigerate the food.
  • Opt for a salad or fresh fruit. Having a salad before your meal may reduce overeating. Salads are a great swap for chips or fries. Fresh fruit is another good alternative to fried potatoes and makes a healthy dessert.
  • Ask for dressings, gravies and sauces on the side to dip your food in or use sparingly.
  • Share an appetizer or dessert. Does something on the menu appeal to you, but you’re only looking for a taste? Chances are someone who is with you may be thinking the same thing.

Keep in Mind

Healthy eating doesn’t require you to eliminate foods or beverages that you enjoy or may want to try that may be unhealthy, but to enjoy them in moderation. It is possible to enjoy your trip without going overboard!

For Health Advocate Members

Are you looking for additional nutrition information or healthy travel strategies? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching program, call us today to connect with a Wellness Coach for more tips.