One question I get asked quite often has to do with staying on track with your nutrition when you are on vacation.
Some of the questions I’ve been asked before are: Do you just “enjoy” your vacation and eat whatever you want? Are you strict with your eating when you are out of town? Do you pack all your meals for your trip? How do you eat out at restaurants?
Here is my quick answer to these questions: a vacation is a time I rewind and focus on spending quality time with my family, not a time where I stress about what I am eating or getting my workouts in. So, no, I don’t pre-pack all my meals when I am on vacation, yes we do go out to eat, and the main thing I try to focus on is being mindful of the food decisions I am making.
Here are a few tips that work really well for me:
-If your hotel room has a mini fridge, stop at a local grocery store (stores like CVS and Walgreens also usually keep these items) and pick up breakfast items for the next morning. Things like: Greek yogurt, berries, eggs that are already hard boiled, and low fat cheese are all easy options. Not only will this help you start your day with a healthy meal, but it can save money by not eating a meal at a restaurant.
-When I go out to eat, for the most part, I try to order something that would be similar to what I would be able to cook at home. Aim for foods that are grilled or broiled instead of fried, and be mindful of the condiments that are used at restaurants (those calories can really add up quick!). So, for example, we stopped at Texas Roadhouse one night for dinner. I ordered a sirloin, sweet potato, and vegetable medley and just asked that the veggies came with no butter. This is really similar to a meal I would have at home and then indulged some with the deeeelicious rolls they bring out. I left feeling stuffed with a delicious meal but didn’t feel like I derailed my progress.
-It helps to keep healthy snacks in the car. Some of the things we like to snack on are: Quest protein bars, pretzels, berries, bananas, apples, cutie oranges (easy to peel), flavored mini rice cakes, and protein powder on the go.
-If you know you are going to have one unhealthy meal for the day, that’s ok! Don’t let yourself feel like a failure and eat every unhealthy thing in sight because your nutrition isn’t 100% perfect. If I know we are going to go out for dinner, for example, I try to keep the other meals throughout the day as healthy as possible. This helps to keep your total calories for the day at a healthier level than indulging in each meal of the day.
So, to summarize, I don’t have ‘perfect’ meals while we are on vacation, and I might allow a few more treats than I normally do. I try to keep a healthy mindset and not let the vacation turn into a free-for-all, and when eating out I am mindful of the foods I order and try to order things that would be similar to something I could make at home. I’m not a figure competitor or preparing for a photo shoot and so my goal is just to balance having fun with my family and live a healthy lifestyle….for me that means not stressing about food while we are on vacation, but still making healthy nutrition decisions for our family.