March is here already and that means Spring Break is quickly approaching. This is the time to enjoy the start of nice weather, baseball, BBQ’s and many other exciting changes. Spring is also a popular time for people to take a little vacation to loosen up from the busy holiday and winter months. But does this mean you should loosen up on your diet too? If you are going on vacation, you will be straying away from normal routine, so that means you should probably just forget healthy eating for the week, right? WRONG! Now, it doesn’t mean you cannot indulge in a treat here and there, but you certainly do not have to let your diet go on a vacation from you. With some preparation and seeking out a plan, vacation and following a healthy eating regimen can be easy as pie (pun intended).
I am sure we all wish we just had a time machine that could take us directly to our vacation spot. Unfortunately, we face the issue traveling. Our goal is to get there as quickly as possible, so that leaves us grabbing the typical convenient foods. Airports are filled with kiosks providing chips, energy drinks and candy and when you are driving, fast food restaurants and gas stations are the most visible sites off the highway. You are hungry and need something quick, so those places seem like your only option. This is where preparation comes to play! Hopefully, you were already incorporating healthy snacks at home, so why can you not incorporate them here too? Go out and get foods that are portable and hold up well with travel. If you are flying, ‘USA Today’ provides a good description of what is and is not allowed on a plane regarding food. Follow the link for the article http://traveltips.usatoday.com/tsa-food-guidelines-63227.html Next, pack snacks that will keep your body satiated. Make sure you are consuming a protein or fat at each snack and meal for slower digestion and steady blood sugar control of your carbohydrates. Some examples of portable snack options are:
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia, etc.)
- Whole fruit
- EPIC jerky bars
- Fresh veggies
- Yogurt (check for sizing criteria when taking on a plane)
- Wholly guacamole minis
- AboutTime Paleo bars or Meal Replacement bars
There are many options that you can easily throw in a lunch box or carry on to assure yourself that healthy snacking is taken care of.
You have finally reached your destination and will either be cooking at your place of stay or doing A LOT of eating out. It is now time to implement that plan I mentioned seeking out before. If you are staying in a place that has an area to cook, then you are in luck and can hit the grocery store to go about your normal ways. Eating out is when it becomes tricky, which is the case even when at home. The first plan of attack is to research restaurants in the area and check out the menus of places that sound good. There are gradually more restaurants these days that are either providing nutritional information for their entire menu, or have a section of “healthier choices”; check to see if that is available first. If not, it is time to get creative with the menu. 99% of the places will have a choice of meat or fish, (chicken breast, filets, sirloins, tenderloins and most all fish are your best option if grilled or steamed) and veggies or side salad. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side, and for your veggies to be steamed. If you are craving something starchy, make it your side dish instead of the base of your entire meal. Portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger these days, so do not be afraid to split with someone too. Not only does it help diet control, it saves money! Below is a good visual of portion sizes. For meats and protein follow the palm, pastas/potatoes/rice/bread follow the tennis ball and healthy fats like butter, olive oil and nut butters follow the thumb (tip to base).
Now, I want you to remember, you are on vacation and should allow yourself the occasional treat. In part of your plan, set a number of times you are going to have a dessert or treat and stick to it. As discussed in January’s blog post, moderation is essential and you should not deprive yourself; deprivation can lead to failure and binges later if you take it too far. So, set a realistic number, and from there just enjoy it. Do not feel guilt, as it was part of your plan for success.
Lastly, relaxing should definitely be the objective of your vacation, but do not turn into a beach bum. Remember to get moving and incorporate healthy activity. Go on a hike, walk/run on the beach, rent bicycles, or simply just explore the area you are in by foot. If you are with your family, include them as well; it is a great opportunity to get everyone moving. One of my favorite things to do is check out the local gyms or fitness classes offered. You meet some great people who enjoy staying active like you and sometimes experience very unique forms of exercise.
Vacation is supposed to be a time of fun and free of worry. You do not have to let your diet ruin it or better yet, ruin your diet. That is why I hate the word diet. Healthy eating should be a lifestyle and not a burden on the things you do. So let this vacation season be the first of fun, free and healthy! Take your healthy lifestyle with you on vacation, not a vacation from your healthy lifestyle.
Serving Size image is from: http://blogfoodforthought.com/tag/measure-serving-sizes/
Fruit Plate Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497929302523801355/