I am going to go out on a limb here and state that learning how to eat right through a vacation is an extremely important life skill! This is of course assuming (and hoping even) that you will be taking many vacations in your life. Knowing this, I often encourage new, incoming clients to not push back their counseling start date to post their vacation but in fact, be on the program with me through the vacation so that we could plan a vacation meal plan and some basic strategies to stay healthy and fit through it. However, the mere sound of a ‘vacation meal plan’ is enough to scandilize said potential clients to an alarming degree—as though I may have asked for an internal organ.
But isn’t this true? Shouldn’t eating right be something that you’re able to do ALL THE TIME and everywhere—or at least know how to? Keeping this in mind, my this article is dedicated to all you readers of course but also to the many of you who will be making a phone call to me about potentially starting a program. Although this time, without the shocked tone of voice and the 5-7 minutes of convincing because you will have read this already.
10 ways to avoid the vacay-decay:
- Plan. Plan. Plan. Yes, impulsive is fun but not when it has you leave in the morning without a half-decent breakfast and finds you in the middle of nowhere for 3-7 hours with no food to eat whatsoever
- Pack easy, portable snacks and carry with you (nuts, figs, dates, olives, kale chips etc.) so that if you’re ever in situation mentioned above, you have a rescue for your plummeting blood sugar
- Drink water! Restaurant meals are heavy on salt which is why you often find yourself bloated on vacations and your pictures make you look ‘puffy’ and ‘fat’. Keep sipping water as much as possible. It will help remove the excess salt and toxins and it will even make you feel alert and energized which means that you’ll be enjoying your vacation with greater awareness as opposed to being dull and tired
- Get some sunlight in while you can. During your typical workdays, even if your daily commute does entail a small amount of walking, chances are that you’re fully clothed and there isn’t much room for the sunlight to seep through your skin. Thankfully, vacations are different. In fact, as mentioned in a previous article on Vitamin D, sunlight gets metabolized most optimally at the back of your thighs so put on some short shorts and you’re good to go
- What’s the point of going to an exotic location and ending up in a McDonalds or Subway or another chain? Here’s your chance at being experimental. Do some preliminary research; look for local produce and local foods and have those instead of your overdone chain foods. Fresher, more nutritious, tastier and if you’re smart enough, then cheaper even. Now isn’t that a win for everyone involved?
- Going to a bar/lounge for drinks? Okay. But schedule an early dinner to a local restaurant you discovered prior to your nightout. When out, have your drinks with 1-2 appetizers. Try and plan your fried food and sweet indulgences too so that you don’t feel guilty if and when consuming them
- Slow down. You’re on a vacation. You own time. Time doesn’t own you. Enjoy your meals thoroughly, savor them and chew each bite
- Yes to breakfast in bed (sooner you eat it upon waking up, sooner your blood sugar stabilizes) but no to bed tea because tea on an empty stomach just isn’t a good idea
- Exercise. Don’t groan. You sit on your butt all day long back home. Here’s your chance to give your body some form of movement. If it’s a family vacation, you’re setting the tone for what things will be like for your children. Hike, bike, swim, skate, play a game of squash or badminton. Your options are ample—it is upto you to find something you enjoy and pursue it
Note: Walking around the mall while shopping does NOT count as exercise
- Finally, and I really can’t stress this enough — use vacations as an excuse to be more healthy as opposed to less healthy. If all you do is sit around, laze, sleep and stuff your face with greasy food and alcohol, you’re going to come back feeling more tired and drained out than before as opposed to rejuvenated. Yes, take afternoon naps and enjoy an indulgent meal or two—but also rise early, don’t overeat, drink water, partake in physical activity and you’ll feel fulfilled and happy and ready to come back to the grind of your everyday rituals
Enjoy your upcoming holiday and do write to us and let us know which strategies you were able to successfully incorporate!