Healthy Eating on Vacation
On a health and wellness journey but get anxious every time you travel because you'll be thrust out of your healthy eating routine? I get it! Traveling is one of the best parts about life, but one of the most terrifying parts about striving to lead a healthy lifestyle. Spoiler alert: a 5 day vacation won't ruin your progress. That said, if you still want to focus on eating as healthy as you can while on vacation, I have some tips and tricks that'll help...
Don't Stress the Small Stuff
You're on vacation, enjoy yourself. Realize that the next few days or week are not going to be perfect and that is ok. The important thing is that you do your best and you get back on track when you get home. Remember to control the things you can and let go of the things you cannot control. Don't punish yourself for enjoying yourself. What's 5 days in 365 after all?
Become a Portion Perfectionist
It's likely you'll be eating at restaurants a lot while on vacation and it's important to note that restaurant portions can be all off. Whenever I am eating out I like to remember basic rules of portions and that usually helps me significantly. A portion size for protein is about the size of your palm. Veggies can fill about half a plate, or be endless if you're not actually trying to lose weight. Fruit, think of a handful. As a general rule, I try to avoid rice, breads and pastas while I'm out to eat, but if I can't avoid them, I stick to a palm size serving. Sorry all you pasta lovers, this tip is not for you. Finally, unless they're one of those restaurants that feeds you two small morsels of food on a giant plate, eat half the meal and save the rest for tomorrow's breakfast.
Back to the Basics
If you want to try those chicken and waffles, go for it! Remember it is one meal and as long as you don't make a habit of it, it won't hurt your progress. That said, if you're looking to stay as close to your nutrition plan as possible, stick to the basics. Chicken and veggies. Most restaurants will have some form of a chicken dish with vegetable sides. Depending on what it's all cooked in you can usually keep your meal under 700 calories by ordering this way. It's served with sauce, you say? Ask for the sauce on the side. They're probably going to give you 2-3 servings worth of the stuff, hello sugar!
Don't go Hungry
This may seem counterintuitive, but it helps, A LOT! Going to a restaurant famished can very easily lead to overeating. Instead, I like to go in hungry, but not starving. I'll usually have a small snack about an hour and a half to two hours before I am meant to order my meal. I've noticed this prevents a lot of unnecessary bread and appetizer snacking before my meal comes.
Drink all the water before your food comes. You'll feel more full and less likely to eat the whole meal placed in front of you. Remember that restaurants usually give servings enough for two people or two meals, even though it's not noted on the menu, it's a lot of food. I'm always shocked to read calorie information for restaurants claiming to serve health-conscious food and find that 80-90% of their meals are a whopping 900+ calories. Ok, if you are a body builder or trying to put on weight, or if this is your only meal of the day, that's fine. But if you've already had breakfast, lunch and a snack, that's a fast way to gaining unwanted weight.
I'd like to reiterate that these are tips and tricks for you ONLY if you want to stay as close to your nutrition plan as possible. If you want to have a fun few days and not worry about what you're eating, that is perfectly fine too! I've had a handful of vacations where I've let myself splurge on the food and it's always fun. When I get home I get right back on track and shed those extra vacation pounds in under a week. Most of it is water weight anyways.