When you are on vacation it is difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Not only is there a lot of overeating, but eating a lot of the wrong things. Temptation is usually abundant making it hard to say no. If your main concern is your weight, during vacation you are more likely to gain weight than to maintain or lose weight. However, there is an even more important reason for making an effort to eat healthy during this time.
Vacation is also a perfect time to get sick. You are taking you and your family from your normal environment to a new environment where there are different types of germs than what the body is used to. Not only that, but think about the number of people that go in and out of airports, hotels, and amusement parks. You are subjecting yourself and your family to a petri dish of illnesses. For that reason, it is even more important that you and your family attempt to eat healthy during your vacation to maintain a strong immune system and fight off any potential sickness.
These are my tips for eating right during your vacation.
1) Have the right mindset. Eating healthy has to be a lifestyle, not a fad diet. Eating healthy is primarily about your health–losing weight should be secondary. If you have that mindset, it is easier to make good decisions about food during a vacation. As a parent, it will be easier to choose fruits and vegetables knowing that you are doing something to protect your children so focus on that.
2) Plan before the vacation begins. Plan as much as possible to buy your own food at grocery stores, especially if you know that your choices in restaurants will be limited. Make sure the hotel you choose will at least have a mini-fridge where you can store your own food or better yet chose lodging that has a full kitchen. Not only will you be saving money, but you will be doing your family’s health a big favor. Since organic eating is very important to me, buying my own groceries ensures that my family will have some organic options as well.
3) Bring your own snacks. Whenever you can bring your own snacks, do so. If you are going to an amusement park, check before hand if you can bring your own food. As annoying as I am to my kid and my husband sometimes, I make them eat a little bag of carrots or an apple before even thinking about buying a treat. Sometimes my five year old preempts me and gives me a list of all the healthy things she has had that day before asking for an ice cream or cookie.
4) Be mindful of what you order at restaurants. Many kid’s meals do not always come with healthy options. The side dish is usually fries, but some restaurants will offer better options so take advantage of that. If healthy options are not available on the kids menu, you can still ask for them anyway and most restaurants will make that accommodation. Sometimes I will let my daughter order the fries, but I will ask for a side order of broccoli for example for her to have as well. Other times, I don’t even offer the kid’s menu as an option. My daughter and I will split an adult meal. That cuts down on my eating and provides her something better than chicken nuggets or pizza. However, I always try to offer my daughter a choice so she has a say. If I order an adult meal to share, she gets get a vote or if I order vegetables for her kids meals, I give her a choice of two or three.
5) Have fruits and vegetables readily available and out in the open. I find that if I just leave an unpeeled kiwi on the countertop, it will just stay there and no one will eat it. However, if I peel it, cut it up, and put in a bowl somewhere readily visible, my daughter and husband will devour it. Keep the vegetables and fruits ready to eat out in the open and put away the cookies and chips. I did that during our recent time in St. Augustine, FL where we had a kitchen in our room and we ate more fruits and veggies than anything else. The fruit also felt so refreshing in the hot Florida weather.
6) It is okay to have some fun food. You are on vacation so it is okay and part of the family fun to have the funnel cake. If you are trying to have healthy options on most days of your vacation and your normal diets at home include healthy meals, don’t sweat the extra treats while traveling. Once you get back home you will be able to get back to your routine. If you deprive yourself and your kids of the fun foods, both you and your family are more likely to binge on those items when you finally get to eat them. Instead focus on loading up early in the day on fruits and vegetables so that you are giving your kids the proper vitamins and nutrients but don’t sweat it if they end the day with ice cream or a chocolate brownie a la mode.
Ultimately it is about keeping you and your family from getting sick, but if you eat nutritiously during your vacation, you will also be able to keep your weight in check.
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