A vacation is a perfect time to relax, put your feet up, and explore what the world has to offer, especially during your much-needed break from your busy lifestyle. However, you’ll often be confronted with the challenge of eating foods that might break the weight-loss diet that you worked so hard to achieve.
One of the more challenging aspects of eating on vacation is that, while you’re traveling abroad, there will be an endless amount of delicious foods right in front of you at every turn. Whether you’re tasting wine in the Mediterranean or finding an excellent tamale cart in the streets of Mexico, you’re going to have to draw a line somewhere.
We’re going to look at a few tips, tricks, and ideas to help you eat what’s right for you while you’re on vacation and possibly squeeze in a few of the tasty tidbits unique to your travel destination.
Before you even leave for your vacation, eating a full meal, healthy mini-meal, or snack might be a good idea. You likely have either a long plane ride or drive ahead of you before you kick things off. Regardless of your mode of travel, an easy snack idea rich in protein and fiber could be hummus and veggies, along with a small handful of almonds. Or for a protein-dense breakfast, you could try eating a cup of lentils, lightly sweetened with less than a teaspoon of sugar or honey – it’s guaranteed to keep you full well into the afternoon.
Worst case scenario, you’ll have forgotten to eat on your way out. There’s no reason to fret; you might even find a couple of healthy food ideas at an airport. A small shop or restaurant might carry Greek yogurt or some fresh fruit. You could potentially get a sandwich on whole-grain bread topped with a lean-meat like turkey in the airport’s cafe. Be sure to pick up a big bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated along the way.
If you’re all out of ideas, you could try a restaurant and still make a healthy choice. Fast food restaurants and eat-in restaurants alike will have salad choices, usually including a hearty protein and a calorie-dense dressing. Just order yourself one of those and maybe skip the dressing or keep it on the side. Regardless, you’ve got choices.
Hands Off the Minibar
As you become acquainted with your hotel room, you’ll likely enjoy every amenity included in your travel package. Just one word of advice: stay away from the minibar. Whether it’s a small table-top basket of snacks and sugary treats or a small refrigerator stocked to the brim with soda and chocolates, it’s often not worth breaking your diet over. Not only will it hurt your diet, unless it’s a part of your all-inclusive package, it’ll also break your wallet.
An alternative idea is to stock up on snacks at a local farmers market. Instead of processed sugary sweets, why not eat some delectable, fresh, or dried fruit? Keeping your hotel room stocked with healthy snacks is a great way to keep yourself from over-eating while you’re on the go.
Hit the Breakfast Bar
A balanced breakfast could be the key to keeping your weight under control during your vacation. If you’re looking to lose weight, skipping breakfast may as well be self-sabotage. To keep yourself awake, energized, and losing weight, you should start each day on your vacation with a protein-rich meal. If you’re staying at a resort or a hotel, you may want to consider taking full advantage of their line of breakfast choices.
Remembering to keep your meal balanced, you can easily do an egg white omelet, a slice of whole-grain toast, and a small serving of fruit every morning. Luckily, while you’re eating omelets for breakfast, you’ve got an enormous variety of choices when it comes to fillings. This may include vegetables, a light amount of cheese, or even nuts that can be added to your omelet. Feel free to get creative with your food in the morning to keep yourself full and satisfied without compromising your diet.
Don’t Skip the Local Food
No matter where you go, as a tourist, you’ll be drawn to the sights and smells of different foods. Something you might notice about the local food in different countries is that it’s not quite the same salty, processed food we might see back at home.
Neglecting to eat new foods while you’re travelling abroad might ultimately defeat the purpose. You’re in another country to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of foreign cultures. Whatever kind of diet you’re doing, plan to include the odd indulgence, or you might regret missing out on new and delicious delicacies.
Eating local food might also mean eating like a local. During your travels, you might stumble upon a few meals having ingredients you’re not going to find back home. Check out your local supermarket wherever you go and try to pick a handful of locally grown ingredients to cook on your vacation.
Order the Rest of Your Meal to Go
Are you planning on eating-in at a restaurant? Unless it’s a part of the culture of the country you’re in to finish your meal, consider packing it up to go when the portion is just a little bit too much for your delicate diet. Asking to get your food doggy-bagged should be welcomed in most countries.
According to a National Restaurant Association report, the majority of customers want customized menu items. Thanks to the trend of everyone wanting the meals they ask for, it’s increasingly easy to order smaller portions or get rid of the starches that might’ve been served as a side order.
Keep Drinking Water
When you’re looking to lose weight, drinking water is an absolute must. If you don’t have a bottle of water on-hand while you’re on your vacation, you might be making a grave error. Drinking water helps keep your metabolism up, helps your body rid of the toxins and waste, and keeps your appetite down.
The biggest reason drinking water helps keep weight off is that having a steady flow of hydration tells your body to stop retaining water. Throughout a day, your body’s natural ability to retain water can cause your weight to fluctuate anywhere between two to four pounds.
Something that can make drinking water on vacation a challenge is poor water quality. It’s best to find out where to get clean, bottled water. You wouldn’t expect it, but it’s ill-advised to drink the tap water in certain places because their water sources are heavily polluted with industrial runoff and farming waste. Carefully research your travel destination and plan.
Eat When You’re Hungry
An essential factor in mindful eating is learning to recognize when you’re hungry and when you’re not. Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full is a great way to cut calories out of the equation.
When you’ve learned to recognize how empty or full your stomach really is, it’s easy to stop snacking between meals. Just by practicing the idea of only eating when you’re hungry, you might be able to sneak in some of the tasty local indulgences. Otherwise, you’ll be eating food while you’re full, which can lead to overeating and weight gain.
Be Wary of Booze
Margaritas and Bellinis may be delicious, but you should consider them deadly when you’re talking about your diet. In as little as two jumbo-sized margaritas coming in their iconic fish-bowl glasses, you could end up consuming close to your entire daily caloric intake. Seattle Suttons mentioned that these drinks might even total up to an incredible 1,400 calories!
It’s alright to have a few drinks here and there. Lower calorie alternatives, including beer, wine, or your favorite spirit mixed with club soda, can still fit into your diet plan while you’re on vacation. A glass of red wine every evening might actually improve your weight loss, as long as you can stick to just one.
Above all else, make sure you don’t overdo it. A few drinks beyond your limit could result in forgetting you’re on a diet and waking up with a nasty hangover and a tummy-ache.
Skip the Shuttle Service
Most resorts and hotels offer a shuttle service to take you to and from the local attractions. Instead of getting a comfortable lift to your destination, why not take a relaxing stroll? An excellent way to prevent weight gain during your vacation might be as simple as a peaceful walk.
Most resorts are built around local communities to bring you as much culture and memorable attractions as possible. While it may be a mile away to the local shopping district from your beachfront resort in Cabo, you may want to plan a few stops along the way to get a better sample of the local economy.
Above all else, squeezing in the extra bit of exercise available can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. What better way to enjoy your vacation?
Outdoor Adventure Experience
Among a couple of your choices are local food tours, where you’ll be enriched with the insider knowledge of a local tour guide on all of the hottest eateries in town. This is ideally one of the best ways to enjoy the food local eateries may have to offer. If sitting down in a handful of different restaurants isn’t quite your speed, there’s always marketplace tours. You can learn about the local produce and the small knick-knacks available in tourist-dense locations.
The all-time best way of combining your food with exercise is a fishing and snorkeling tour. Before you dig into delicious seafood, you can feast your eyes upon beautiful aquatic scenery. If your tour boat has fishing included, you can always ask if you can keep your catch. Fish is known to aid in weight loss with its high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
Share Your Meals
Worried about wasting food? Instead of eating an entire large portion of food while you’re eating out, why not share it? You can quickly turn a dessert or appetizer into a light snack. If you managed to split everything you ate throughout an entire week, you’d possibly end up trying more foods and eating fewer calories.
Don’t Stress Yourself Out
Foremost, vacations are supposed to be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. We take vacations to let go of the daily stresses we have at home or work, so why bring any of that with you?
Stress can have a significant impact on your diet, and whether it causes weight loss or weight gain, it’s an unhealthy problem that can lead to poor eating habits. People who are prone to gaining weight when they’re stressed might be considered “stress-eaters.” The stress hormone, cortisol, can disrupt your body’s natural ability to regulate hunger hormones and tells your body to replenish its energy stores. However, as long as you’re being mindful, you should easily be able to put your worries at ease.
Losing Weight on Vacation
Meeting new delicacies and exotic foods can either be your downfall or an easy win when you’re trying to lose weight. The result is up to you. If you can practice a meaningful diet on vacation and keep the same level of moderation that you would at home, you’re guaranteed to keep losing weight while you enjoy your travels.
Running into the pitfall of all-you-can-eat buffets can easily be remedied by a little bit of portion control and mindful eating. Take the time to slowly chew your food and experience it in a new foreign setting. Some delicacies might be served traditionally or ceremoniously, which encourages mindfulness.
The most important thing you can do is have fun. Make sure you budget in at least one new indulgent treat per day while you’re on vacation. When you’re out eating at local eateries, you’ll probably be surprised that a lot of countries serve incredibly healthy food in restaurants. So don’t be afraid of trying new things.