If you are looking for some quick tips to keep healthy on your upcoming vacation, you’ve come to the right article. Vacations can be challenging for even the most disciplined healthy eaters, and I appreciate that. Today I will offer insight into the subtle food decisions you can make on your upcoming vacation to help keep your calorie counts within control, without feeling overly restricted.
It is a vacation after all, and you should be able to enjoy yourself.
Let’s take a look at my 7 tips for eating well on vacation:
- Choose/Ask for your food steamed/grilled whenever possible: Don’t be afraid to request meat or vegetable dishes to be steamed or grilled rather than fried. The amount of oil used to fry foods can add untold calories to a meal and make the difference between a healthy and questionable choice.
- Think about snacks: One of the major things that can happen on vacation is that we lose a lot of control over the foods that we eat, especially when it comes to snacks. You need to be slightly savvy in anticipating when you will be away from healthy sources of food for long periods of time, and plan accordingly.
- Don’t go into meals starving: This is a very common theme that relates to the previous point on snacking. Very often on vacation people may go into meals famished, which makes it very difficult to regulate food intake. Keep this point in mind because spending your vacation alternating between bouts of extreme hunger and fullness is not ideal or particularly conducive to wise food choices.
- Prioritize vegetables: Let’s face it; vegetables can be very difficult to come by on vacation. I highly recommend making a conscious commitment to having some form of veggies at both lunch and dinner meals. This could be as simple as having a salad with lunch and a side of broccoli with dinner.
- Ask for any sauces/dressings on the side: The complexion of an otherwise very healthy meal can be altered drastically by the type and amount of sauces and dressings that are placed on the food. You can imagine that, at vacation spots, these sauces and dressings are inevitably rich in fat and calories. The solution? Ask for sauces and dressings and sauces on the side whenever possible, and apply a moderate amount to the food yourself.
- Keep tabs on the drinks: I find people are often quite liberal with alcohol on vacation, and I understand that. It is important to understand, however, that a couple of beers or a couple of glasses of wine can quickly add several hundred calories to your daily totals. Make a point to have no more than 2 drinks a day, where one drink is equal to 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine or 1.5 oz of spirits.
- Try something new: This is probably my favourite piece of advice to give to clients before they go away. When you are on vacation exploring new parts of the world, take that same opportunity to explore new foods. Is there a certain vegetable or dish you would never prepare at home? Try it out on vacation! You never know when you might find a new favourite. Personally, this is how I finally discovered that I liked tofu.
There you have it folks. These seven tips may be subtle, but they will go a long way to ensuring you have a happy and healthy vacation.
Andy De Santis RD MPH
Andy is a Toronto-based registered dietitian and nutrition writer who holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition. You can learn more about Andy and his services at AndyTheRD.com.
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