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Megan Best
Megan Best

RDN, CPT

Ten Nutrition Tips for a Successful Vacation

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With summer right around the corner and everything starting to open up, I don’t know anyone who isn’t planning for some travel this summer! And if you’ve been on a journey to improve your nutrition, this could bring up some anxiety about being out of your routine. Fear not! A week away does not mean you need to throw all of your healthy habits out the window. And trying to eat healthy on vacation doesn’t mean you need to restrict or not enjoy yourself! Follow my tips below to find a balance between total deprivation and a case of the eff its.

Pack Smart

Prior to your travels, go shopping for some healthy snacks that include protein and fiber, the nutrients we generally lack while traveling. Always pack more than you think you need!

Some ideas:

  • Jerky
  • Protein powder
  • Healthy bars like RX, Barebells, Lara protein
  • Freeze dried fruit 
  • Tuna packets and cracker
  • Single serving oatmeal and nut butter (you can add hot water once you get past airport security or at a rest stop
  • Rice cakes
  • Fresh fruit

And if you’re driving vs. flying the possibilities are endless! Pack a cooler with veggies, dip, hard boiled eggs, wraps or sandwiches.

Scout the area

Once you’ve decided on a location, start to think about your meal plan. Look for restaurants in the area that offer farm fresh or local items or boast about healthier options. Even better: swing by the grocery store on your way into town to pick up additional provisions.

Book an Air BNB vs. a hotel

This allows you kitchen access and means that every meal doesn’t have to be a restaurant meal. Not only will this produce healthier options, but you’ll end up saving money!

Keep up your routine

In the habit of weekly meal planning or daily food journaling? Keep it up! Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you need to stop. If this is a behavior that helps to keep you healthy and accountable, I highly encourage you to continue it while traveling. Does this mean bring a food scale with you to restaurants? Absolutely not! But eyeball and guesstimate portions, plan meals ahead of time, stick to goals like keeping half the plate veggies and I promise you’ll feel better and have more energy to do all the fun activities you’ve got planned.

Don’t skip meals

This is a recipe for a blood sugar disaster.  Try to stick to three meals a day, even if you get up late, are going on day trips, or are flying over one of your meal times. My recommendation? Once you go through security, grab a healthy salad or some Starbucks oatmeal and egg bites to eat on the plane!

Keep moving

Even if you can’t participate in your regular workout routine, continuing to be active through long walks or going for a run will set a great tone for your day. No time for a makeshift workout? Try to up your active minutes by walking to restaurants or planning more active excursions like kayaking and paddle-boarding.

Set a goal

Whether you aim to include veggies at every meal or always eat a high protein breakfast, completing a daily task that sets you on the right nutrition path for the day will keep you focused on the long game and make it less difficult to get back to normal when you return home. 

Ditch the f*ck it attitude

Vacation is a time to enjoy yourself, for sure. But we need to keep in mind that if we continue to practice health promoting behaviors while away, we will feel better and be able to better enjoy our trip. Whether you’re going to a brand new location or a nostalgic spot from childhood, there will often be foods that you don’t typically include in your daily diet. While I encourage you to try new things or indulge in old favorites, remember you WILL be able to eat these things again! So don’t come at your meals from a place of “this is the last time I can eat this so I need to eat it all” and instead practice some moderation by having smaller treats and fun foods daily.

Slow down on the booze

I get that alcohol is a part of relaxation for many people, but moderation is key. Increased consumption of alcohol leads to eating over caloric needs and making poor food choices while under the influence. Plus, do you really want to spend your entire trip hungover?

Rest up

Lack of sleep leads to extreme energy fluctuations and increased cravings for hyper palatable foods. Aim for 7-9 hours each night and try to stick CLOSE to your normal routine. This will make things much easier when you return to normal life!

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