This is Part 2 of our guide to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine while on vacation, focusing on ideas to help watch calories while enjoying all the delicious food and festivities around.
Vacation dieting and healthy eating ideas when traveling
While exercise is a great bonus to help keep your fitness routine and burn some extra calories, vacations are notorious diet killers as they tend to center around all-day eating and drinking. These tips will help you still enjoy the festivities while keeping the calorie counter down.
- If you have a kitchenette or grill, prepare some healthy meals that work well for packing a cooler (especially lunches). Here are some dietitian designed recipe ideas.
- Be sure to eat a filling, nutritious breakfast for energy and fullness.
- Meal replacement shakes are a great, easy-to-make standby when time is short for making a good breakfast or lunch as they contain plenty of protein, vitamins, and nutrients.
- Healthy snacking throughout the day, whether lounging or exploring outdoors, is key. Be sure to pack items like trail mix, cereal, dried fruit, beef jerky or rice cakes. For even more ideas, check out our huge list of healthy snacking options by target category, like low fat or low carb.
Additional considerations if your trip includes a long-distance trip:
- Eat a big meal before you head to the airport to help avoid hitting the fast food options or newsstand snacks.
- Bring some veggies or healthy snack options to munch on. Or, to keep down hunger even more, get some high protein snacks like WonderSlim pretzels or malted sweet poppers.
- If traveling several time zones, watch out for jet lag. Try to keep on your regular eating schedule and simply munch on veggies or high protein snacks to tide you over until the next meal.
How to let loose (with a grip on calories) when the party is all day/all night
While you'll have plenty of fun (and feel great) with our diet and fitness tips, part of vacation is about having fun and going out to eat with friends and family. With these ideas you'll be having as much fun as everyone and feel even better than most as you pack your swimsuit in your bag before heading home.
- When eating out, the best option is to stick with prepared meats that are baked, broiled or grilled.
- If you have to try "the best burger in town" or any high-calorie or fried fare, pick a healthier side option like salad or grilled veggies instead of the standard fries. Vice versa, if they amazing 'cheese fries to die for' then pick a healthier entrée like grilled chicken or a veggie burger.
- When you know in advance you're probably going to cheat, save space for that "bad meal" by planning ahead and keeping your other meals lighter than normal.
- Remember, the local 'greasy spoons' aren't the only popular options. Sandwich shops, fine dining restaurants, and even bars with natural or healthier food choices are more popular than ever, offering fresh local, organic and even gluten-free menu choices. Ask around and see where the locals like to go.
And for many, vacation and adult beverages are synonyms. In particular, vacation spirits tend to crank up the sugary flavors and alcohol content. These tips will help you enjoy responsibility (for both your help and calorie counts).
- Keep yourself hydrated and stomach not feeling empty. Drink a glass of water or non-caloric beverage before each alcoholic drink and munch on healthy snacks regularly throughout the day.
- For mixed drinks, use with soda water or diet mixers when possible.
- Experiment with one of our WonderSlim recipes like the Slimarita that keeps calories down and flavor up.
- Light beers are preferable to heavy sugar or full-flavored beers, but not all are created equal. Choose light beers with high "efficiency" ratings based on their total calories and ABV percent. Some best bets include Corona Light, Beck's Premier Light, Bud Select 55, and Michelob Ultra. You can look up your favorite brew's calorie content and efficiency score (higher is better) using this handy online tool with a sortable table, here.
In the end, having a healthier vacation using these calorie-burning exercises and diet tips will make your vacation just as fun and you'll feel better, not sluggish and exhausted, after you get home.
In fact, by eating well and staying active when traveling for vacation, you'll probably have more energy and be in a better mood to hang out the whole trip. And with your hands busy paddling a kayak or holding bike handles, you won't be able to check those work emails that are probably pouring in like you would while sitting on the couch or the trolley tour. Isn't that what vacation is all about?
〉If you liked these healthy vacation tips, be sure to read Part 1 of the series with inventive workout ideas and creative ways to exercise when traveling.