For most people the words “healthy” and “vacation” do not go together.
I get it. You work hard so you want to play hard. But depending on how long your vacation is, it’s not a reason to go on a super binger and be lazy. The pounds will catch up to you, and the aftermath is not so much fun. You can easily eat 3000 calories in one meal, but it will take more than a week to work that off! This isn’t meant to be harsh because, believe me, we’ve all been there.
So, how do you eat healthy and still have fun on vacation?
Balance. You can have your cake and eat it too!
Recently, I went on a dream vacation to the tropical island of Bora Bora for my ten-year wedding anniversary. My husband and I planned it months in advance, and I wanted to be somewhat healthy since we were going to be gone for ten days. That’s a long time to go all out on full vacation mode, so I had to have a plan of action that would allow me to enjoy myself but still be a Healthinista, too.
This one is so important, yet people rarely drink enough water on vacation. It can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and like you’re just barely making it. Why do you need to drink lots of water before, during, and after vacations? Flying, in and of itself, is dehydrating. Make sure to drink water before the flight, during your flight, and after you land. Especially if you drink alcohol during the flight, you really need to hydrate.
Since you’ll be splurging on fun foods that you typically wouldn’t eat at home, they may have a ton of sodium. By getting a healthy amount of water intake, your body is better equipped to flush the excess sodium out.
Another reason for hydrating while on vacation is alcohol. You might be having mimosas for breakfast, margaritas at lunch, and wine for dinner. Alcohol dehydrates you, no matter where you are. By chugging water before, during, and after you drink, you won’t be as hung over the next day, especially, if you plan to drink again. Alcohol also zaps your B vitamins, which help with energy levels, and you’re going to need your energy up for the rest of your vacation!
There were a few nights on my trip where I drank a few too many glasses of champagne to celebrate our vow renewal. Even though I drank water in between the glasses of champagne, I still woke up thirsty and tired. I drank more water when I woke up and fueled my body with a healthy breakfast so I could have more energy. It takes a day or so to rehydrate and fuel up on healthy eats to get my energy back up to one hundred percent. Lesson learned, ladies!
If you go somewhere hot like a beach or the desert, you’ll naturally need more water. The high temperatures and humidity will deplete you. Thankfully the beautiful island of Bora Bora stays 80 degrees all year round with a cool ocean breeze. But what I did notice, the humidity was different than in Dallas. It was salty because of the ocean. I could taste the salt in the air when I breathed which made me super thirsty. I knew that I had to chug more water because of the different climate. My body wasn’t used to all that salt!
So let’s think about all this. If you fly, go to the beach, drink alcohol, and then eat sodium-rich foods, all in one week, you’re bound to come back inflamed and dehydrated. Not a fun experience. Then you’ll need a vacation from your vacation just to recover. Typically you want to drink half your body weight in ounces. But on vacation, I suggest more than that. So chug it!
You have to wait around at the airport until you catch your flight, and then you have to fly to your destination, wherever that may be, and you might even have layovers. My flight to Bora Bora was twelve hours with layovers and connections, so it took a total of seventeen hours. I definitely needed some snacks to prepare for a trip like this. Plus, some of the airports did not have good food choices. Even if you’re just driving, packing your own snacks is cheaper and healthier than relying on convenience stores along the way to your destination.
Whether you’re flying or driving, it could be hours before you get to eat a meal, so pack some fresh fruits, nuts, or a protein bar to hold you over. I always bring a few choices of fruit like apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges. What can I say? I like many choices. I also bring raw organic nuts and seeds and a few Kind bars. These will hold me over until I can find a good meal option.
If you forgot to pack a snack, then you can always find healthy options like I mentioned above at an airport Starbucks. They have a great selection of fruit, nuts, and bars there.
If snacks don’t cut it and you need a meal ASAP, then there are many airport restaurants that offer healthy menu options. And let me tell you, I am the queen of special ordering. I look for lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and veggies. Most airport chain restaurants have that. For instance, on our trip, I was at a Chili’s and ordered a standard grilled chicken salad. But I had them take off the chicken, cheese, and tortilla chips and add extra veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado. I also had them bring me a side of black beans to throw on my salad.
I had salsa for dressing instead of an oil-based or creamy dressing. It was super healthy and delicious! Trust me, if I can eat gluten-free vegan wherever I go, you can eat healthy too. You just have to look for it. There’s no reason to binge at the airport on the way to your vacation spot. Let’s face it, airport food isn’t always the best option to binge on.
At the very least, wait until you get to where you can have something worth putting on the extra calories for!
The longer the trip, the more you’ll be affected by poor nutrition choices. I’m not saying you have to be super healthy, but be conscious on a daily basis. I typically make healthy snack choices, which allows me to splurge on local cuisine or fun foods.
BE NUTRITIOUSLY MINDFUL
Don’t go all out on every breakfast, lunch, and dinner or you’ll come back wearing a toxic suit—inflammation. I usually try to be conscious about what meals I splurge on. I love starting out with a healthy breakfast to give me energy to fuel my day.
Every morning in Bora Bora, I couldn’t wait to get to the breakfast buffet. They had so many fresh fruits like pineapple, bananas, and coconuts to feast on. They had a juicer there too! You could make your own fresh green juice right there on the spot. I did splurge on their coconut bread, which is standard bread at every meal. I had one small piece every morning for breakfast. Then I might’ve splurged on lunch if they had something I really wanted to eat. If they didn’t, then I went for a salad and drank some wine. If I see something really tantalizing, I sometimes eat only a portion of it and add some veggies. I also try to stay mindful of my body and will eat until I’m pleasantly full, stopping before I feel sick.
I always aim for balance. I never say no because if I want it, I will eat it. However, I know the consequences of too many treat meals all too well and would rather not pay the price when I come home. So always add fruits and veggies to your decadent treats for balance.
This will help on the calorie binging. On vacation, you eat different food that you normally wouldn’t eat at home. So you have to figure out a way to burn off at least a few of those extra calories somehow. You don’t have to work out in the gym every day on vacation (unless you want to). Depending on what my vacation looks like, I always scout out a gym. I like to see if the hotel gym is good or if there’s a nearby gym in the area I can go to. I want to make sure I can get in a workout session or two that week, whether it’s a full body strength-training workout or a run on the treadmill, I want to have options. You never know, it could rain and you might need something to do to kill time.
If working out in the gym is not your speed, then look for classes. Some hotel gyms or resorts offer yoga, strength training, or cardio classes on location, like at the beach or by a lake. It’s always fun to get with a group from different walks of life and meet new people. Plus, group training is so great for accountability. When I went to Hawaii on vacation, I did yoga on the beach a few mornings. I don’t get that opportunity in Dallas, and it was so fun doing yoga in a different setting. The scenery alone motivated me to get out there every morning—and I am not much of a morning person! LOL!
If working out is not your thing, then find something enjoyable and active to do. Depending on what type of vacation you’re on, look for something that involves physical activity. Some examples might be snorkeling, hiking up mountains, or walking around the town exploring landmarks. In Bora Bora, my husband and I went swimming a ton! From snorkeling, swimming with the sharks, and then diving off the back of our huts, we did it all! We would swim around for an hour or two, and afterward, we were wiped.
We couldn’t wait to park ourselves at the beach and enjoy some fun drinks and food. We had so much fun while swimming that we were sore in different places every day. It was not something we do back in Dallas, which made it all the more exciting and only added to our vacation experience. So find something active that suits you!
Incorporate one or two of these simple Healthinista tips on your next vacay, and I guarantee you’ll have a fun and enjoyable time.