It’s the season for traveling and summer vacations! Finally, time to take a break! Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a time out from the normal routine can be a wonderful thing. But it can also make it tough to stay healthy and fit; all those meals out and indulging in a few drinks doesn't exactly help either. The good news is that feeling healthy during and post-vacation is totally possible. Making just a few smart choices will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of your trip!
Fill up on fruits and veggies
One of the easiest ways to keep your eating plan in check and to avoid going overboard is to be conscious of including fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. I suggest incorporating a fruit or vegetable at each meal. Try to include a fresh fruit serving in the morning with breakfast or as a mid morning snack, and include some kind of vegetable dish with lunch or dinner.
You may not lose weight on a leisure trip, but you can come close to breaking even. Set aside 20 minutes every other morning, either in the gym or outside, to run, speed walk, yoga, etc. Being active gets your limbs flexed and your heart rate pumping, making you feel better throughout the day, and will encourage you to eat healthier. I won't suggest every day since that's an unrealistic goal given early morning tours and activities. Another great way to explore a new location and stay active, is to check out the city by bike or a walking tour! Being on foot lets you shoot photos, discover authentic cafes and shops and ramble down charming alleyways.
Vacations are not a time to begin a diet, and it is also not a time to go completely overboard. If you overdo it with fries at lunch, don’t start dinner with three buttered rolls, because you think, “Well, the day is ruined.” Its not. Planning in advance helps a lot; so identify the local cuisine that you want to try and plan your eating around that. It’s important to enjoy the local cuisine, and you can and should enjoy the indulgences that matter most to you on vacation. Don’t deny yourself entirely. Just make sure you plan when and what you will be indulging on during your trip.
When you plan to be out all day, bring along your own non-perishable healthy snacks to stave off hunger. Nuts & seeds are a great healthy snack to have on the go. Rich in healthy fats and fiber, they’ll keep you satisfied till your next meal. Try to stay away from simple carbs (the kind found in sugary, white flour foods like pastries, crackers, and cookies) as such foods will spike your blood sugar levels quickly, then leave them plunging soon after. That blood sugar plunge causes intense hunger for more sugary carbs, and the cycle continues. Our top recommended snacks to take with you when traveling are the plant-based Freakin' Healthy natural energy bars and Munchbox healthy snack packs.
The summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration, and drinking enough water is often a challenge while traveling. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink water and infuse it with fresh fruits and veggies for extra flavor! Our favourite combinations are: cucumber, lemon & mint, strawberry & lemon, watermelon & basil. Also, dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when really your body just needs fluids. If you feel hungry, and you haven't drank much that day, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 to 20 minutes to see if your hunger subsides.
Rest and Relax
Most importantly… rest and relax! Keep work away and free your mind. Get the most out of your time off by doing activities that you enjoy, and sharing time with friends and family. Fuel yourself with experiences, exploration, and the adventure of your getaway :)
Author: Linda Said, US Registered Dietitian.