Not thinking about what you eat when on vacation? Think again.
Whether new on a our diet, or meal prep champions, we all tend to overindulge on vacation and our whole fitness routine can become undone in one short week. Going on vacation is meant to be a break, an escape, and down time for you and your family. Of course meal prep and proper diet is a lot of work, therefore it is important to keep these things in mind even while on vacation as you can easily get caught up with terms such as “all inclusive”. It’s always difficult to keep on track and maintain gains when we would all rather splurge on local tasty treats!
What tends to happen to our diet when we go on vacation:
✺ Screw the diet! Eat whatever junk we want – fast food, high sugars, etc.
✺ Eat in excess
✺ Don’t workout so we weaken our muscle building ability
✺ Go on high-carb and low-protein diets which causes muscle breakdown
✺ Tell ourselves we are allowed to indulge not because we like to, but just because we get in lazy vacation mode
To try and avoid this, there are of course some things we can do to to minimize the effects of time off of our regular routines, no matter where we travel. Here are 5 tips to eating well while on vacation:
1. Research and prepare. In addition to which activities you will do while away, you should of course determine where and what you want to eat! Thus taking menu items and costs into consideration so that you get a full experience of the new environment. Doing your research will not only help you save a buck, but will help you keep your macros in check. Personally, I like to carry protein bars, fruits and other healthy snacks with me so that I can always get what my body needs, especially when travelling to countries whose cultures involve carb-based diets!
2. Enjoy the culture, but resist the urge to overindulge. You’re visiting a new place, of course you want to try everything it has to offer! What sort of vacation doesn’t allow you to indulge a little!? The key here is not to deprive yourself or over indulge, but rather, enjoy everything in moderation. Sample, don’t feast! Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you are full.
Why not consider applying the 80-20 rule to your diet? That is, make 20% of your daily intake a ‘treat’ food, while the other 80% is your normal healthy diet. That way you spend your calories on foods that are really worth indulging in and that you cannot get at home.
3. Stay hydrated and balanced. Travelling can be exhausting and can make you dehydrated as you are typically more exposed to sun than normal. Try and bring water with you on all your excursions so that you can continue on and see everything this new place has to offer. According to some studies, research suggests that drinking water can even help curb your appetite. This would certainly help with portion control when eating out as well.
4. Avoid fast food & seek local products. Fast food restaurants lack customization options. Although it may take more time, choosing sit-down restaurants when trying new foods will give you better opportunities to ask how meals are prepared and for any special requests (e.g. dressing on the side, grilled rather than fried food, etc.). Keep in mind as well that local restaurants will likely use local products. This means that your food will be fresher and will contain more nutrients than non-local foods.
5. Share your food! Portions at restaurants are often multiple servings and can easily feed more than one person. Consider ordering a few entrees and sharing them rather than consuming one all by yourself. This way you can try a greater variety of foods and have a better social experience. Even if the foods are not all healthy, you will end up eating less and only until you are satisfied.
Although you are looking for new culinary experiences, don’t stray too far off of your norm when away from home. For many of us, we instantly look and feel differently when we are off our regular training program or diets. Sometimes all of our hard work can go undone within a matter of a week. We work so hard towards vacation, that we get off track during and after the vacation, causing us to lose our positive momentum. Using the tips listed above can help not only during vacation, but lead you towards an overall healthy lifestyle, where these choices become instinctual rather than considered.