AAAAAAh. Vacation. SO exciting, so relaxing, so wonderful! I was lucky enough to be on vacation in New Zealand with my husband for the last 4 weeks. New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful country! There are so many incredible varied landscapes to explore as you indulge in wonderful outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, bungie jumping (didn’t do that), skydiving (that either). Also the food was fresh and natural, and the people were kind and friendly! I highly recommend a visit here in your lifetime.
Although I was very grateful to be on a vacation for that long, this trip also brought along some additional worry for me about how I would keep up my healthy habits while away from home. It’s very important to prepare for a vacation with the mindset that you will not just use the time to binge and forego your healthy habits, but rather to keep up with your healthy rituals as much as you can. Many of my clients come to me after a vacation and say “Well, I did terrible last week because I was on vacation.”
Of course your daily routine will change when you’re traveling and you will indulge a bit, but the key words are “a bit”. Do not OVERindulge or OVEReat just because it’s a vacation. This will only cause you to come home feeling defeated and frustrated. I promise you will be way happier post-vacation if you try to stay healthy while traveling. In fact, if you think about it, when you’re on vacation you often have MORE time to fit in workouts, meditations, healthy eating and healthy activities than you may in your busy everyday life.
You can and you should choose to live a healthy life every single day, whether you’re on vacation or not. Would you choose not to shower or sleep while on vacation? No way–because then you would feel like crap. So why would you choose not to eat healthy and be active while on vacation if those are the things that make you feel good? (And if you’re saying right now “these DON”T make me feel good–I hate eating healthy and being active–then it’s time for you to make a change and address your health!)
You want to feel your best on a vacation so that you can fully enjoy it. So next time you are traveling to an exotic beach or the rustic mountains or cultural Europe or just to visit your in-laws, plan to keep it healthy!
Here are tips for keeping it healthy while on vacation:
KEEP A ROUTINE:
Try to keep somewhat of a healthy routine while traveling. If you already are in the habit of staying hydrated through the day, limiting sugar and alcohol, working out, eating healthy snacks, etc., then keep that up as much as you can!
Examples from New Zealand: For the month I was away, I always started my day with a big glass of water before having coffee as I do at home, along with a plan for how I would be active for the day. I kept my meals and snacks healthy and tried to avoid eating late night. Although every day was different, having some regular routines helped me feel it wasn’t a free-for-all!
EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST AND LUNCH:
The best fuel for a day of vacation is healthy food. If you start your day with syrup-laden waffles, bacon or white bagels, you will feel groggy and tired all day. Most menus or buffets have all the ingredients you need to enjoy a healthy meal. For breakfast, choose a bowl of oatmeal and top it with nuts and fruit, or have some eggs and whole grain toast along with a side of fruit or vegetables (many breakfast buffets have roasted tomatoes or vegetables on them). Keep it light at lunch with a salad loaded with fresh vegetables and some healthy protein. Then if you splurge a little at dinner, at least you know your daytime meals were healthful.
Examples from New Zealand: I made healthy choices at all the restaurants we went to, filling up on fruits, vegetables, and quality lean proteins. You can usually find interesting salads, fresh fish, chicken dishes and vegetarian options on most menus. Here are some photos of a lunch and breakfast we ate! Yum!
WORK OUT OR BE ACTIVE:
You work hard in life and you often go on vacation to get some well-needed rest and relaxation. But carving out a little time to be active during a long vacation day will give you MORE energy and help you to rest and sleep better so you can feel your best on your trip.
Always find ways to work in a workout or to just be active!
If you’re on a beach vacation, be sure to start the day with a swim, a long morning walk or run on the beach, or check out one of the hotel’s exercise classes or the hotel gym. Then in the afternoon, take a walk on the beach or join in a game of beach volleyball.
If you’re on a sightseeing vacation, walk a lot. Forego cabs and Ubers to use public transportation or walk. The best way to see a city or country is to walk it!
If you’re in the mountains, you’re probably skiing, snowshoeing, hiking or biking!
If you’re staying with relatives or friends, go for a walk or run in the area or find out about local workout places that have spin, yoga or boot camp classes and see if you can pay per class.
Examples from New Zealand: Every day in NZ we either walked, hiked or biked. If we had a few days of long car rides or just hanging at the beach and we weren’t very active, I did a 30-minute workout in our room, combining spurts of cardio with bodyweight exercises.
Vacation is often a time to celebrate having time-off from life and work, which often equates to drinking! Just be careful not to overdo it with the alcohol. Avoid sugary drinks and instead of day-drinking AND night-drinking, stick with refreshing drinks during the day like sparkling water with mint and lime or with a splash of cranberry juice and lemon slices. Then pace yourself in the evening and try to stick to 2 drinks max.
Examples from New Zealand: It’s summer in NZ and we were really active, so I focused on staying hydrated in the day and drank a lot of water. But New Zealand is known for their fantastic Sauvignon Blancs so I enjoyed 1-2 glasses of that deliciousness every night!
KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS WITH YOU AND IN YOUR ROOM:
If you’re on a trip where you are away from your room all day, always have some healthy snacks with you. Grab some fruit off the hotel breakfast buffet or buy some healthy snacks like nuts and granola bars to keep in your bag, to take with you to the pool or on travel days, and even to keep in the hotel room when the afternoon munchies hit.
Examples from New Zealand: I always kept my backpack filled with a stash of apples, oranges and snack bags we had made at home with raw oats, chia seeds, goji berries and nuts. They came in handy often on hikes, car rides or late afternoons in the hotel.
Of course you can’t be perfect on vacation, but we don’t have to be perfect at home either. Perfect is overrated. Try the different foods of the regions and of course, the sweets! But again, just limit it. One sweet treat per day is fair.
Examples from New Zealand: Chocolate abounds in Kiwi-land and one of my faves was the traditional Hokey Pokey chocolate which reminds me of a Nestle-Crunch-meets-Heath-Bar. SOOOOO good!! I ate a daily treat of chocolate or dessert and quite enjoyed it. Some of my other favorite splurges on the trip included decadent ravioli stuffed with leeks and walnuts in a bleu cheese sauce, homemade chocolate chip muffins, gelato and chocolate!
Vacations are meant to be enjoyed. Keeping it healthy while on a vacation will only help you enjoy it even more–guaranteed!