Travel Health – How NOT to Ruin Your Diet When on Vacation

Young stylish lady in a hat at sea with watermelon

It doesn’t matter if you’re going away for the weekend a few towns over or you’re planning a long-term trip with a visa for Australia halfway around the world, if you’re on a diet, you have to think carefully about how your trip is going to affect your health.

It doesn’t matter if you choose what you eat carefully because you’re trying to lose weight or it’s something you have to do in order to stay on top of a medical condition, you have to make sure you don’t throw your diet out the window just because you’re eating in restaurants every night.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to stick to a diet when you’re on vacation, as long as you follow these rules.

Travel Health – How NOT to Ruin Your Diet When on Vacation

Designate One Cheat Meal Each Day

Cheat meals are a popular diet strategy. It’s hard to completely cut out the food items you love, just because they aren’t very good for you. Having a cheat day means you can enjoy the foods you crave.

The same can be true on vacation. However, because you have less control over what you’re eating, instead of having one cheat meal per week, you should focus on designating one cheat meal each day.

That might mean eating a healthy, low-calorie breakfast, eating a small sandwich for lunch, and getting the large steak and dessert for dinner. No matter what meal you decide to make your cheat meal, if you know you can look forward to it, you’ll be more likely to stick to your diet the rest of the day.

Eat Smaller Portions of the Bad Stuff

You never quite know what to expect when you’re on vacation. You may find yourself at a food truck that doesn’t really offer any healthy meals, or you may be eating on the go and find yourself with little choice but to grab something unhealthy. In these cases, focus on eating less.

Serving sizes are often oversized anyway. Eat just half of your meal or a portion of that candy bar instead of the whole thing. Chances are, you won’t feel hungry anymore, but you won’t have ingested all those calories either.

Pack Your Own Snacks

Finding reasonably healthy meals at most restaurants is usually easy. Snacks are a different story. It can be difficult, if not impossible to find healthy snacks on vacation when you’re surrounded by bakeries and ice cream shops. Instead of packing on the sugar, and the pounds, pack your own snacks.

There are a lot of travel-friendly snacks out there. Just make sure you’re being mindful about what you choose! Look for snacks that will make you full, but aren’t full of sugar or calories. A few ideas include:

  • Fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth and provide you with vitamins and minerals.
  • Salted almonds are extremely easy to transport on a busy day.
  • Cheese includes protein that will make you feel full.
  • Granola and bars can be a healthier option than candy bars.

Watch What You Drink

Watching your diet means watching what you eat. Unfortunately, many travelers overlook beverages, but a lot of calories could be hiding in those drinks!

Fruit and coffee can pack a lot of calories, but alcohol can contain even more calories, and it’s something many people indulge in while on vacation. A 4-ounce margarita can contain around 168 calories, while even a light beer can have over 100. Specialty drinks can be even worse. A chocolate martini can include as many calories as you would find in an entire meal!

Stick to water to keep your waistline down. If you do want to enjoy a special drink, plan on having just one.

Slow Down

Sticking to a diet when you’re on vacation isn’t very fun. If you don’t like the idea of living by any of these rules when you’re supposed to be relaxing and unwinding, consider slowing down instead.

Many bad diet decisions are made in an instant, and so much food is gobbled down in a short period of time that you feel overly full when you’re done. Instead, slow down. If you think carefully about what you’re ordering and savor every bite, you’ll automatically make better choices.

Go on vacation and enjoy everything the area has to offer, but don’t let it ruin the progress you’ve made with your diet. Follow one or more of the tips on this list and you can eat the local delicacies without having to hit the gym or go to the doctor when you return home.

Learn more tips on how to stay healthy while traveling.

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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