Ah, vacations. Such a wonderful way to step off the fast track of daily life, though it can be challenging to disconnect. I'm the kind of person that needs to be far enough from home to relax. It's hard to let go of my daily responsibilities without a little distance. Another thing that can cause a bit of stress is the cost of eating out, not to mention healthfully, especially at theme parks. While some habits can take a vacation, attempting to maintain some balance in your diet shouldn't be one of them. I'm not suggesting you don't indulge a little, but with a few strategies, a nutritious diet doesn't have to take a vacation.
I try not to be a task master but my family and I do have a few things that help us balance the fun foods with healthful choices. We try to stay in hotels that have a small refrigerator and microwave so food can be stored and heated. Since sodas and fried foods are plentiful and relatively cheap everywhere, we purchase lots of water and some fruit to keep in our room. A quick stop at Target and we were stocked with apples and bananas to snack on. Airport security allows you to bring empty reusable water bottles (and packaged food), so were able to put the water in our bottles and take them everywhere with us. When we road trip to our destination we bring a cooler with a loaf of bread and some peanut butter and jelly. Fruit, pb & j's and water go a long way toward eating better and saving money on the road, especially with kids.
Our eating out strategy is to get what we want but try to make sure vegetation is represented. We do this whether we are on vacation or not. For instance, if we go to Red Robin, my daughter will get fruit with her meal, I will get broccoli (did you know broccoli is bottomless, just like the fries?) and my husband gets fries. We each eat our meal and share the sides, so everyone gets a bit of fruit, veggies and fun food! Another strategy I use is to remove the top bun. I like bread and try to order a healthier grain option with more fiber, but the portion sizes are huge. By removing the top bun and using my lettuce to handle my sandwich I can enjoy the bread I am eating without overdoing it. Many places offer a lettuce wrapped sandwich but I think my way is a nice balance.
Sharing food and making sensible cuts helps us eat more healthfully and not over eat. Sometimes I order just an appetizer, soup or salad and share an entree with my husband. These are easy ways to stay somewhat on track with eating healthfully without being neurotic when you're supposed to be relaxing. Travel always seem to mess with my gastrointestinal tract and drinking lots of water and maintaining good fiber intake with fruits, veggies and whole grains really helps me feel my best. Exercise also makes a difference too but I'll confess, I don't visit the hotel fitness center much. I prefer walking everywhere, it allows you to see more of the area you're visiting.
Next time you take a vacation, see if one of my keep it simple solutions will work for you. Healthy habits don't have to be complicated, small changes add up over time. Everyone knows this but we all forget sometimes. For professional nutrition advice from, in my opinion, one of the most sound and sensible professionals, check out the website of the week below.