When we go on vacation, there are so many things to look forward to: a different environment, new experiences, reconnecting with loved ones, and – of course – enjoying food. On a recent trip to Spain, we ate our way through the cities we visited. And why not? After all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. But unfortunately, we often wind up bringing home more than just souvenirs from these trips – too often we bring home extra pounds.
So how can we enjoy ourselves and make the most of these experiences, while still maintaining our health?
First, being mindful of how much you eat is important. Pay attention to your body and BEFORE you’re full, stop eating. In a vacation setting, experiencing a new dish can be exhilarating, and something to enjoy. So enjoy it! But be mindful of portion size, and remember that just because it’s on your plate, doesn’t mean you have to finish it. In other words, don’t deny yourself a chance to try that dish you’re craving, but remember that you can enjoy it without having to eat the whole thing. Besides, feeling too full can mean you’ll have less energy to enjoy the evening or even the following day.
Second, make food choices that make sense for you. Are you a person who needs protein in the morning in order to feel sated the rest of the day? If so, enjoy something hearty for breakfast – oats or an omelet – so that you won’t feel the need to eat again for several hours. Will you be on the move throughout the day? Remember to bring along a healthy snack (apples, bananas, nuts, etc.) so you aren’t stuck with lousy choices when you’re famished.
Third, walking is a great way to exercise. When we’re not home, it’s easy to put all thoughts of exercise out of our minds. But exercising gives us energy! It may not be what we’re used to at a gym, but you can choose to walk rather than drive, climb stairs rather than ride escalators, and stroll rather than sit. While you may not be on an “active” vacation, you can still be active ON vacation.
Finally, remember to drink water. Being out of your routine can shake up this most basic of needs. But staying hydrated helps with hunger and a whole list of other things (healthy skin, digestion, energy). Bring a reusable water bottle with you on vacation, and fill it regularly.
By following these tips, you can enjoy your new experiences, and also continue to take care of your body. And when you get home, both your body and mind will be rested, knowing that you made the most of your time away.