5 Tips for Eating While on Vacation
Whether it’s a weekend away at the beach or traveling to a distant city for business, maintaining a healthy diet on the road can be a challenge.
You’re easily tempted to grab the quick bite at a fast food restaurant or to down a ton of drinks with colleagues or family members.
Or eat all the BBQ that Kansas City or Austin have to offer.
Whether I’m traveling for business or personal reasons, I try and stick to these rules while I’m away from home.
They help prevent me from dropping an atomic bomb of destruction on my diet goals.
1. Fasting aka skip breakfast and drink a lot of coffee
If you already fast: keep doing it.
*note* Precision Nutrition found in the linked study above that decaf coffee staved off hunger in their subjects better than regular. An interesting finding; but fuck decaf.
If you’re currently in a deficit and only get around 2000 calories a day, skipping breakfast can help you to save more calories for dinner out or for that $3 Martini Happy Hour you saw on the boardwalk.
2. Only eat ONE bad meal a day
If you’re already skipping breakfast eating two meals a day makes this tip for vacation eating a little more manageable.
Choose one meal to as your bad meal and enjoy every minute of it.
The other meal would be something similar to how you usually eat, i.e. lots of lean protein and veggies. A big salad with a colorful helping of peppers, onions, mushrooms, all topped with some lean chicken or canned tuna.
This tip also applies to the fried dough or that giant ice cream cone that has tempted you each time you walk the boardwalk.
Eat smarter earlier in the day and allow yourself that one indulgence at night.
3. Walk—a lot
Most of the time you vacation somewhere that more than likely, you may only be visiting this one time.
Explore. Walk, everywhere.
See the history of where you’re staying. Take a hike up a mountain (maybe get lost because you want to feel like you’re an explorer, more on that later), rent a bike and ride through the town, or head to some outlet malls and do some all day shopping.
Get outside and soak up some sun (Vitamin D) and move your legs. Walking for a few hours can help you burn some extra calories when you are not pounding out reps in the gym.
4. Front Load Protein
If fasting isn’t for you, then front load your protein. In this case, get some Greek Yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, or some other source super high in protein (a pound of lean ground turkey cooked with two eggs and veggies in a scramble) and make your first meal, predominantly protein.
Aim for at least 70-80 grams here.
With your protein front loaded, it’ll help keep you fuller longer and allow you to enjoy a fatter/carbtastic meal later in the day.
If you plan on drinking quite a bit on vacation, I highly suggest this protocol as having that protein will help keep you from wanting to dive head-first into boardwalk pizza.
5. Don’t tell yourself “screw it, I’m on vacation.”
How many times have you been on vacation and said to yourself: “oh it’s vacation, screw it.” Then woke up the next day feeling like dog shit after devouring a four scoop monster ice cream cone.
Don’t become your own worst enemy and guilt yourself into eating something just to say you “tried it.”
If you want to eat a donut from some place, you may never visit again, do it. If you don’t, then don’t.
Don’t let your family or friends guilt you into eating something you don’t want.
Ignore the likely comments or the snarky attitudes that are bound to happen from family or friends and just say no.
Be mindful of what you are eating if you are purposefully not tracking your intake for the week but do not just throw up your hands and say, “It’s cool I am on vacation.”
Ain’t No Cure For Those Summertime Blues
Your vacation shouldn’t become an excuse for you to throw all caution to the wind and stuff your face with item after item on the buffet.
Vacation should be a time to enjoy your life and relax from the pressures of work or family. Vacations should be a time where you’re having more fun and doing things like hiking a mountain, swimming in the ocean, riding a zip-line, soaking up some sun, celebrating milestones like an anniversary, or just reconnecting with nature.