Eating Healthy on Vacation? Is that a 'Thing'?
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
Before we get started, I must disclose that I’m a creature of habit and rather OCD in my eating habits. But I have to be! I have a super sensitive stomach and as I get older it becomes more challenging to eat foods that won’t cause problems. I always know immediately if I’ve eaten something that had too much salt, dairy, or a secret meat ingredient as I’ll be in misery for days. I used to get super stressed about an upcoming vacation, what I’d eat, and subsequently, how I’d feel. BUT with this, I’ve learned A LOT! I've learned how to eat clean while traveling, how to pack for it, and how to not return home feeling like the Michelin Man!
The trip becomes much more enjoyable when I know what I’m eating, feeling well, and setting a healthy example for my kids!
Looking how to eat clean and feel your best on your next trip? Read on!
1- Research. The first thing I always do is research. I invest a decent chunk of time researching nearby restaurants, on-site dining options, and/or if a fridge or small kitchen is included in the room. This way, I can plan for what and how much of our own food I will need to bring. 2 - Packing the food. I always pack an impressive amount of food. Breakfast is a no-brainer. I pack protein powder (try my favorite here!) and oatmeal for me, dried cereal, apples, and bananas for the kids. Breakfast buffets at hotels are often $14-16 per person. Ouch! We're usually up early and off exploring so spending the money (or time) doesn’t make sense. For dry snacks I’ll bring: applesauce pouches, teething wafers, graham crackers, cheddar bunnies, rice cakes, peanut butter, nuts, etc, and water bottles/juice boxes. For items to refrigerate this list includes: yogurt, yogurt pouches, avocados, berries, a few raw veggies, and milk. I don’t usually pack lunch or dinner, unless our travel day(s) involves one of these meals (either in the car or by plane).
3 - PB2. This deserves its own category because my life changed the day I met PB2. Packed with protein, easily portable, and you can adjust the consistency depending on how you like your peanut butter! It tastes great and is my fav on-the-go snack, served on a rice cake or to be used as a dip for fruit. (buy yours here!)
4 - Food on the menu. Once the destination and accommodations have been decided I’ll look into the menus at nearby restaurants and at the resort we’re staying. From there, I can get a feel for the types of food offered, the menu items, and ingredients themselves. Do the items that peak my interest seem like they would contain a ton of sodium? Dairy? How it is cooked? What sides do they offer that I could combine for a veggie-friendly meal? And for bonus points, some restaurants even list their nutritional values on the menu or online!
5 - Bread, wine, or dessert? Once I heard ‘while out to eat and trying to follow a healthy diet choose one: bread, alcohol, or dessert.’ Bread isn’t really my thing and rarely do I drink. So, I will gladly eat my calories in dessert any day! Which would you choose?
6 - Exercise. Whether it’s a morning stroll around the property, an epic game of mini-golf, or crushing black diamonds on the slopes - stay active! I try to stick to my workout schedule even while on vacation because I feel so much better! But hey, if we had a late night and I hit the snooze button in the am, I don’t beat myself up. I know we have a fun-filled day of adventures ahead of us!
7 - Water. Like coffee, I love water. The travel days are often unpredictable so I always make sure we have a Costco-sized amount of water with us. I feel more tired and more apt to overindulge when I’m not drinking enough water. SO, I drink a lot of water! [R: I often think she drinks water JUST so we have stop to pee.] Pack enough water for the threat of a 'snow storm' in N.C. and you’ll be alright!
So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed reading what I’ve learned over the years of traveling on keeping my stomach feeling it’s best and the kiddos full and satisfied. It’s my mission each trip to return home with an empty 'food bag' - and most times we nail it! Eating well while on vacation doesn’t have to be impossible. It is 'A Thing!'
With these practices, I rest easy knowing what my family is eating and am overjoyed at the healthy little eaters we are raising!