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Take a Healthier Vacation

February 25th, 2010 2 Comments

–By Nutritionista

By the time you read this, I’ll (hopefully) be relaxing beach/poolside in Florida on one of the few vacations I take each year. I’m incredibly grateful to get paid vacation time and enough extra cash to go somewhere at least slightly warm in the winter. And yes, even though the highs in Miami are only around 70 degrees right now, it’s still a huge improvement from the temps here in Michi (not to mention all the snow!).

Because of my upcoming trip, I thought it would be apropos to write a post on how to keep things on the healthier side while still living it up on vacation. Here are some guidelines to vacation by:

  • Exercise, but do it in the context of the place. What I mean is, if you’re in a new city or climate, take advantage of that to make exercising a part of the itinerary (rather than just sweating it out in the windowless hotel gym). I like taking a run or walk around the area I’m in, or if I get a chance to swim, making an effort to do some quick spurts of high-intensity activity mixed in with my leisurely paddling. Obviously, this is really easy to do if you’re vacationing in a place where nature is the main attraction.
  • Indulge, but only when it’s something you don’t get every day. Sure, order the specialty pear-sake martini from that exotic bar on the beach. But if your vacation partners want to hit up Applebee’s for a quick dinner? There’s no reason to get crazy with the onion rings. You can eat at chains and other run-of-the-mill restaurants any time, so save the indulgence for stuff you won’t have the opportunity to try again.
  • Eat in, but only when it makes sense. You can only cook if you have a kitchen, but plenty of “meals” only require a fridge. If that’s the case, get some fruit, pre-cut veggies, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and maybe a few Larabars to keep in your hotel room. These easy staples not only make for healthier breakfasts and/or snacks, but they’ll also save you some cash in the long-term! If you’re lucky enough to be staying somewhere that has a kitchen, cook a nice dinner and bring it with you, picnic-style, to a cool location around town. The meals you do eat out will be much more special if you aren’t eating out for every single one (your tummy and wallet will both thank you for that).
  • Don’t stress, at all. The point of going on vacation is being able to relax in all areas of your life. If you miss a chance to go for a hike in favor of lounging around or couldn’t resist that giant pasta dish from The Cheesecake Factory? Relax! Neither of those things will kill you and you’ll only be doing yourself a disservice if you ruin your own vacation with health worries. You might come back a few pounds heavier, but your mood will be light as a feather.

GET SPICY CONTEST UPDATE: Looks like Ari’s pork butt won by a landslide! It did sound absolutely delicious. Ari, congrats! Email me asap with your mailing address to claim your prize.

  • I travel A LOT, and whether it’s for work or pleasure, I incorporate all of these tips to make sure I stay healthy.

    The snacks I bring: Lara bars, Odawalla bars, and oranges. All three are really filling and easy to travel with.

    As far as indulgence goes, Leah is dead on. Save your splurge for the good stuff. At chain restaurants, keep it simple: chicken breast with steamed veggies, etc.

  • Great tips Leah! It’s harder to keep up healthy habits when traveling, and very tempting to just say “I’m on vacation” and let things slide. But taking some simple measures will help keep you on track at home and abroad.

    So excited about Ari’s win in the recipe contest, yay!!