Take a Vacation, but Not from Healthy Eating
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It’s been over two months since the holidays and, if you’re anything like me, you already are deep in spring vacation-planning mode, scouting out hotel getaways for a mid-March break. Vacations are the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge, but many spring breakers have a difficult time sticking to the healthy habits they’ve cultivated since the start of the new year.
Well, lucky for you, March also is National Nutrition Month, and with this year’s theme of “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” going on vacation hopefully will mean a continuation, rather than a total abandonment, of the small changes you’ve successfully made. If you’re worried that your healthy habits will be derailed, here are some tips to keep you traveling smart, one forkful at a time.
Before Leaving on Your Trip
Let’s be real. It is going to be quite difficult sticking to all your healthy eating resolutions while taking a trip, and that’s OK! Going on vacation with a realistic and honest mindset about what healthy practices are going to travel along with you is more likely to set you up for success. It’s important to remind yourself that a few extra forkfuls of your destination’s local eats likely won’t send your weight spiraling and, in fact, your emotional wellbeing will probably thank you for exposing it to new and unique tastes. Departing for your travels with slight adjustments in mindset and expectations may allow you to keep those healthy-eating goals.
What are some strategies for smart eating when faced with resort buffets, non-stop dining out and travel partners who are lounge-aholics? For those tempting buffets, limit yourself to one plate. Fill half your plate with local fruits and vegetables first, then add some filling whole grains and a small portion of protein. Lastly, encourage your fellow travelers to go exploring with you! Rent bikes or kayaks to enjoy the scenic views, or take walks on the beach or in to town to explore your unique surroundings.
Planning Your Return
Okay, so maybe you didn’t keep all your healthy habits in check, but upon your return home you’re looking to get back on track. One way to help ensure a smooth re-entry is to have healthy options waiting for you at home. There can be nothing worse than coming home to an empty fridge and cabinets filled only with tortilla chips. Try preparing and freezing a vegetable-filled pasta bake ahead of time for your first few dinners back home. Another idea is to stock your cabinets with some low-sodium soups to bring for work lunches the day after your return. And, for the ultimate planner, think about pre-ordering meals from a meal-delivery service. This way, meal planning for the week already is taken care of and healthy eating can be a no-brainer!
Everyone deserves a vacation, but why not let this month of celebrating good food and nutrition remind you to be realistic about your goals, choose wisely, plan ahead and always put your best fork forward!
Casey Luber MS, RDN, CDN, is an outpatient dietitian in New York City. She works to educate and empower individuals to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle, and shares recipes rooted in real food on her personal blog, Club Nutritious.