7 Ways to Stick to Your Nutritional Goals When Traveling
Ready to travel but unsure how to stick to your nutritional goals when traveling? It’s totally possible to soak up every ounce of vacation without overindulging. Whether venturing to a new city, chilling out at a spa resort, or hitting the open road, we all know how difficult it can be to stick to our active vacation ideas once we’ve left home.
Vacations are meant to restore us. Who wants to come home from their vacay feeling bloated and lethargic after a week of eating and drinking too much? Here’s how to stick to your nutrition plan when traveling, because you deserve to return rejuvenated, refreshed, and right on track!
1. Reach for Quick Proteins
Stuck at the airport? Have to eat at a gas station? Opt for some pre-packaged proteins, such as low-sugar protein bars, turkey jerky, Greek yogurt, string cheese, and mixed nuts, suggests Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, owner of Revive Nutrition, LLC.
Be sure to grab a few shelf-stable options for times you can’t find a healthy option. “Just be mindful of portions with these kinds of picks,” she warns. “Even if something appears to be packaged in individual servings, it often contains more than one.”
2. Go Easy on the Alcohol
Having a cocktail or glass of wine while traveling is absolutely fine, but in moderation. (That’s officially two drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less in a day for women.) It’s super easy to overdo it, especially when you’re lounging poolside. But not only will drinking too much put a damper on your waistline, you won’t feel as energetic and excited the day after. Time is of the essence on vacay! Don’t waste it being hungover.
When it comes to alcohol, “make sure they’re not all heavy hitters” like sugar bomb cocktails or strong or “double” beers, says Sabada. One good rule of thumb is to only consume local drinks, to experience something new in moderation.
Remember to stay hydrated when drinking. For every drink you have, also have a glass of water to go with it.
3. Shop for Healthy Fare at Local Markets.
Not every meal or snack needs to be indulgent. Head to local markets and grocery stores for fresh fruits, veggies, and healthy snacks to tide you over in between meals. If you’re staying at a house or Airbnb, you can also grab some healthy ingredients to make nutritious and light meals, to offset some of the splurging you’ve been doing. Not only is it a budget and calorie saver, but shopping at local grocery stores is such a fun way to get to know a new town or country!
4. Stick to a Meal Schedule.
While traveling definitely messes with your meal and sleep schedules, Sabada suggests trying to stick to your normal meal times. Keep on your regular schedule, with three meals and snacks, she suggests.
Splurges are going to happen! Enjoy them and get back to normal. “The next morning after a few too many glasses of wine is not about atonement or punishment,” she explains.
5. Employ the 80/20 Rule.
The 80/20 rule is the notion that 80% of the time, you’re going to stick to your normal healthy eating plan of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. The other 20% of the time, you eat new or favorite treats.
“A dessert after supper (or before — ha!), donuts for breakfast — these vacation treats are not going to derail you in the long run,” says Sabada.
6. Plan Ahead.
Besides booking excursions and sightseeing tours, remember to also research where and what you’ll eat before you leave for your trip. Take a peek at menus to see where you might want to treat yourself. “Perhaps it’s a lighter breakfast on a day when dinner will be a heavier meal,” says Sabada.
But that also goes for getting in your extra steps. “Scout out walking routes or bike shares to try to stay active on vacation city without being banished to the hotel gym,” she continues.
7. Focus on Local Treats.
If you’re going to have a treat, make it a good one! Avoid treat foods you can easily get back home. Instead of eating a candy bar at the gas station or fast food at the airport, scout out the regional food scene.
“Perhaps it is a local ice cream parlor, an Instagram worthy chocolate shop next to your Airbnb, or a neighborhood favorite bakery, make it worth your while to go off the grid,” says Sabada. “You deserve more than a pack of stale powdered donuts.”