Eating healthy on vacation seems like a punishment rather than a smart choice. The truth of the matter is that by making a few slight adjustments to your indulgences you will have more energy to enjoy the things you love doing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before pillaging the buffet on your next vacay.
Don’t deprive yourself of food or villainize food but be intentional about what you eat. Food isn’t bad or good. One slice of cake is no big deal, eating half the cake will make you feel awful. Conversely, salad is great, but if you are in the Bavarian Alps you’re not going to be chowing down on a ton of greens. Indulge in that schnitzel and remember that your stomach is as big as your fist; so eat accordingly.
Don’t use vacation as an excuse to overeat at every meal. Eat sensibly, use moderation, and enjoy indulgences strategically. Two glasses of wine instead of four can make quite a difference in the morning.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Your body will make you think you’re hungry when in fact you are just thirsty. This is a protective mechanism your body has to stay hydrated if you are not taking in enough water. Water also makes you feel fuller, so feel free to indulge in a pint (of water that is) before your meal.
Limit calories from beverages. Beer, wine, and spirits quickly add up and can make you feel bloated. Drink in moderation or practice the 1 to 1 trick by ordering one alcoholic drink then order the same sized glass of water for your second drink. This can cut your consumption in half over 4 or 5 drinks.
Pack trail mix, fruit, or nuts to limit calories between meals. Most healthy snacks can be easily taken in the car, on a plane, on a tour or into your hotel room.
Eat like a king in the day and a pauper in the evening. Your body burns mass amounts of energy in the daytime and by about 7 pm it’s getting ready to start shutting down for sleep so your metabolism isn’t running as high during dinner. Eat a big breakfast but indulge in smaller meals at night. Tapa restaurants are a great way to eat small dinner selections but feel like you’ve eaten a Viking size feast.
Avoid fast food at all costs. The truth of the matter is that all fast food (with very little exception) has high calories and no nutrients to activate your “I’m done eating” hormones. Here’s some shocking math. A simple burger, fries and soft drink will get you around 1300 calories. You daily caloric needs as a man are 2500 and 2000 for a woman. Food for thought; literally.
Choose activities that involve natural movement. Take a yoga class on the beach, join a biking or walking tour of the city, play tennis or volleyball, go hiking or rock climbing. Keeping yourself moving on vacation can tip the scales of calorie balance in your favor.
Eat your veggies. Yes, your parents told you this and it still rings true. You can literally eat as many fresh veggies as you want. If you do indulge at a meal make sure you order a big salad to accompany it.
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