My recent article, “Ten Ways to Stay in Shape on Vacation,” helped you kickstart and maintain your fitness journey while away. Incorporating an active lifestyle into any vacation can lead to unique ways to really explore a new destination. Another key ingredient of memorable travel experiences is savoring local cuisine. Whether it’s diving into homemade pasta and olive oil in Tuscany or indulging in hot chocolate and crispy churros in Madrid, you want to delight in the diverse local cuisine while abroad without sacrificing all those healthy habits you may have curated during your recent downtime. Enjoying a vacation with healthy goals intact should not be unobtainable.
This week, I am pleased to introduce guest blogger, Wendy Bonilla, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Founder of “Well Balanced with Wendy,” she empowers her clients to create a healthier relationship to food through one-on-one coaching. Here are Wendy’s “Seven Ways to Eat Healthy on Vacation”:
Scope out options ahead of time:
The great thing about travel today is that internet access is readily available, therefore there’s plenty of access to restaurant menus right from your phone. Before heading out to dine, check out what’s offered and decide what to order in advance. It’s much easier to be less tempted and stick to those healthy choices if a decision is made beforehand. Do some research BEFORE the trip to scope out restaurants, cafes, and food tours that have more healthy options on the menu.
Eat a nutritious breakfast:
Breakfast doesn’t have to be early in the morning, but make sure to have a meal before embarking on your day. Studies find that people that wait TOO long to eat end up feeling hungrier than people who start the day with a healthy, filling breakfast. Make sure breakfast includes plenty of healthy fats and proteins. Pancakes are delicious, but they are filled with sugar and will leave you feeling hungrier sooner. A nutritious breakfast will supply the sustainable energy needed to take on the day’s activities.
Watch portion size and eat what you want:
Sampling local cuisine is a big part of getting the full experience out of your time away, so don’t deprive yourself! One way to enjoy without guilt or missing out is to eat smaller portions. When eating buffet-style, be mindful of how much food you put on your plate. Take less than what you think you want to avoid overeating. If the food is served to you, check in with how hungry you are after a few bites – most likely, you’ll find you aren’t hungry anymore and you will not need to go back for seconds.
Take time with each bite. (People who eat slowly tend to eat less). Enjoy the local fare and slow down and focus on all the flavors, ingredients, and textures for the most fulfilling experience.
Eat more vegetables with every meal:
Try to make vegetables at least half of what is eaten at each meal. This trick works especially well at buffets, where there are often WAY too many options. Choose a couple tasty-looking veggie sides, and already, you’ve filled most of your plate.
Pack healthy snacks:
Packing snacks in advance can be key to curbing cravings while traveling. Staving off a sudden surge of hunger can lead to healthier food choices throughout the day preventing a frantic binge on less nutritious foods. Some good options to bring along are fruit, trail mixes, and protein bars – pack some individual snack packets in your carry on, or you might even be able to grab a few portable items from the breakfast buffet at your hotel or cruise ship. [This tip is especially helpful if you are traveling with children – of all ages!]
Our bodies sometimes confuse thirst for hunger, so it’s important to stay mindful of water intake. Carry a refillable water bottle and take a few sips every thirty minutes. Feeling a burst of hunger? Drink at least eight ounces of water, then check in with your body to see if the hunger has subsided.
Looking to continue on the road to healthy eating? Wendy Bonilla can support you in taking control of your food cravings and emotional eating habits, so you can feel confident in your body and show up more radiant in ALL areas of your life. For more information, connect with Wendy on Instagram or Facebook.
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Photo credits: Ella Olsson, Jane D, & Anna Pelzer