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Healthy vacation tips

Developing Healthy Habits on Vacation

Last week, I went away for spring break and was the resident nutritionist in a warm weather resort answering all sorts of nutrition and diet questions. Vacations often take on a life of their own when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. So often, people just “let themselves go” and justify that they are on vacation. And, they end up feeling worse when they return home.  However, it is really ok to indulge every now and then while away, while also maintaining healthy habits overall.

Here are some common vacation pitfalls and tips for how to conquer them:

All you can eat meals/buffets.

Have you ever felt that you paid for something so you want to “get your money’s worth?!” Well, you are not alone. This is very common and often leads people to overeat, and to rationalize about it as well. I deal with this issue so often when I counsel clients.  As I tell my clients, you will get your money’s worth if you eat healthfully and feel satisfied, not stuffed. Good health is your greatest wealth. The good news about buffets is that there will usually be some healthy choices. And, so often, there will be a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. My rule of thumb: do a lap around buffet and sample the choices BEFORE making your selection. Take one plate of food (not 5 mini plates) and make sure your plate is not piled so high that food is ready to fall off the plate. Eat till you are comfortably satisfied (and it’s ok to leave a little room for your favorite dessert) and enjoy the company.

Remember to:

Practice portion control

Fill up half your plate with fruits and veggies.

Take one portion and sit down. Do not pick or eat standing.


Lounging on the beach.

Going to a beach resort can be a great way hide away on a lounge chair and curl up with a good book or… it can a great way to get in some exercise too. Since I am a fan of varying your exercise routine, when you are away at a beach resort, use it as an opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views and to exercise. Taking a long walk either with your travel partner or solo is a great way to get your heart rate moving. Your ipod will certainly come in handy here! If you are a runner, taking a jog on the beach is also a way to break from your usual routine. You are also more likely to take that walk or jog if you are already on the beach as opposed to going indoors to the gym.

Lack of structure. The lack of structure on vacation often throws people’s health routine off. But you can totally turn it around and use it to your advantage. Eat structured meals and eat mindfully. Set aside some time most days to get in exercise. And, since you are away from your usual obligations, you certainly have time. Just, be sure to structure it well.

Enjoy, and have a fun—and healthy–vacation!!

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