Ah, Spring Break! If you’re fortunate enough to have snagged some much-earned time off work or school to beat the winter blues in a warm climate, you’re lucky in more ways than one. Of course, there’s a reason why Spring Break is often stereotyped as beaches filled with college kids gone wild. For many, the March Break is license to…well, go wild a little bit after a long winter. Unfortunately for many people, indulging in some freedom can cross the line and become downright unhealthy. If you’re on a strict diet for health reasons like controlling diabetes or high blood pressure, going off of it can have serious health consequences. And if you’re on a diet-diet, you can find yourself feeling guilty when you return from vacation having packed on a bunch of unwanted pounds.
If, like me, you find surviving on chips and beer leaves you feeling awful when you return home, read these tips on how to eat well when you travel, so you can enjoy your trip without too much damage to your health…or your waistline!
Goodbye, snow doesn’t have to mean goodbye, diet
Healthy eating doesn’t count when no one is watching you, right? Wrong. Here’s how to pick travel food that keeps you on track:
- Bring some food with you. No, low-fat yogurt doesn’t do too well in even the best luggage brands, but protein bars, granola bars, jerky, nuts and dried fruit snacks provide high quality sustenance that will remind you of home and save you from fatty convenience foods
- If you take protein powder, apple cider vinegar or a Greens Plus-type supplement, don’t be shy about taking it with you. Even in the case of air travel, a Ziploc bag will keep your powder safe (or try a Lug Clearview envelope pouch to stash vitamin pills; it’s one of the best luggage brands for packing light). You can even mix a concentrated solution in a water bottle and dilute it properly at your destination each day; be sure to bring a spoon!
An emergency stash of dark chocolate will help fend off cravings when you’re gassing up the car or find yourself at a rest stop
- If taking a road trip, fast food will naturally be calling your name at every exit. Take a trip to a large grocery store chain instead. Most have salad bars, hot food stations and prepared meals that, while hearty, are usually less calorie-dense and much higher in nutrition than fast food meals
When staying in a hotel, try to get a room with a mini-fridge. You’ll save money by buying staples like cereal and milk at the nearest grocery store – and you’ll have the opportunity to eat things that normally get forgotten on vacation, like lettuce.
Here come the don’ts of how to eat on vacation
I hate to be negative, but the bad eating habits I tend to pick up on vacation definitely warrant some don’ts!
Don’t think you can survive on liquids. Those mojitos, daiquiris and sangrias may be delicious, but they pack a serious sugar punch, not to mention the fact that when you finally do eat solids, it’s more likely to be greasy food ☺
Don’t eat only familiar foods. Oftentimes at an all-inclusive resort, the very best restaurants are the ones that serve local specialities as opposed to traditional North American fare. For example, the Mexican restaurant may be more likely to have freshly made salsa than the American restaurant is to have fresh vegetables.
Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to stay on a very strict diet. You don’t want to spend the entire trip on a calorie app or frantically working out at the hotel gym. Remember to exercise when you can (long walks on the beach, swimming and sightseeing totally count!) and make sensible food choices at each meal, and you’ll have more energy and less to correct when you get home.
See you in April!
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