Vacation: sunny beaches, clear blue water, fried food and desserts 24/7 (usually ice cream because it's summer and because... well.... we all love ice cream). When it's finally time for us to pack our bags and say goodbye (for now) to our routines and our busy schedules, we don't really want to eat kale and work out every day. That's what we do all the time and that's not what's going on right now. Nope. We want to relax, have fun, and basically eat whatever we want.
But we also want to live a healthy lifestyle, so we can feel pretty torn between those two desires: to have the best, most fun vacation ever... and to keep feeling good on a daily basis.
Thankfully, there are many ways to eat healthy when we go away, whether we're headed on a long weekend trip a few hours away or a week at a blissful beach resort. It just takes some thought and planning ahead, but it's totally doable, and then we'll have the best of both worlds: a chill vacation and some healthy food.
Read on for a 20 step guide to actually eating healthy while on vacation! Yes, it's possible!
20 Get Into A Healthy Routine Pre-Vacation
"Healthy" and "routine" might not be fun words on their own and they might not be a party when we put them together, either. "French fries" and "ketchup" sound a lot better... and "chocolate" and "cake" do too.
And yet a great way to eat healthier on vacation is to get into that routine before we leave for our trip.
That way, we get the unpleasant feelings out of the way and we get used to eating well and taking care of ourselves.
When we're on vacation, we'll want to keep that going since we're doing so well and we feel great.
19 Pick A Few Treats/Splurges Only
Yes, we're going to have some treats when we go on vacation. We totally and completely should. That's part of the fun.
Why not pick a few treats/splurges? We can do this ahead of time or when we arrive at our destination and scope out the food (and junk food) options.
Maybe we've got a crazy sweet tooth so for us, it's all about a daily ice cream, but we'll avoid french fries and potato chips and tortilla chips. Or maybe the opposite is true. It's good to know what will really make us happy and what we don't care about.
18 Don't Drink All Day Long
We all know that along with unhealthy food, vacation often means drinks. And drinks. And more drinks. And some more...
If we stick to only water or sparkling water during the day, we'll be much healthier, and we won't have any headaches or weird side effects like getting super tired when it's only noon.
It might not sound super fun but sometimes we just have to do things like this to take care of ourselves. Besides, we're on vacation. We're having fun. It's all good and we have nothing to worry about (just what book to read next, but that's a good problem to have).
17 Eat A Big Salad For Lunch
We might love salad and think that it's fun to come up with combinations or we could hate it so much that we never want to look at it again.
No matter what our emotions are surrounding this dish, we know that salad has greens and veggies and is, therefore, super good for us. So it's a good idea to eat it... and it's a good idea to eat it on vacation, too.
We can eat a big salad for lunch every day that we're away and we'll be sure to eat something healthy, no matter what else is on our eating agenda.
16 Stick To Protein And Vegetables At Dinnertime
Dinner can be full of so many exciting possibilities, from pasta to rice dishes to sandwiches. This is even truer when we go on vacation and are eating out a lot.
We want to order things that we wouldn't normally since that's the point of going away.
We can definitely enjoy a few fun dinners, but if we want to eat a bit healthier on the next vacation that is on our calendar, we can eat a few dinners that are protein and vegetables. (We can still enjoy a nice juicy steak if that's what we're after, and it'll be just as much fun to eat it if we order double veggies with it).
15 Grilled Fish Tacos Are Always A Delicious Idea
For some of us, a vacation might basically be translated to "fish tacos" and we might want to eat these for every single meal. No matter where we're going, if it's a beach vacay or somewhere warm, we can most likely get these at a lot of restaurants.
We don't need to say goodbye to the fish tacos. We just might want to order a version that is a bit healthier and get grilled fish tacos instead of fried (or maybe order fried fish tacos the first time and then grilled the rest of the trip). They'll still be awesome because they're still tacos.
14 Treat Yourself If It's Super Worth It/You Can't Get This At Home
It's awesome to travel and find new cafes or restaurants that, of course, we don't have in our hometown or the city that we live in.
When we want to splurge, we should definitely consider a treat that we don't have at home so it really counts and it becomes a really fun thing.
Maybe the hotel/resort kitchen makes amazing grain-free pancakes and since we follow a Paleo diet, we're never at a restaurant that makes a dish like that. In that case, it's totally worth it and we should enjoy every last bite (while putting it all over our social media accounts, of course).
13 Pack Healthy Snacks With You
Apples, bananas, packets of peanut or almond butter, nuts... These are all healthy snacks that can keep us feeling good all day long, whether it's ten a.m. and we're a little hungry but it's not lunchtime yet, or it's three or four in the afternoon and definitely too early for dinner.
We can eat a bit healthier on the next vacation that we take by packing some snacks with us. Depending on how far we're traveling, we can bring them with us, or we can grab them from a grocery store when we arrive and keep them in our room/condo.
12 Remember Why You're On Vacation (To Relax, Not Just Eat Junk Food)
Sure, we love food, and we love to eat junk food, and that's often what we think that vacation is all about.
We loosen up and have fun and don't eat veggies at every meal like we do at home.
Instead of thinking that vacation is all about junk food, all the time, we can remember that we're relaxing, recharging, and doing something good for ourselves, our mind, body, and soul. It's not just about junk food. This will help us stick to some healthy choices (along with some splurges since there's no reason to completely avoid those when we're away).
11 Eat Fruit When You Want Something Sweet
Fruit really is a great go-to when we want to eat something sweet, and it's a great thing to do on vacation.
This is particularly true because depending on where we go, we probably have access to some really delicious fruit.
Fruit might not be a piece of frosted chocolate cake with sprinkles, which might be the kind of vacation eating that we really want to be doing. And yet it'll still be an enjoyable thing to eat, especially when we're craving sugar. Soon we might even start craving the fruit itself and that's awesome since fruit is so good for us.
10 Go Out For Coffee And Make It A Fun Thing
If we don't want to go out for lunch and dinner every day of our vacation but still want to have some fun, we can find some cute, pretty coffee shops and enjoy our favorite beverage. Going out for coffee is always a great experience.
It's even better on vacation since the Instagram possibilities are endless and we'll have a great time checking out some cafes.
It's a great way to stick to our healthy eating plan, enjoy some delicious coffee, and take a few beautiful photos.
We'll still be getting out of our hotel room and exploring the area that is around us.
9 Find Healthy Restaurants Before Your Trip
It's pretty cool that there are so many healthy menu items at restaurants these days and so many healthy restaurants as well. It's rare that we would travel somewhere and not be able to find a few healthy eating options.
We can research some before we leave for our vacation and then once we've arrived at our destination, we have some options.
It's always fun to go out to eat, and chances are, it's just as much fun to enjoy a beautifully crafted healthy meal as it is to eat chicken wings and fries and a cheeseburger (as fun as those are). We will definitely still have a good time and we might even discover a new food that we love.
8 Rent A Condo/Airbnb/Place With A Small Kitchen
This is a really easy way to make sure that we can eat healthy food even when we're on vacation. Sure, we tend to think of a home away from home as a hotel or something like that,
but it's totally possible to think outside the box and have another kind of option.
We can find a hotel room to rent that has a small kitchen or go the Airbnb route. Either one will allow us to make some meals, whether that's breakfast and lunch or just one of them, along with giving us the ability to stock some snacks and keep some things cool (hello, the power of refrigeration).
7 Track Down A Grocery Store
Chances are, there is at least one grocery store in the city or town or place that we are traveling to, and we should be able to stock up on some healthy foods. This can really help us stick to some version of a healthy routine the week that we are away.
At the very least, we can grab some fruit, vegetables, sparkling water if that's our jam and anything else that looks good. We might get lucky and find a place that has some healthy take-out meals, like fish and veggies and rice, and we can stock up on some for the next few days if we want to eat in our room but don't want to cook (because, hey, it's vacation).
6 Remember How Awesome You Feel When Eating Well
When we're deciding between kale and a donut, it can be tough to remember that kale makes us feel amazing and the donut doesn't (although, yes, it's totally delicious).
When we want to stick to a healthy routine on vacation, we can remember that eating healthy makes us feel awesome.
It's simple and that's why it works.
If we didn't feel great when we eat well, then we would never do it and would just stick to pizza and chips, but since we do feel great, that's going to inspire us to continue with the salads and the veggies (most of the time, anyway... we still adore donuts).
5 Stay Super Hydrated
We've probably heard that we need to make sure we know if we're actually hungry or if we're just thirsty, right? Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference.
Another way to eat healthy on vacation? We can make sure that we stay super hydrated.
This probably won't be that difficult since when we're away, we're usually in a hot place that basically demands that we keep drinking a steady stream of ice cold water. It's the only way to stay cool and happy. As long as we remember to drink enough water, we might cut down on snacking when we don't need to.
4 Pick Your Desserts Carefully (Dessert After Dinner OR Ice Cream During The Day)
Yes, dessert is the best thing ever, or at least one of them (we still love you, avocado toast and pizza, although it's a savory kind of love).
Ice cream is also the greatest thing ever... and yet enjoying an afternoon ice cream while on vacation along with dessert after dinner might not be all that healthy.
It's basically a sugar overload and it's a better idea to choose one of these two.
That way we can enjoy ourselves, have some sweet treats, but not eat way too much sugar, which we might not love later on when we've got a headache.
3 Swap Fried For Grilled
We can pretty much all agree that when it comes to food, fried is less healthy than grilled. It's just a fact. This is true whether we're talking vegetables (even though fried and breaded veggies are amazing) or meat, fish, or chicken.
If we want to eat healthier on vacation, this is a really easy step to take: just swap any foods that are fried for ones that are grilled. We can follow this when we go out for lunch or dinner and are faced with a menu filled with delicious-sounding dishes. It's pretty much guaranteed that the grilled menu items are still going to be great.
2 Enjoy Fruit And Eggs For Breakfast (And A Bit Of Bacon Is Okay, Too)
If we're staying in a hotel or resort that has a breakfast buffet, or even if we're cooking for ourselves in a tiny kitchen on vacation, we're most likely going to have access to some eggs, along with a fruit plate.
Those two things make an awesome breakfast.
We'll be getting healthy fats and protein from the eggs and lots of nutrients from the fruit. We also shouldn't worry about enjoying a bit of bacon if that's something that we love (and of course we love it). We want to eat healthier on vacation, but not stop having fun, and eating bacon for breakfast is definitely fun.
1 Eat Clean On Your Last Day
We all know what it's like to have an amazing time on vacation and really live it up... and then get home.
It's a real shock to the system when we've broken free from our healthy eating routine and then have to get back to normal. Sure, we can't completely stop the transition from hurting a little bit since there's a massive difference between sitting at a computer and working and reading a chick lit book on the beach, but there's one thing that we can do to make things a bit easier: eat clean on our last day of vacation.
Then when we get home the next day, we'll continue, and it'll be a piece of cake (or kale).