As we enter into the late summer days of August our minds slowly begins to shift from all things summer to all things fall…but let’s hit the breaks on those thoughts and enjoy all that summer has to offer for as long as possible! Maybe you can squeeze in one last long weekend trip, one last vacation, or a couple more summer gatherings with friends and family. With all things “holiday” in mind, today’s guest writer Jaime has some great tips for enjoying your days to the fullest while still maintaining your healthy habitudes!
10 Tips to Healthy Eating While on Vacation!
I was lucky enough to meet up with Cassie and our friend, Alexis, in—of all places—Spain! But as healthy eaters, we were conflicted. On one hand, we wanted to continue down our healthy eating path. Yet on the other hand, we also wanted to soak in as much of the culture as possible. As it turns out, we didn’t need to worry so much! We were able to easily combine healthy eating with Spanish eating. We left feeling like we tried the best of what Spain had to offer, and without disregarding our healthy eating values. Even after the trip to Spain was over, I was able to maintain the same approach to the other cities I visited.
1. Commit to trying new things. When you return home, you can eat all the quinoa and vegetables you desire. But how often can you find real Spanish paella in the US? When you get the chance to eat culturally-rich foods, dive in! When I say commit, I really mean COMMIT; I tried foods that I knew I hated in the US. As it turns out, I like them in other countries because they are prepared differently! 2. Get comfortable getting out of your comfort zone. Some of the foods you see might seem, well, weird. Get over it…jump in! What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll find that throwing yourself into trying something with reckless abandon can be quite liberating.
3. Have a plan. When I arrived in London, I was talking with Cassie (ever the voice of reason) about my eating concerns. The conversation went something like this:
Jamie: I’m kind of stressed out about eating here in Europe. I want to try everything but I also don’t want to throw my healthy eating completely to the wayside.
Cassie: Why don’t we think of a plan?
Jamie: Like what to eat, and where to eat it?
Cassie: Basically. You’ve already tried fish and chips here in London…
Jamie: And it was to die for. I’m so happy I tried it.
Cassie: Exactly! And what better place to try fish and chips than England! So maybe you fit in not-so-healthy-but-culturally- significant foods in between lighter eating?
And that’s exactly what I did. Eating in London was easy, especially with Cassie around to be supportive. In Spain, we knew we had to try as many new foods as possible since Spanish food is so amazing (and we sure did try loads of new foods!) In Amsterdam, a city not exactly known for its food, I ate a lot of salads, fruit, lean protein, and vegetables. Even when I was tempted to order fries, knowing my next stop was Paris brought me right back to healthy eating. I was in Paris only a short time, but I got my fill of wine, baguette, pain au chocolat, croissant, crepe, and French cuisine. And even though I was eating foods I don’t normally eat, I enjoyed every bite. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Don’t waste calories on something sub-par. Maybe you love Snickers and in the US, that’s a treat for you. On vacation, save those calories for a delicious, culturally-rich indulgence. Mine was pain au chocolat. I passed it by every place I saw it, waiting to eat it in Paris. Let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait.
5. Eat family-style. This is great because it allows you to sample many different foods, but not overdo it on any of them. Everyone orders a dish and everyone shares! This is also good for the budget, and it stimulates great conversation.
6. Indulge a little—you’re on vacation! I never order dessert when I go out to eat at home in the US. But I ordered dessert more often than not on my trip. We would opt for a more traditional dish of the area, and we would always share it. That way we experienced the dish, yet didn’t completely blow our healthy diets.
7. Watch the locals. Don’t go where the Americans go. Eat at a restaurant that is packed with people speaking the language of the country, with a menu in the language of the country. Eat where they eat, order what they order. There’s a reason for it. (The language barrier can be overwhelming at times. Your best bet is patience, smiling, and discreet pointing).
8. Embrace the fact that things might be different elsewhere. Ordering pizza in Italy is different from ordering it in the US. Don’t send it back if it isn’t what you expected; Take a bite, savor it, revel in it, acknowledge the differences, and respect this little taste of culture for what it is. (And I’d bet that even though it’s not what you expected, it’s absolutely delightful).
9. Get movin’! This one isn’t exactly diet-related, but it’s important nonetheless. Instead of taking cabs, walk around to explore. Take a bike tour or a walking tour. Visit the beach and go for a swim or try paddle-boarding. Go for a jog around the neighborhood. Play beach volleyball. Rent a kayak. The possibilities are endless!
10. Keep a healthy snack on-hand. This was a lifesaver for us! We had cashews and almonds to munch on when we were on a long tour or when the urge to snack hit. It’s so much easier to eat healthy when you have a healthy option in front of you. Without some nuts or fruit to munch on, you might be tempted to reach for something you’d regret later.
Vacation isn’t the time to be stressing over calories and macros. You can’t go wrong if you just take it meal by meal with the intention not going hog-wild. Enjoying the food of a new country can be done with a healthy mindset; it all comes down to finding a good balance.
Practice makes perfect! These tips are great habitudes to use, embrace, and remember for the long haul! Thanks Jamie! Great advice! Cheers!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDQnPqv8wJg Your friends, Cassie and Jamie