By Helen Agresti, RDN
Summer is upon us and that means it’s time for some family fun. Whether you’re traveling on the open road or in the friendly skies, it’s important to map out a plan for your meals and snacks. If you’re worried about getting derailed from your healthy habits, have no fear. Below are a few easy tips to help you maintain your physical and mental health while you relax and recharge on vacation.
Scope out the Food Scene
Wherever you’re headed, search for grocery stores and restaurants that are within walking distance or a short drive of where you’ll be staying. This will make planning your meals and snacks a lot easier. It’s also a big money and time saver.
Delays happen. Pack plenty of water for road trips or an empty water bottle to fill up before boarding your flight. It’s also helpful to have fruit like bananas or oranges packed along with whole grain crackers/chips, and nuts to keep you from experiencing the hungries that may lead you to eating convenience food.
Give Yourself an Allowance
Vacation is a time to unwind and let go of the everyday grind. However, keeping your healthy eating habits during your downtime will yield long-term results. Avoid replacing a meal with a decadent ice cream cone or a savory type of snack like loaded nachos. You can enjoy both! Prioritize your top 2-3 favorite treats and spread them out among your vacation days. Treat yourself after a nutrient-dense meal and keep portion sizes small. This will help keep your blood sugar level more stable and decrease the likelihood of you overindulging.
Flush out the Toxins
Eating out is more common on vacation and that’s to be expected. Therefore, water intake is even more important to aid in filtering out added sodium and other preservatives packed into fast food. Keep in mind, the air you breathe has toxins in it too. Water intake should always be a priority for boosting energy, alertness, and to help with digestion and appetite control. On travel days be sure to drink up! Always aim for at least 64 ounces of water each day.
Start Your Day with Energy
Always eat a well-balanced breakfast that contains a heart-healthy protein, whole-grain, and complex carbohydrate, which can be simply delicious like peanut butter toast and blueberries.
Get Up and Out!
Commit to being physically active for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Getting your walk or a swim in during the morning hours will help ignite your metabolism and increase your energy level for a fun-filled day.
Stay on Your Sleep Schedule
How well you’re rested can affect your food choices. Staying up an hour or two later than usual may lead to mindless eating. Also, going to bed soon after snacking can result in an uncomfortable night’s sleep due to reflux or digestion issues. If you need a small snack before bedtime, it’s best to enjoy one 2-3 hours prior to hitting the pillow. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is ideal for most adults.
Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in private practice at Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC. Helen provides personal nutrition coaching & counseling. She specializes in weight loss, food sensitivities, and eating disorders. Helen lives in Erie,
Pennsylvania with her husband and their 5 children. Connect with Helen on Instagram @pronutritionconsulting.