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How to Stay on Track During Vacation and Still Enjoy your Time

Vacations are for relaxation, exploration, and creating lasting memories, but sometimes, the worry about maintaining healthy habits can add unnecessary stress. Here's the good news: you can enjoy the local cuisine, indulge in a few treats, and still stay on track with your food and fitness goals! Here at AFE, we have come up with a few tactics that will help you navigate your health and wellness goals while having fun in the sun on vacation.

The first thing we need to do is embrace flexibility. What we mean by this is to really take the time to be present and relax during your vacation. Do not have such a strict plan that you can not enjoy yourself. It is important to plan, but do not over plan. To do this be sure to research restaurants and activities beforehand, but leave room for spontaneity. Trying a new dish or joining a local fitness class can be an exciting experience.  It is also important to focus on progress, not perfection. A few indulgences will not derail your progress, as long as you maintain a balance. Take the pasta-making class in Tuscany, or enjoy a glass of wine at dinner and instead maybe skip the croissant for that morning or save it for the next day! By making these seemingly small decisions, you set yourself up for success by staying on track. So, aim for overall healthy choices most of the time, so that you can enjoy the occasional treats without any guilt. 

Making smart food choices is another way we can stay on top of our goals on vacation. For starters, make sure to pack healthy snacks with you for on-the-go. Having healthy snacks on hand can help avoid unhealthy choices when hunger strikes on the go. Think fruits, a handful of nuts, or a protein bar. Keeping our hunger in check will prevent us from “overdoing it” at dinner. Something else to consider is portion control. This is key because you do not have to deny yourself delicious food. Enjoy smaller portions and savor the flavors or even try sharing an entree with your family or friend. This can often be the perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try new foods as well. Overall, by balancing indulgent meals with lighter options throughout the day, you create a freedom with food that maybe previously gave you trouble. 

While some vacations are action-packed with hiking, swimming, biking, or exploring a new city by foot, some are just rest and relaxation time at the beach! If that is the case, you can stay active through other ways. For one, pack some workout gear such as a light resistance band or jump rope which can provide a quick workout anywhere. A new outfit from your favorite athletic store might do the trick too. However, working out does not have to mean hitting the hotel gym. You can plan some activities that get you moving in other ways, like dancing the night away or participating in some water sports.

Tips for Success:

  • Hydration is Essential: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and energized, especially during hot weather.

  • Prioritize Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, even when traveling. 

  • Listen to Your Body: Do not push yourself too hard, especially in a new environment. Take rest days when needed and prioritize activities you enjoy.

It is important to remember that vacations are a chance to refresh and recharge. By making small adjustments and focusing on healthy habits, you can return home feeling energized and without sacrificing the joys of your trip. So, pack your swimsuit, walking shoes, and a positive attitude, it's time for a healthy and happy vacation! Happy traveling from your friends at AFE!!

Erika Richter - MS, RD, LD


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