There’s nothing like a good vacation to rejuvenate and relax. However, a single trip can be enough to throw you off balance and off the health wagon—lack of sleep, late nights, different travel schedules, overeating, alcohol—all this might take a toll on your health. And what’s the fun in traveling when you’re feeling down?
“Traveling itself can be quite exhausting and challenging. Add to that, trying to eat healthy while being a guest in someone else’s country. Some of us just prefer to give up and give in to temptation, and deal with it when we get back home,” says Kac Young, a PhD in natural health and doctor of clinical hypnotherapy and naturopathy.
Taking time off doesn’t mean you should compromise on your healthy lifestyle too. There are ways of enjoying the spoils of vacation without straying from your fitness regime. Here’s how.
1. Plan Ahead
Young encourages you to be prepared. “Buy food in advance and prepackage a meal or two to fend off hunger. If you experience delays or changes in your itinerary, you’ll have staples to get you through,” she says, adding that she always carries soy, rice or almond cheese, so she can make a healthy pizza when she is hungry and when there are no other food options.
When researching where to stay and the places to visit, also look up the foods you want to eat and where to get them.
2. Pack Healthy
One of the simplest healthy snacks a person can take on vacation is an assortment of fruit. Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, bananas, unsalted nuts are all excellent snacking options.
Power bars can also be helpful, but be warned that some of them have too much sugar and fat with little nutritional value. Choose bars with ample fiber and protein minus the fats and sugar. Wholegrain crackers are also good idea.
3. Try To Stay Active
Sure, you want to stretch out and unwind, but don’t let your fitness regime hit complete standstill. Pretend elevators don’t exist and take the stairs. If something is within a mile, walk it up. This will also give you a chance to explore the place in detail.
4. Buy Healthy
While you might want to pick up candy and chocolates for your family back home, Young advises buying healthy food on arrival and putting in your room’s refrigerator. “Low fat yogurt makes a great healthy snack, lean deli turkey or chicken meat and whole grain bread, low sugar fruit cups, and applesauce all make for handy, handy snacks. Buy low-cal drinks to stay hydrated,” she adds. Stock up on these at nearby supermarkets, grocery stores and farmer’s markets—this will also give you insight into the local culture and food.
5. Eat Greens Everyday
Don’t shy away from indulging in local delicacies, but be sure to add a good portion of greens to your meal. This way, you don’t miss out on the nutrients you’d otherwise get from your healthy diet.
6. Skip The Obvious Vices
“Avoid battered, breaded, fried, or deep fried dishes as well as rich, buttery sauces,” says Young, “Fish is often the leanest meat, especially if it has been grilled, seared, or baked. Bright-colored vegetables are often healthier than their duller counterparts, and all-you-can-eat establishments should be avoided at all costs.”
7. Stay Hydrated
Holiday boozing, roaming around in the sun, partying late into the night—it is easy to forget to drink water. Dehydration makes you feel tired and being thirsty is often mistaken for being hungry, leading to overeating. Ensure you have plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and detox your system. At the same time, avoid sugary drinks and fill up on water or fruit waters.
8. Sleep Well
The very purpose of a vacation is to de-stress and unwind. So give your body the rest it deserves. Use this opportunity to sleep for longer hours and take short naps, when possible. Hopefully, the boss isn’t calling.