GUEST POST: Eating Healthy While on Vacation

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on Jul 22, 2013 in Blog
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GUEST POST: Eating Healthy While on Vacation

Here is a great article sent to me by Cole Millan.  In this season of travel and moving around, you can STILL stay healthy. Thanks Cole!


Eating Healthy on Vacation – Cole Millan

Eating healthy on vacation does not have to be painful. In fact, it is incredibly simple.

Mentally Prepare and Plan Ahead for Meals

Before you even leave for your holiday, mentally prepare yourself. Tell yourself that you are allowed to indulge on vacation once in awhile as long as you remain active and only once a day. Perform a bit of reconnaissance to find the restaurants and must-have food stops you cannot miss and plan your food splurges in advance. Also, tell yourself that you WILL avoid the minibar, limit your alcohol intake and always order a side of vegetables when possible.

When you book your ticket, if the airline offers meals with your flight keep in mind that a vegetarian dish is often more waist-line friendly than other meals.  And remember that in-flight snacks are often high priced, high calorie and processed.  So plan ahead by filling sandwich baggies full of healthy snacks on your carry on or bring along a real-food snack bar like Lara or Pure bars.  You won’t regret the savings both calorically AND financially!

Choosing a Health-Friendly Hotel

As you mentally prepare, choose a health-friendly hotel to help you in your quest. Be certain the hotel offers a gym or pool. Choose a hotel within walking distance to many sights or activities. Check with the hotel to see if they offer bike rental, if they are close to trails and public transportation and if the restaurant offers healthy alternatives such as baked chicken, fish or vegetarian options. Be certain they have a fridge to keep perishables so you can always eat a piece of fruit before leaving for a restaurant. Often times determining these pivotal aspects can be difficult. This is why it is very important to do your research before booking.

While hotel websites can be misleading to drive in business, I have found that reviews from other travelers are extremely helpful. I most recently took a trip to Sin City, where eating healthy seems nearly impossible, and found a great site called Gogobot that listed reviews for the Las Vegas hotels

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regarding their amenities, the restaurants in the nearby area, as well as things to do. This was extremely helpful and ensured that I would be able to maintain my healthy lifestyle regardless of where I traveled.


Airports and airplanes were once the easiest places to fall victim to travel weight gain. For this reason, make sure to eat a filling and nutritious meal prior to your departure to ensure you will not be “starving” when you are in the airport. And, once you arrive, have a plan of what you are going to eat and when.

Even if you pack your own meals and snacks you might want to eat one meal at the airport depending on your travel arrangements. Most restaurants in airports offer healthy snacks

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and alternatives, some which are not listed on the menu. For example, you can often have a piece of fruit in place of French fries. Just be prepared to ask.  Also, a number of cafes and sandwich shops offer yogurts, fruit and vegetables.

Realistic Health at Your Destination

Once you reach your destination, be mindful of temptations at every turn. Although food-stuffs and non-movement abound in all times of life, “vacation mode” seems to invite all sorts of selected forgetfulness.  So, it is a good idea to keep a food journal on your vacation. It will force you to be realistic about what you have eaten and what you can still eat or drink for the day. Do not forget that fruit drinks, while somewhat healthy in small quantities, can easily escalate your caloric intake for the day. Go for a walk after dinner. This is also a romantic way to end your day if you are traveling with a partner and good exercise for the entire family. If you remain active throughout the trip, you will be able to enjoy yourself more and return happier with your decisions.

At the Restaurant

It is inevitable that you will be eating out at restaurants; after all it is a vacation. Just make sure to find a restaurant that has a wide variety on their menu to increase the likelihood of finding something that is healthy without sacrificing flavor. From heavily battered entrees to endless bowls of rolls and fresh bread, many chefs create decadent menus with no abandon. If you consistently consume the full portion of these meals during your vacation, your body will quickly begin to show (and feel!) the results. While indulging in your favorite foods every once in awhile is permissible, try to steer clear of fried foods and opt for smaller portions (think “share with someone”) when possible.

In addition,  

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lean proteins
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, undressed salads and heaping portions of fresh veggies are all great dietary options that you can find in most restaurants. And you should also avoid greasy buffets and fast food if possible, as it can be challenging to find appropriate foods in these dining establishments AND they will leave you feeling sluggish instead of energized for your vacation activities.

Remaining healthy while on vacation does not have to be overly complicated or difficult. You can make smart decisions, allow yourself a few indulgences and stay active. In fact, if you follow this guide, you may just return even more fit than when you left.

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