Going on Vacation? 6 Tips to Avoid Blowing Your Diet

Article posted in: Lifestyle

Vacation season is here! And no matter where you’re headed—the beach, the mountains or the big city—your getaway is just what the doctor ordered. According to a 2012 Radboud University study conducted in the Netherlands, vacations—even short vacations lasting four to five days—are an effective “cure” to improve employees’ health and well-being. So go: Enjoy the scenery, bask in the sunshine and enjoy yourself.

Just remember to follow these tips to stay healthy and keep losing weight while you’re away:

1. Have Fun Getting Active.

Vacations are meant to be relaxing. And while it’s tempting to do—and think—about absolutely nothing on vacation, you’ll set yourself back by taking a week or more off. So visit a local surf shop or tourist center and ask where you can rent bicycles or kayaking equipment. You could even try a paddleboard or get surfing lessons. Going swimming for just 30 minutes in the ocean or pool can burn 300 calories or more. At the very least, get up and go for a brisk walk once a day. Encourage your family or friends to join you. They’ll benefit from the exercise and you’re more likely to stay active longer when you have company.

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2. Bring Healthy Options.

Eating out is part of the vacation package. But eating out three times a day every day you’re on vacation is a recipe for disaster. Instead, why not plan to eat breakfast at “home” each morning. Mix up a simple egg white omelet and you’ll stay on a healthy eating routine. When you’re off to the beach or headed on a hike, pack some healthy grab-and-go snacks (think nuts, cheese sticks and turkey jerky) so you’ll have healthy munchies on hand when hunger strikes. Instead of going out for ice cream after dinner, mix up a chocolate protein shake (you can even blend in some fresh local berries if the mood strikes!).

3. Drink Plenty of Water.

From 2005 to 2012, researchers at the University of Illinois studied the daily water intake in over 18,000 adults and found that people who drank the most water consumed fewer total calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol. They also found that when water consumption was increased, daily calorie intake could be decreased 68 to 205 calories a day. Water hydrates, fuels, sustains, and is extremely effective when you’re trying to lose weight. You also need more water during the warm, summer months. Don’t leave “home” without a water bottle and try to stock your cooler with water-packed fruits and veggies (think watermelon and cucumber).

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4. Go Fish.

Vacationing at the beach or lake? Hire a charter and go fishing, crabbing, clamming, lobstering…okay, you get the idea. You’ll spend a relaxing day on the water and with any luck, you’ll come home with some fresh, healthy fish. A lean protein, seafood is also light in saturated fat and is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends having fresh seafood each week. Remember to keep preparation healthy: Don’t fry or sauté seafood in lots of butter or oil. Keep things light with fresh lemon, herbs and a splash of olive oil. Check out this article for some help selecting healthy lean seafood.

5. Pile on the Produce.

Let’s revisit going out-to-eat once more. When you are out, what better time to enjoy fresh seasonal produce than in a restaurant where a chef prepares it for you? Imagine the dishes you could discover! If you order something you really like, compliment the chef and ask how it’s prepared. Chances are, he or she will give you the recipe. You can also ask your server for a lighter-fare menu or for his or her fruit- and veggie-packed recommendations. Keep your eyes peeled for farmers markets and produce stands when you’re out and about. And, remember that grilling seriously enhances the flavor and texture of produce: Veggies taste crisper and fruits taste sweeter.

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6. Go Light on the Booze.

You can have a drink at home—and on vacation. Just try your best to limit consumption to two servings per week, if possible, and pay attention to portion sizes: One serving of beer is 12 ounces; one serving of liquor is 1.5 ounces; and one serving of wine is four ounces. Opt for lighter beers because they’re lower in calories and carbohydrates. You can have red or white wine as long as the variety is on the dry side, because those wines are lower in sugar and carbs. Avoid sugary wine coolers or mixed drinks altogether. To make your drink last longer, sip water in-between drinks.