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5 Tips for Healthy Eating on Summer Vacation

A summer getaway is time to relax, re-energize, see new sites and try new things—including food. But if you’re trying to control your weight, your holiday plans might make you anxious.

It can be easy to put your diet on vacation too, especially if you’re unable to plan your own meals. After all, what difference will a couple of weeks of overindulging make on the bathroom scale, right? For some people, a lot.

But you don’t need to you deprive yourself during your summer holiday.

Whether you’re planning a road trip, sightseeing in Europe, or spending time at the lake, the following five strategies will help you eat healthfully on vacation—without passing up special foods and summer treats.

Stick to a schedule. On vacation, it’s easy to lose your usual routine by sleeping in, snacking more often and eating meals at irregular intervals. But if you stick to a regular eating schedule, you won’t become overly hungry and you’ll be less tempted to eat high-calorie snacks between meals.

Eat every three hours—three meals plus one or two snacks—to keep your energy level stable and hunger at bay.

Be prepared. If traveling by plane, train or car, be prepared with healthy foods so you won’t have to buy whatever is available. Pack portable snacks such as fruit (fresh or dried), whole food energy bars, and homemade trail mix.

On a road trip, pack a cooler with raw vegetables and hummus, yogurt, healthy sandwiches and plenty of water to stay hydrated. If possible, visit a local grocery store to restock your cooler with daily snacks and lunches.

enjoying restaurant meal
Photo by Adobe Stock/abelena.

Order wisely. When at home you know exactly what you’re eating, but in restaurants you usually don’t have a clue. Not surprisingly, research suggests that the more often we eat out, the higher our daily intake of calories, fat and sodium.

Consuming extra calories on one given day won’t make you gain weight, but doing so for two weeks straight won’t do your waistline any favours.

If you will be eating most of your meals in restaurants, order simply prepared foods, such as baked, broiled or grilled meat, chicken and seafood with vegetables. Ask for sauces and condiments to be served on the side. Share an entrée or order two appetizers.

Limit liquid calories. Sipping on a cooler or marguerita won’t break your diet, but if you drink a few each day you’ll do more than weaken your resolve to eat healthfully. Consider that one vodka cooler can add as many as 350 calories and 8 teaspoons worth of sugar to your diet.

Summer cocktails that are easier on the waistline include light coolers (80 to 110 calories), light beer (95 calories), wine spritzers (50 to 75 calories) and cocktails made with calorie-free mix (70 calories). Non-alcoholic options include unsweetened iced tea and soda water with a splash of fruit juice.

Indulge, don’t overindulge. When it comes to splurging on treats, moderation is the key. Every city has unique foods and treats you shouldn’t pass up. Preventing holiday weight gain is about how much you eat, not what.

Your best strategy: Allow yourself one treat per day. If it’s only a taste you want, enjoy a small portion. There’s no rule that you have to finish it all.