How to Stick to a Healthy Diet on Vacation

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It’s tough to admit to yourself that you tend to gain weight whenever you go on vacation. What else is going to happen when you indulge yourself with food that you have never seen or tasted before?

Actually the amount is miniscule, regardless of what your scale may show and here is the reason why – water retention. When on vacation, we tend to eat saltier foods. Because our body wants to level out the amount of sodium, it tends to hang on to water to keep the ppm at a safe level. Once back home and on your normal diet lower in sodium, the excess water and sodium will excrete out as urine.

Another reason why we retain water is climate change. If vacationing in a place that is hotter than what you are used to, the body will retain fluids in the form of swelling in the hands and feet. If you stayed long enough for your body to acclimate, the swelling would go down, but it takes at least 14 days for that to happen.

A third reason for retaining water is eating more carbs than you are used to. When carbs are digested, they are turned into a sugar called glycogen and stored in the muscles. Because there are 3 molecules of water for every molecule of glycogen, and you are storing more glycogen than normal, you will retain more water.

So even though your scale may show a perceived weight gain of 3 to 5 pounds after a week’s vacation, your real increase in mass is probably around 1 pound. The rest of the gain you’ll lose fast once home.

Most people don’t maintain their same level of exercising while on vacation, and eat more than normal, but don’t fret. The tightness you feel in your clothes in only temporary, so have fun while on vacation. As far as a decrease in your fitness level … it takes at least a month of no exercising to have an appreciable decrease.

Vacation Tips

People tend to go on an extreme diet before going on vacation in hopes of losing a few pounds, because they know they will gain a few while gone. The problem is the body senses the reduction of calories as famine, so it becomes more efficient and burns fewer calories. Instead eat normally so your body is burning calories normally.

As part of eating healthy, you should be intuitive to your body’s clues as far as when hungry and when full. You’ll get these same cues while on vacation. All you have to do is heed them sensibly.

Don’t deprive yourself of food you really want. If you want to have that decedent dessert, have it. Just be sure to include it in your daily maintenance calorie count. That might mean having one or two fewer drinks during the day, or maybe not eating dessert at lunch too.

How to Stick to a Healthy Diet on Vacation

There is no doubt about it, it is hard to be good diet-wise while on vacation. However here are a few tips that will help stay on task and prevent you from feeling guilty afterward.

Eat in

Instead of eating three meals a day in a restaurant or at the buffet, eat one meal in your room. One of the easier meals to eat in is breakfast. If you have a refrigerator in your room, it is easier yet.

Once on location, go to a nearby market and get some fresh fruit, cereal and milk. If you have a mini-kitchen, it will come stocked with bowls and tableware. If not, opt for single-serve tableware and disposable eating utensils.

Eat like you do at home

This is tough to do depending on the amount of will power you have. With so many different and delicious dishes you are not used to eating, eating like you do at home is difficult, but not impossible. Opt mostly for fresh fruit, vegetables and lean grilled meats.

Watch portion size

It is easy to overeat while on vacation. Meals ordered off of a menu are usually about twice as big as what they should be. The solution is to only eat about half or share a meal with the person you are with. If eating at a buffet, it is easier to control portion size if you have the resolve to stick to your healthy living plan.


Of course, the other half of healthy living is getting enough exercise. You already know that if you back off on the amount of exercise you get, but not your eating, gaining a few pounds is easy.

However, getting exercise is not that difficult while on vacation. With a whole new world waiting to be explored, put on your walking shoes and go do it. Walking is great exercise. If you take your pedometer with you, you would be surprised at just how many steps you take on an average day. From walking along the beach in the morning to exploring a local market during the day, they all add up. And not all steps are created equally. For example, walking in soft sand on the beach barefoot is harder than walking on a hard surface with shoes. Different muscles come into play and it works your heart harder.

With a little discipline eating and exercising, it is not that hard to stick to your healthy living plan while enjoying yourself on vacation. Enjoy the location and cuisine, but like everything else … in moderation!

3 Healthy Road Trip Snack Ideas

Taking healthy snacks with you on a road trip is not only better for your health, but is less expensive and can save you time by not having to stop as much. But what should you bring with you?

Some foods are better for traveling than others. When considering your choices, choose things that are:


Being able to eat things by grabbing them with your fingers is easier (and safer) if you plan on eating while driving. Things like trail mix, baby carrots, fruit/protein bars, and various nuts and seeds are easy to eat going down the road and require zero preparation time. You can create portions before leaving home by placing them in small zip-lock bags.

Don’t Need Peeling

Things that need peeling like oranges, grapefruit or peaches are not good choices as they end up creating a sticky mess. However, apples, pears and grapes are great choices because they can stay whole. Eat the skin and get some additional nutrition.

Not Messy

Certain foods are messier to eat than others. For example, sunflower seeds still in the shell can mess up a car real fast as can cherries with the pit still in them. For kids, boxed juice drinks and squeezable yogurts work well.

Keeping Things Cold

If you are taking meat and cheese with you, along with some fruits and vegetables, you are going to need a way to keep these items cool. Two of the most popular ways are a cooler with ice or a small electric refrigerator that plugs into your car’s power socket. Most travel frigs also come with a power adapter so you can plug in once at your hotel for the night. The latter is less messy and time intensive because you are not always trying to keep things out of melted water and not draining off water and refilling with ice every day.

Controlling Trash

Be sure to bring along some larger zip-lock bags to put the accumulated trash in. Zip-locks work better in that things are not going to fall out of them after zipped and it reduces the smell of garbage in the vehicle.

With a little prior planning, it is not that hard to pack healthy snacks before leaving on a road-trip. Not only will it reduce the consumption of unhealthy fast food and save you money, but it can save a ton of time by reducing the number times you have to stop to eat. With the abundance of healthy snacks available, there is no reason why a road trip should wreck your healthy eating plan.

3 Tips for Sticking to Your Health and Fitness Goals While Traveling

Whether it’s a short week-long business trip across the country or a lengthy summer vacation in an exotic location halfway across the world, traveling is always a huge inconvenience for fitness buffs.

That favorite gym or familiar running path will be left behind while the beloved healthy drinks and meals will be replaced by convenient fast food and irresistible, delicious, calorie-laden local cuisines. It’s no wonder why most fitness enthusiasts come back with the need to detox and exercise harder than usual to get rid of unwanted pounds gained during travel.

Post vacation weight gain might be a common trend but it does not have to be the case for you. It is possible to enjoy your trip without having to compromise on your health and fitness regimen. With that in mind, here are 3 tips for sticking to your health and fitness goals while traveling.

1) Do Not Overindulge In Junk Food

It is okay to indulge in your favorite junk food or try those scrumptious looking local delicacies while on a trip. After all, that is one of the perks of traveling. The trick is to avoid overdoing it. Make it a point to order healthy meals more often than you go for the breakfast buffet or the fried and battered local favorites. Also make sure to match up calorie-filled foods with some form of intense physical activity that will burn them off later and you will be able to avoid jeopardizing your fitness.

2) Find A Way to Squeeze in a Workout

Just because you are away from home and familiar surroundings does not mean you have to completely do away with your workout routines. Ditch the excuses and commit to sparing at least one hour each day to exercise, be it early in the morning or late at night before you go to sleep. Hit the hotel gym, find a nice running path, pack some portable workout tools, or carry a fitness DVD. Whatever it takes, just make sure the day does not end without you exercising for an hour.

3) Try Staying Active As Much As Possible

Since being away from home makes it impossible to engage in the intense workouts that you normally do, staying active (in addition to the workouts you squeeze in) offers the next best thing.

By staying active, you keep your body burning calories throughout the day and thus prevent too much weight gain. So, instead of taking a cab when sightseeing, walk everywhere or rent a bicycle. Take long walks along the beach or go swimming in the ocean. Find the most engaging or adventurous activities of the area (e.g. surfing, hiking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, or even fun local sports) and throw yourself into it.

If you are a body builder and far away from any fully equipped weight room, perform body weight exercises at your free time instead. There are many options available when it comes to staying active while traveling. You just have to maintain your commitment to staying healthy and physically fit.

Lastly, it’s important to drink plenty of water and get enough sleep while traveling. This helps keep your spirit and energy up, which will help you, enjoy your trip and make it easier for you to workout and enjoy your travel expeditions.

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