Vacation Survival: Nutrition Hacks

Oh, vacation time! We live for them, and look forward to them all year long. The break from our daily routine is a welcome disruption to the monotony of our daily life. However, with the disruption of any routine comes change. Most changes are welcome during vacation time. Others, especially those relating to expanding waistlines are not! As many of you know, I just cruised the Caribbean on an amazing 7 day vacation. Did I gain weight? Of course I did! Come on, it’s a cruise! Will it be hard for me to get back to my pre-cruise weight? Absolutely not. Trust me, I indulged a lot! But I’ll be back to my normal self within a few days.



Winter vacation time will be here before you know it! That’s why today, I want to share with you some of my favorite nutrition tips for not putting on too many pounds during vacation, and bouncing back to normal once you return home. 

Whether you are going on a cruise, visiting family, or traveling to a place you’ve never been before, these tips should help you feel your best.


  1. Buffet Strategy

I have a love-hate relationship with buffets. The old me used to want to try everything. The new me is a lot pickier. My favorite strategy is to do a walk through of the buffet before putting any food on my plate. After looking at all the options, I pick the ones I actually like. Let’s be honest, you’ll probably eat all the food on your plate, even if it’s not that good. Don’t serve yourself until you are 100% sure of what you want to eat.


2. The All-Inclusive Trap

When I’m home, the idea of having two entrees never crosses my mind. However, when I know I can order as many dishes as I want, all of the sudden I want to order 3 appetizers, 2 entrees, and try out every dessert on the menu. Don’t fall for the all-inclusive trap. If you want to try two dishes, split them with a friend. Don’t go crazy just because you can!


3. The Bread-Dessert-Drink Dilemma

Bread. Drinks. Dessert. Pick one. If you are feeling wild, pick two. No need to get them all. Fill up on the real food. A few junk calories are allowed during vacation. But if junk calories are making up most of your meal, you are doing it wrong.


4. Mindful Fullness

I don't remember ever being hungry during my vacation. I was eating because it was time to eat, not because I was hungry. It’s ok to eat fattening yummy food once in a while even if you are not super hungry. But pay attention to how full you are at the moment. It can be a good tool to know how much food to get, or what to order.


5. Calorie Cutting Tricks

Most of you have heard these tricks before, but if you are on vacation you might need to hear them again. So here we go…. order salad dressing on the side. Ask for no butter on your steak. Skip the fattening sides. Order fish when possible. Skip the heavy sauces. Only one carb per meal. 


6. If It’s Not That Good, Don't Eat It!

Sometimes things look way better than they actually taste. If your food isn’t good, don't eat it. Is it wasteful? Absolutely. I know what you are thinking, I don't want to waste food when there’s millions of people starving. News flash: you will not be able to feed hungry kids with the food you don't eat. If you want to do the right thing, donate to Unicef to help feed those in need (link here), and save yourself by not eating those unwanted calories. 


7. Alcohol, Alcohol, Alcohol

In a perfect world, you would avoid all alcohol during your vacation. But, this is not a feasible option for 95% of the population. If you are going to be having some drinks, save them for later in the day. During my vacation I saw lots of people mindlessly drinking during the day. By the time dinner came around, they had already consumed close to 1,000 calories from just drinks. When it comes to alcohol don't just drink because it’s available. Save the drinks for when you are more likely to enjoy them. If possible, stay away from creamy and sugary mixes. And don’t forget to drink lots of water throughout the day. Save the calories, and save yourself from a nasty hangover.


8. The Dreaded Bloat

It’s inevitable. Restaurant meals are high in sodium. I guarantee that you will gain some water weight during your vacation. So when you get home and weigh yourself, don't panic. Give your body a little time to adjust. Drink lots of water and reduce the amount of sodium you eat. Also, don't forget to get your sweat on!


Speaking of getting your sweat on… stay tuned for my next blog post. I will be sharing some tips on how to sneak in some workouts and stay fit during your vacation.. 


Feel free to share your vacation nutritional tips in the comments section below!