In my line of work I often hear about people losing weight for events like vacations (depending on the destination, activities, or attendees), only to hear how their gains (in lost weight or shaping up) were quickly turned into losses (weight gained back, out of shape) by the end of said trip. Their focus on a short-term goal alone allowed them to sabotage all that they had worked so hard for, even sacrificed for.
Taking an enjoyable and relaxing vacation doesn't mean you have to throw caution to the wind and go unprepared.
After all, diet ditchers are more concerned with their long-term health and lasting quality of life over a quick fix. That means we stay true to ourselves, to our values, in every moment because we see how we can honor ourselves by making decisions that align with our values. Self-care is one such choice. So while your vacationing self-care might be unique in the opportunities you'll get to take advantage of for new forms of nourishment, from spa experiences to rare adventures, sleeping in, or getting in a little extra reading time, it should also include your body's nourishment through the foods that support your health.
Take the following steps in planning...
Understand your resources & limitations: appliances, cooking utensils & tools, local grocery stores & restaurants. We always try to stay somewhere with a kitchen, even if just a kitchenette. If you have a refrigerator and microwave or stove top at a minimum, you could cook ahead and just reheat your warm meals.
Figure out how many meals you'll need based on the number of days you'll be there. Be specific: how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners.
Plan out your activities: day on the lake, half day hiking, sightseeing tours, etc.
Work your meals around your activities and take advantage of leftovers, at least once for every meal. For example, it might make sense to eat out for lunch or dinner on your way to your vacation or in the middle of a day when you're sightseeing in a city. If you'll be on a boat, for example, half day or more, you'll need to think of a meal that you can take in a cooler.
Decide which meals you can make ahead and which you'll need to cook onsite (if that's an option).
Pack for convenience: paper plates, napkins, biodegradable utensils for any meals away from the kitchen where you're staying.
Pack food basics needed with your meals: condiments, spices, a good all-purpose oil, (like avocado oil) for both salads and frying, etc.
Take kitchen basics, like a good knife and cutting board.
Take enough water bottles or a water filter in case the water there isn't safe or good.
When planning your meals, try to take advantage of healthy packaged foods:
Chicken or beef sausages you can grill or roast
Canned fish or chicken breast for salads
Pre-made soups in cans or cartons
Dips and spreads like hummus and guacamole you buy in the refrigerated section to eat with freshly cut vegetables, gluten-free crackers, or organic tortilla chips
Easy meal combinations:
Carton/can of tomato soup with can of cannellini beans and/or canned chicken breast. Spice it up with Italian spices and garlic powder. This one is perfect for camping!
Chicken sausages with quartered bell peppers and onions (grilled or roasted)
Grilled meat and/or veggie kabobs
Steaks on the grill with sweet potato fries and mixed greens (other optional sides: corn on the cob, baked potato, french fries)
Beef or pork sausages on the grill or in oven with sweet potato fries, roasted onions & apples; sauerkraut
Tuna salad or chicken salad with gluten-free crackers or bread, sliced fruit
Bean salad (make ahead): mix 3 types of canned beans with chopped peppers and onions, avocado, olive oil, vinegar (Enjoy alone or with organic tortilla chips). Add tomatoes and mangoes to make it more hardy and flavorful. Good salsa recipe here.
Smoked turkey breast with potato salad (make ahead). Good potato salad recipe here.
Meat sticks (pasture-raised, organic)
Protein bars (Favorite brands: Garden of Life, Bulletproof, Primal Kitchen)
Energy or protein balls (make ahead)
Trail mix, homemade or store bought (nuts, dried fruits, cacao nibs or chocolate chips)
Hummus (make ahead or buy packaged) & sliced veggies
Guacamole (make ahead or buy packaged) & organic tortilla chips
Roasted, salted nuts with fruit (apple, banana, etc)
Gluten-free granola (homemade or store bought) with almond milk, banana
Gluten-free waffles (frozen) with almond butter, nuts, bananas or other fruit and maple syrup
Scrambled eggs with salsa
Egg frittata with veggies (make ahead)
Egg muffins with veggies (make ahead)
Gluten-free banana nut bread (make ahead)
Gluten-free chocolate zucchini muffins (make ahead)
Depending on how active we are, we generally enjoy two large meals a day and sometimes snack once in between. I'll share pics and exact meals we enjoyed in the next blog post, but for now, follow these recommendations of planning ahead so you can have the most enjoyable and relaxing vacation.
What are some of your favorite health tips for vacationing?
In love & service,