July 18, 2023

5 Tips to Help You Eat & Feel Nourished While on Vacation

Photo of Justine Friedman, Registered Clinical Dietician and Mindset Mentor
Justine Friedman
Registered Clinical Dietitian and Mindset Mentor

Vacations are a time to relax, unwind, and indulge in new experiences, right?

But something that we don't really talk about when it comes to vacations is the fact that it can also be a time of great stress. You are out of routine and the food may be completely different from what you are used to.

This can mean that your healthy eating habits – which are easier to stick to at home – take a backseat, and can leave you feeling bloated, guilty, and generally unhealthy afterward.

If you can relate to this; if worrying about overeating, being out of control, and feeling uncomfortable with food stops you from fully enjoying your well-deserved time away, I have good news for you: you CAN enjoy your vacation without feeling like you’ve lost your way with your eating habits.

In this blog, I'll share 5 practical tips to help you eat and feel nourished while on vacation:

1. Get in those Fruits 🍍πŸ₯‘πŸ’πŸ«πŸ‰ and Veggies πŸ₯•πŸ†πŸ…πŸ₯’

One of the best ways to nourish your body during a vacation is by finding a local store that sells fresh fruit and vegetables. There may even be local markets for you to explore where you can find these and other ingredients that are in season. Fresh produce is not only packed with essential vitamins and minerals but also adds a vibrant touch to your meals. Try to incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, as they provide a range of nutrients to support your overall health. Starting your meals off with vegetables is also a great way to balance your blood sugar and keep your energy more stable.

2. HydrateπŸ’¦πŸ’§, HydrateπŸ’¦πŸ’§, Hydrate πŸ’¦πŸ’§

Staying hydrated is crucial, regardless of whether you're on vacation or not. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and poor digestion, so make it a priority to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Your body signals thirst and hunger in a similar way. This can mean that if you aren’t drinking enough you may feel that you are constantly thinking about eating, where you may actually need to drink. Carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it whenever necessary. If you find it challenging to drink plain water, infuse it with slices of citrus fruits, berries, or herbs for added flavor. Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages, sugary drinks, and alcohol, as they can dehydrate your body. My favorite trick when going overseas is to take my favourite water bottle with me. I pack the empty bottle in my suitcase and then I have it ready to fill and use no matter where I am in the world.

3. Keep Your Meals Balanced πŸ₯™πŸ•πŸ”πŸœπŸπŸ²

While on vacation, it's easy to get carried away with indulgent meals and unhealthy snacks. Of course, you should enjoy yourself but you will feel so much better if you can try and keep your meals more balanced. This means aiming to include all the major food groups in your meals, like lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and fiber-rich foods. For example, you can opt for grilled fish or chicken with a side of roasted vegetables and a portion of whole grains. If pizza, pasta, or burgers are on the menu, add a salad as a starter (and rather have water as your drink with this kind of meal). Time for gelato or ice cream? Of course, you should enjoy this but choose it in a cup instead of a cone. This balanced approach ensures you're providing your body with a wide range of nutrients while still enjoying the local cuisine. You can also pack some snacks from home that you can rely on if meals are more spread out than you are used to. I generally pack nuts, so that if I am hungry between meals I have something to fall back on.

4. Tune into your body πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€

Practicing mindful eating can be especially beneficial during your vacation. Slow down and savor each bite, paying attention to the flavors, textures, and aromas of your food. By eating mindfully, you're more likely to recognize when you're full, preventing overeating. Additionally, it allows you to truly appreciate and enjoy the local delicacies, creating a more memorable and satisfying dining experience. We are heading to South Africa and I know that I am going to eat some of my all-time favourite foods that I have not had in over 4 years. I plan on eating these slowly and mindfully so that I really do enjoy them and yet at the same time prevent myself from eating more than I know my body can handle. I hate the feeling of walking away from a meal feeling overfull or bloated, and by slowing things down and eating with more intention, it allows me to achieve both the enjoyment factor and feeling comfortable in my body afterward.

5. Move Your Body πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€πŸ‘ŸπŸ§˜πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈπŸŠπŸ»

Keeping active while on vacation is not necessarily about burning calories or preventing weight gain. Pushing yourself to exercise to work off calories and maintain weight can be a surefire way to add a lot of stress to a vacation that should be about fun - and is part of a diet culture approach that fosters a negative relationship with food and your body. Rather, movement is for boosting your mood and energy levels and allowing you to feel good in your body. Take advantage of the opportunities for physical activity available wherever you may be going. Explore the surroundings by going for a walk, hike, or bike ride. Participate in water sports, yoga classes, or dance sessions. Participating in activities that you enjoy not only helps you stay fit but also contributes to a sense of overall well-being.

Eating and feeling nourished while on vacation is entirely possible with a mindful approach and a few simple strategies. Remember, holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so be kind to yourself and find a balance that allows you to savor both the experience and the nourishment.

Bon Voyage!

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Photo of Justine Friedman, Registered Clinical Dietician and Mindset Mentor
Justine Friedman
Registered Clinical Dietitian and Mindset Mentor
Justine is a seasoned Clinical Dietician with over two decades of experience in private practice. Holding a Bachelor of Science from WITS and an Honorary Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from UCT, she is both South African qualified and Israeli licensed. Justine's journey into nutrition was deeply personal, stemming from her own battles with weight management, emotional eating, and adapting her diet post-40 to meet the changing needs of her body. This personal connection to her field fuels her mission to empower clients to forge a harmonious relationship with food and their bodies. Understanding the complexity of diet, hormones, gut health, and eating habits, Justine brings empathy and expertise to her practice. She is dedicated to helping individuals overcome the cycle of dieting and self-sabotage by fostering a profound understanding of their own bodies. Justine's approach is grounded in the belief that knowledge is powerβ€”by understanding your body, you can work with it, not against it, to achieve lasting health and wellness.