Does a full-fledged war launch inside your brain every single time you get away on vacay (or even just a summer travel weekend)?
You want your theme song playing in your head as you strut your stuff on the beach in your bikini and shades and turn a few heads (no shame in that!). You’ve worked hard for months, fueling with your new favorite chia, coconut, and Greek yogurt breakfast, hitting the 6:30 a.m. HIIT class and religiously drinking your water (with lemon, of course).
But the minute your toes touch sand, you nod a big “hell yeah!” to the lobster roll on a buttered bun, forget about asking for salad instead of fries, and wash it all down with a cold one.
This is the internal conflict we all face: Eat the healthiest foods available and feel (and look) good, or eat the most indulgent foods at our fingertips for the sake of “enjoying” our vacation.
If you feel like I’ve read your diary, I haven’t.
It’s human nature to prefer sweet and salty foods. And it’s not human nature to resist enjoyment and pleasure when you’re on vacation. Our brains are designed to do things that release happy hormones (eat sugar, make love, play). But we can’t forget the emotional, cultural, and experiential reasons as well: You’ve worked hard, and you want to reward yourself for your efforts.
So what’s a vacationer to do? Think big pic, friends. Reward yourself by being good to YOU, and learn that there are indeed better rewards than a lobster roll.
Summer Travel Tips to Stay Healthy
1. Eat well even if you didn’t just eat well. Even on vacay, treat every meal as an individual opportunity to eat well. If breakfast is easy because you like healthful breakfast foods and they are available, then don’t give in to the loaded pancakes and hash just because. Enjoy every bite of your poached eggs, whole grain toast, and fruit salad. If you overdo it with fries at lunch, don’t start dinner with three buttered rolls, because you think, “Well, the day is ruined.” It’s NOT.
2. Prepare and be, well, prepared. You have to pack your suitcase. You have to unpack your suitcase. Plan your groceries like you do your clothes and shoes. Pack snacks next to your bikini. Before you head out on your trip, advance order your groceries for delivery so you can unpack your arugula when you’re unpacking your flip flops. (Bonus: The empty space left from eating your snacks leaves perfect spots for your shopping treasures.)
3. Pack non-perishable snacks. I’ve shared some awesome healthy snacks on the go recently and if the kids are in tow, make sure you check out this advice, too. Trust me, they’ll make summer travel that much easier.
4. Make a makeshift meal. If your flight is delayed, you slept through breakfast, or you’re otherwise out of luck, you can make it until the next meal or snack by surviving on a makeshift meal of an oatmeal pouch, a nut butter packet, and a portion of dried fruit.
5. Make a survival plan. Have an “I will survive” clean meal you can get anywhere. Anywhere. Know that if you stop at a quickie mart you’ll grab a Greek yogurt, sleeve of nuts, and piece of fruit. Coffee joint only place to grab grub? Have a latte and a Kind bar. When all else fails, you can get a mixed green salad and grilled chicken at just about any restaurant. Knowing what you’ll get anywhere leaves you less tempted to make a bad choice when you’re hungry.
6. Get your sweat on. Let’s get real friends. You have more time to exercise on vacay, not less! Set your exercise goals before day one. Are you going to knock it out first thing the morning? Or go for a sunset run every day? Personally, I love a morning workout because it motivates me to stay inspired for the rest of the day. Vacation is also a great time to try something new, so don’t be afraid to add beach yoga or stand-up paddling into the mix. Warning: A bonus walk or tennis match after you’ve already done your scheduled workout may just make you smile. Give it a shot.
7. Consciously indulge. Plan decadent treats into your summer travel. Depending on how long your trip is, choose a day (or a few max) when you’ll give yourself permission to eat something just because it’s yummy. Look forward to a small ice cream or a homemade treat from the candy shop. You can and should enjoy the indulgences that matter most to you on vacation. Don’t deny yourself entirely or pick off of everyone else’s plates. This behavior can be mentally draining (“I can’t believe I ate that,” etc. etc.). Better to eat empowered and say, “I CAN have this ice cream.”
8. Feed your soul. Fuel yourself with experiences, exploration, enjoying your loved ones, and the adventure of your getaway. Take the focus off of the food and put it into your memories.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)