It is officially summer time! Kids are getting out of school, schedules are relaxing and some travel may be on the horizon. Going on vacation is a well-deserved break and I can understand wanting to relax and go into all out “vacation mode”.
Has this state of mind for you usually meant throwing all healthy habits out the window?
I get wanting to indulge, not think too much and needing a break from the rigors of daily to do lists but staying mindful of a few things can help you maintain your healthy lifestyle habits WHILE ENJOYING your well-deserved break!
Remember a healthy lifestyle is not about being on a “diet” but about balance, sustainable choices and a healthy mindset!
Here are my top 5 tips for fun and healthy summer travel!
Take snacks with you!
Airport snacks for the airplane are heavy on the packaged foods and are typically devoid of protein, fruits and veggies and fiber that help keep us full. They can also be a burden on the wallet. $9 for a pack of nuts! Consider loading up your carry-on and backpacks before you travel with options like single servings of nut and seeds, packaged chips or popcorn for a salty single serving of indulgence, fruits like apples that only require rinsing and bags of baby carrots.
Hotel breakfasts these days vary from packaged Danish pastries to a full on breakfast. Check out the offerings for where you will be staying beforehand!
I always travel with the less than 5g sugar Kind Bars that can easily be thrown into the bottom of my suitcase for a quick and easy snack or breakfast. If the breakfast provided offers fresh fruit, options like oatmeal and cooked options- you are in much better shape to start your day with fuel to energize your vacation.
If you are traveling for a longer period of time, consider staying in a rental- breakfast is a great meal to enjoy by picking up a few grocery items like salsa, canned beans, eggs or tofu for a quick scramble, whole wheat tortillas or bread, a frozen onion/bell pepper mix… and voila breakfast tacos! (This Texas girl enjoys her breakfast tacos!)
If you prefer a simpler option, a great high fiber cereal with protein my kids enjoy is Kashi Cinnamon Harvest. They enjoy it with Ripple unsweetened plant-based milk with extra protein.
Summer is a great time to be active- enjoy summer sports at the beach, hikes in nature, a dance party or go for a peaceful walk before the heat sets in. Thinking of movement as self-care and something our bodies need instead of “calories burned” allows you to enjoy physical movement. Do not link exercise to what you ate and as a way to compensate for it!
Too often, day to day our bodies endure sitting in one position at a computer resulting in neck, back and hip stiffness. Enjoy the opportunity to move more and freely during that soccer game with the kiddos while having fun and making some great memories with friends and family! Be sure to stretch before to avoid injury…I say this from experience! ; ).
Food is for enjoyment. Food is for celebration. And food is a great way to enjoy a locale you are visiting. Feel free to indulge… mindfully. What does that mean?
It means instead of going into all out “vacation mode” of “I will never eat dessert again so let me eat all of it now” (sound familiar?), instead CHOOSE whether you want to or not and know that if you do choose it, it’s ok to enjoy and not have guilt!
A healthy lifestyle is about the foundation, of what you choose to do most of the time. It is also about what you include on your plate.
So, be sure to focus on what you want to be adding to your plate as well while traveling! Ordering salads, fresh fruit and lots of fresh, roasted or grilled veggies from the menu as sides is a great way to get filling foods on your plate that keep you full and keep those bowels going (often people get constipated while traveling)… So order that roasted broccoli along with the French fries and enjoy both.
Be mindful of alcohol
A note on alcohol… I know beverages with alcohol are often part of the vacation mindset.
Being mindful of amount and frequency, as well as the impact on you personally, is important to consider. Of course we all recognize alcohol as a toxic substance to our bodies, but if you choose to partake, consider how it impacts your choices.
Often alcohol results in excessive indulgence in foods, some options like margaritas are loaded with tons of added sugar, can lead to disrupted sleep and feeling unwell after consuming large amounts. Similar to the food indulgence, consider enjoying some in moderation. Alternating with non-alcohol beverages, enjoying less sugar sweetened options and being mindful of overall intake is helpful.
Last but not least, make sure to get in some rest on your vacation too! In day to day life, most people are getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours a night. This is often for many reasons. It can be easy to also be “go, go, go” on vacation too! Pause and make time for some sleep, downtime and nature that can help reduce stress hormones and restore your energy.
I hope you find these tips helpful to keep the foundation of your healthy lifestyle going while traveling, indulging mindfully, and making beautiful memories!
Richa Mittal MD
*Specific brands mentioned are not sponsored, just some of my personal recommendations.