We recently got back from our first family vacation. It was wonderful. Not only was it our first time traveling with our baby girl but it was also my first time vacationing in the winter and let me say that I finally understand what the fuss is about! It sure feels great to get a break from the cold Canadian weather, rebuild your vitamin-D stores, disconnect with the busy world and reconnect with yourself.
I also believe it’s very important to have a healthy lifestyle plan that you can follow wherever you are, so that you feel your best when you’re out making memories and enjoying life when it counts the most. So today I’m sharing my recommendations to have a healthy vacation.
My tips for a healthy vacation
If you’re overcome with stress and anxiety at the thought of going on vacation because it may derail you or make you lose all your progress, take a breath and chill.
Don’t try to lose weight on vacation. Dieting on vacation is not a vacation (or ever is, really). On the other hand, don’t assume you’ll automatically put on 10lbs once you board the plane. First, because it’s just not true and second because that mindset will only drive you to give all your good habits a two-week holiday just so you can prove yourself right.
You’re on vacation. Take weight out of the equation. Get rid of the pressure and focus instead on rest, relaxation and reconnecting with yourself. Because that is what healthy looks like. Besides, you would be surprised how much progress you can make and how much more easily your body will find balance when you aren’t under stress. Try it.
Pick your passion
Back home, we encourage clients to build mindful indulgences in their menu about once or twice per week.
But since food is one of the most exciting things about travel (in my opinion anyway) with new restaurants, new ingredients and new cuisines to try, we know you’re bound to run into treat opportunities on the daily (hello gelato!). So when you’re away, our guideline is that you indulge yourself every day, but to choose one passion. That means every day, choose one thing you really want, enjoy it and move on. No guilt and all pleasure. Make the rest of your meals that day balanced and drink plenty of water.
In Paris? Then by all means, hunt down the best chocolatine for your breakfast and savour it. Then opt for a fresh salade niçoise for lunch to get your dose of healthy fat, protein and veggies. At a wine tasting all afternoon? Enjoy! Let’s rehydrate afterwards with water instead of cocktails at dinner.
When you arrive at your destination and are unfamiliar with the area, hungry and tired, it’s easy to fall prey to decision fatigue and jump on the first option you see. Problem is, this meal usually ends up being disappointing, expensive and unhealthy (looking at you room service menus). This is why I recommend doing some health hunting ahead of time.
Look up restaurants in the area, markets and grocery stores, take a look at their menus for balanced options and maybe some places that deliver, just in case you get in late. Don’t be shy to pile the vegetables onto your order, since this is usually the most difficult thing to eat enough of when you’re away. I systematically ask for an extra side of vegetables in addition to the ones in my meal.
Cook from “home”
Home cooked meals are by far one of the best ways to keep your body fuelled with nourishing ingredients and have a healthy getaway. So if it’s possible, try booking a room with a kitchenette or in the least a small fridge so you can stock a few staples.
We rented a condo on our trip with a fully equipped kitchen, so were able to cook most days. We love trying new restaurants and definitely had our share but it’s also fun to eat in, especially when you can take your time in the kitchen and enjoy the process. Snooping around grocery stores and markets is another one of my all-time favourite activities while travelling since it’s the best way to immerse yourself in your new destination and discover new foods or products.
Having healthy snack options on hand is always smart, whether your flight gets delayed or you stay on the beach a few hours longer than planned. Some of my go-tos that you can find in any grocery store or airport include:
- Protein or energy bars
- Trail mix
- Fresh fruit
- Crudite and hummus
- Hard-boiled eggs
Staying at an all-inclusive? Take some pieces of no-mess fresh fruit from the breakfast buffet (bananas, apples) or anything else portable and bring it along with you to the beach since there are rarely any snack options between buffet hours.
Move your body
I love exercising on vacation and find it even easier to do then back home. If you’re thinking “I’m not exercising on vacation!”, then hear me out. I’m not saying “work out”, I’m saying move your body in a way that feels good and because you want to, not because you have to. The added benefit of moving on vacation is that it may give you insight into the form of exercise you’re most likely to stick to back home.
For instance, there was a gym in my building, but to be honest, it just wasn’t my thing. Instead, I got myself a 1-week pass at a pilates studio across the street from where we were staying. During the course of our stay, I took part in three classes and it felt great.
Here are some other ideas depending on where you’re vacationing:
- Staying at an all-inclusive? Check out the group classes offered on the resort and do something fun. Enjoy a salsa class on the beach (my favourite) or some early morning yoga.
- At a remote destination? Look up hiking trails in the area and get your heart-rate up while you soak-in the scenery.
- Staying at a condo in an urban area? Look for studios with classes you’d like to try and get a 1-week pass. Whether it be a spinning, boxing, barre or pilates studio, try something new and have fun.
Have something ready in the freezer for your return
As an added tip, you may want to think about preparing a ready-to-eat meal in the freezer before you leave, so that it’s ready for you when you get home, tried from travel. Make sure it’s a full meal including veggies, fibre and protein since you will come home to an empty fridge and have nothing to add as a side. Soups, chilis and stews are great options.
Now I want to hear from you in the comments below:
Question: What do you struggle with the most when you’re away? Let me know below!