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Your Nutrition Guide to Going on Vacation and Leaving the Guilt at Home

One of the biggest challenges for every dieter is to stick with a meal plan when out of his/her routine. If this is the case when little changes occur in our immediate environment, what happens when we go on vacation? We know that this is the time of year that many of our followers will face this challenge and we are here to help!

The first step to leaving your guilt at home when going on vacation, is to plan in advance. Whether you are traveling within the United States or going overseas, you might want to consider researching your destination’s cuisine and what will be available and of interest to you once you are there. Additionally, you can look up restaurants close to the location you are staying at and write down the names of a few that have options suitable to your needs. Knowing what to expect and having some ideas in advance will help you plan your meals, and provide you with places or foods you feel comfortable with in case you get “stuck”.
Next, you might consider bringing a few items with you. Again, this depends on your destination. I always find it useful to bring a few healthy snacks with me ”just in case”. These may come in handy if you have a full day planned or just want something small to tide you over until the next meal. Having a snack familiar to you from home not only provides comfort, but also helps you stay on track with your meal plan. Some items that are good to consider are pieces of fruit, granola bars, 100 calorie packs, pretzels, dry fruit, nuts etc. Pack in small Ziploc snack bags for convenience and portion control!

Start your travels on the right foot by remaining in control of your dietary intake on your travel day. This will help you set the tone for the whole trip. If you are flying, plan your meals and snacks accordingly so you don’t find yourself wandering around the airport eating junk food at fast food restaurants or buying unplanned sweets at Kiosks. The same is true if you are traveling by car. Make sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks for the road. Furthermore, plan your stops in advance so that you are not rushing to the closest rest stop regardless of what type of food they may have.
Once you are away remind yourself that you are on vacation and it’s okay to loosen up your meal plan a bit. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to do so. Keep the idea of balancing your intake in mind. Enjoy new foods and those that you might not eat on a regular basis, but cut back on something else. For example, if your plan for the day includes trying an entrée that you wouldn’t normally have at home, cut back on the dessert and consider ordering a salad instead of bread or a more caloric appetizer.

When it comes to table-service restaurants, customers are asking more and more to “have it their way”, according to a recent National Restaurant Association report. 80% of restaurants with meals averaging $25 or higher per person, and 70% of restaurants with meals averaging under $25 per person say that customers are interested in customized menu items now more than ever. As we encourage you to do at home, don’t be afraid to request changes to existing menu items to suit your needs, and give yourself credit for even the smallest changes you might make, regardless of whether they seem like “no big deal” to others.
It’s almost impossible to give up on specialty treats when on vacation. How do you do it? You don’t. Instead, allow yourself one goodie, and then opt for healthier options during the rest of the day. Or maximize the fact that many of us are more physically active when we are on vacation, and use this as a good balancing tool to stay on track.

Focus on your vacation and let food take the back seat. Let yourself be mindful of it but remember that this is your time to break away – so enjoy!