Tips for a Real Person that Loves to Enjoy Life!
By: Alison Lyon, Julie Benson, and Dr. Libby
Before You Dive In:
We all work hard, and we deserve to play hard. What happens when you’re done playing hard? When you return home? THAT is the hard part.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a three day vacation from our lives followed by three months of struggling to get back to our healthy lifestyle!
We’ve listed our top strategies to help you enjoy your vacation, and get back into your routine when once you return home.
Alison’s Tips for the Person Who Loves Hard Work, Fun, Adventure, and Indulgence
How to Eat Healthy on Vacation and BE Healthy on Vacation
Tip #1: Stay Physically Active
Stay physically active and you’ll find more motivation to stick to a (somewhat) healthy diet. I like incorporating physical activity into my vacation days w/ hikes, bike rides, water skiing, or whatever I can think of.
This strategy of keeping my body active encourages me to continue eating healthy, especially in the days/hours leading up to my adventure. Nothing feels worse than a long up-hill hike with a full and bloated stomach!
There is also that great feeling of accomplishment and additional endorphin boost when I complete my activity. Those natural feel good chemicals help keep me motivated to continue eating healthy on vacation and not completely sabotage my wellness lifestyle.
Tip #2: Take Notes on How You Enjoy Your Healthy Life
With that in mind, I also have to be mindful of how I feel (physically & emotionally) when I do stick to my healthy eating plan, and I write it down!
Personally, I feel far less bloated, I don’t experience water retention in my knees, ankles and feet, I don’t feel general all-over body aches, I can think clearer, and I’m far more confident. It’s amazing what healthy eating can do!
Being mindful of how healthy living feels motivates me to not go too overboard on my vacation indulgences, because one of the best parts of vacation is “feeling well”.
If I want to remember this vacation fondly, I’ll need to exercise a little restraint. But I guarantee that I will be indulging! (Vacations are meant for enjoyment, after all).
Tip #3: Plan Ahead:
I also try to plan ahead of time what I will be indulging in, and where I can reasonably steer clear of inflammatory foods. If I’m headed to a particular area that specializes in a specific cuisine, then I’ll be sure to allow myself a taste of that vacation spot’s finest fare.
However, I will typically not allow myself to indulge in treats that I could just as easily get at home (like a candy bar at the convenience store).
Let’s be honest, I can do a lot better than a measly candy bar. If I’m getting dessert it better be spectacular!
Ultimately I try to follow these rules:
- If we are taking a road trip I always bring along healthy snacks for the ride.
- I also generally plan to NOT eat anything with gluten for the whole trip. (There are a lot of great gluten free beers available. Wine is another great beverage option and there are almost always grain-free/gluten free lunches and dinners available at local restaurants.)
- I keep my breakfasts healthy and even sometimes fast in the morning with the help of a yummy Bulletproof Coffee. I pack my own ingredients and an immersion blender for this purpose. I also make sure to pack my ingredients for an Apple Cider Vinegar Detox drink to start my day off well.
- Lunches can include a delicious salad or the best healthy fare I can find. If possible, I pack raw veggies, nuts and seeds to tide me over until dinner.
- Dinner out is typically something I’d allow myself to indulge in, minus the gluten, of course. 🙂
Tip #4: Drink Plenty of Water
We all know it; our bodies are made up of nearly 70% water and we need at least half of our body weight in ounces to stay well hydrated. You may not stay away from enticing entrees, decadent desserts and copious cocktails, but you can hydrate!
Pack your glass water bottle with you on your trip! Help your body detox by giving it the water it needs to do so.
Tip #5: Plan Time to Relax: Vacations are Meant for Enjoyment!
Too often we try to squeeze in so many activities on our vacations that we completely exhaust ourselves. And let’s be honest again, the more we exhaust and tire ourselves out, the more likely we are to go overboard on the indulgences.
So, be careful not to overload your schedule. Make sure you schedule some time to do absolutely nothing, and just sit back and enjoy life! How about a day just lounging on the beach, or spending a lazy day enjoying all of the amenities at the boutique hotel where you are staying?
After all, that’s why vacations exist! Take advantage of this opportunity, because when you return home you’ll need to feel rested and rejuvenated in order to re-enter your typical routine successfully.
If you need extra help re-entering your routine, try a juice cleanse with these
Top 10 Juice Cleanse Recipes. Click the purple box to download now!
Tip #6: Re-enter “The Real World” Gradually
This leads to the final healthy living vacation success strategy. Let me be real, returning home from a vacation is by far the time I feel the LEAST motivated to eat healthy. As fun as vacations are, they usually end up making me feel exhausted!
There is nothing more satisfying than coming back to the comforts of home…and a full kitchen with grocery stores within 5 minutes (should there be nothing to eat).
What do we do in these situations where our motivation and willpower are at an all-time low and we failed to truly stick to our “relaxed” plan?
I suggest allowing yourself time to unwind at home, and be willing to forgive yourself for any minor discrepancies. Understand that it will take a moderate amount of effort to re-orient yourself to life back in the fast lane, but also don’t be too hard on yourself!
Don’t try to implement an overly strict healthy living plan that will ultimately backfire because you haven’t given yourself time to adjust. Also, consider actively acknowledging that there will be times that it’ll feel better to slip into bad habits.
Then set small, manageable goals to move in the right direction and write them down. Some of these small goals could include making sure you drink plenty of water, starting the day off right with your morning routine, and ensuring you get plenty of sleep your first night back.
This way you can be mentally prepared to implement efforts that will get you fully back to your pre-vacation lifestyle within a few short days, and ultimately help you once again enjoy your healthy life.
Alison’s Bonus Tip:
When I was I kid I can remember that the main thing I looked forward to on vacation was all of the junk food I would get to eat. My enjoyment (and my life) revolved way too much around food.
That unhealthy mindset still rears its ugly head when I vacation (or even encounter a weekend).
Solution? Begin the process of changing your mindset and what to expect while on vacation. How about focusing more on building/strengthening relationships? Experiencing the new surroundings to the fullest? Trying a new activity?
It will be hard at first, but writing down & affirming these new mindsets, visualizing them, and being consistent w/ their implementation will eventually change bad vacation habits. You’ll soon vacation healthy without even batting an eyelash.
Julie’s Tips on How to Eat Healthy on Vacation-For Kiddos And The Occasional Difficult Spouse 😉
Tip #1: Your Cooler Is Your Lifeline
Healthy Snacks to Take on Vacation
Most kids don’t love long car rides, or plane rides for that matter. Boredom can set in, and the hunger bug strikes.
So I make sure to set us up for success! Take a look at the list of what I love to pack on vacation.
Healthy Snacks to Take on Vacation:
- fruits and vegetables
- homemade dips
- organic nitrate free lunch meat
- organic string cheese
- grain free muffins
- gluten and grain free bars like larabars or homemade versions
- shelf stable unsweetened cashew milk or coconut milk
- nuts, and seeds
Tip #2: Stay in Hotels with a Refrigerator
When you get in town, stock up on healthy items at a local grocery store. Sometimes you won’t be able to find grass fed or free range meats, or organic produce. That’s ok! Just do what you can to continue eating healthy on vacation.
Pick up the healthiest meat choices available, fresh produce, clean water, and a few of your favorite quick snacks like string cheese, cashews, or trail mix.
Tip #3: What is Your Family’s Favorite Indulgence?
Does your family LOVE ice cream? Do their eyes light up at breakfast joints? Whatever it is, as the saying goes, TREAT YOURSELF!
Try to pick local places that use quality ingredients, as opposed to some chains that may use cheaper ingredients. And be sure to enjoy your vacation and especially enjoy your time together.
Keep in mind, some parents find that their kiddos have behavioral issues when they stray too far from their healthy nutrition plan. Food additives, food colorings, and high fructose corn syrup can cause a very noticeable change in behavior² once they have been out of your children’s diet for awhile.
If you find that is the case, swap this step for a family activity that your children love, but don’t normally get to do. Stay up past their bedtime? Receive an allowance to spend at a local gift store? Pick the location of the family outing that day? Try a few things and see what works best for you.
Tip #4: Look Up Local Restaurants Before You Travel
Take a few minutes to research some of the restaurant and activity options near your destination. View some of their online menus and read through a few reviews so you have options when you get in town.
It is always fun to show up and go with the flow, but having a few resources in your back pocket never hurts!
Tip #5: Helping Your Kiddos Adjust to Returning Home
Before you leave for vacation, make sure you have enough food at home for one meal to make the transition easier. Keep a couple of bags of frozen vegetables, sweet potato fries, and organic beef hot dogs in your freezer so when you get home you aren’t scrambling to feed a hungry family.
Plan your meals for the next week to be some of their favorite healthy options to keep them from feeling deprived. Let each child pick a healthy meal of their choice that week, and help you grocery shop. Getting them hands-on in returning to their healthy habits will make the transition much easier.
Libby’s Bonus Tip:
The best way to keep your mindset in check is to do you mini-morning routine while on vacation. Take 15 minutes to do something you usually do in your daily morning routine; five minutes of prayer, five minutes of yoga, make your morning smoothie or bulletproof coffee, fill out your happiness journal (download below!) or daily devotional.
Remember, when you start your day off healthy and happy, the rest of your day is healthy and happy! You can still indulge on vacation, but know you’ve made the CHOICE to do so, and enjoy yourself.
Libby’s Mini-Morning Routine:
I fill out my happiness journal (click below to download), do five minutes of sun salutations, make time with God outside, and have an apple cider vinegar drink. I love how I feel after my morning routine! Happy, healthy, and ready to enjoy life!
Why don’t you try implementing one or two of these strategies and then let us know which one works best for you!
- Richter, Brian. “Walking Water: H20 and the Human Body” nationalgeographic.com. March 2012. http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/06/human-body-water/
- Fox, M. (2007, September 05). Food additives linked to hyperactivity in kids. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2007/09/06/2025678.htm