Smart eating strategies to take on vacation

Brooke Lark | Unsplash

Meal and snack suggestions to help your body and mind when you’re away from home.

It’s spring break for my kids and so many of our friends are on trips. We are stuck in boring old Southern California with nothing to do. That’s a joke. There’s a million things we can do to have fun in the sun, but we aren’t going anywhere as of now and my kids are looking at us with cross eyes! It’s got me thinking, though, about all of you who want to stick to healthy eating while you’re away on vacation—whether it’s spring, summer or anytime you travel.

Crazy enough, this even happens to me, a nutritionist. One of the beauties of the school schedule is that we keep to the structure, and that includes eating. Get off schedule and the whole healthy eating-every-3-to-4-hours habit and our meal planning goes out the window.

Don’t take the whole week off from your healthy eating plan. The key to staying on a good eating track while on vacation is having quick grab-and-go options that will act as a meal until you can actually sit down to lunch or dinner.

Work around your plan the best you can. Some of the most important things to remember, especially on vacation: drink plenty of water or even more than usual, add a multi-vitamin to your week, take probiotics with you to help boost your immune system, pair your pool-side drinks with some nuts or another easy protein, and try to eat fresh fruit and veggies with every meal and snack.

Now for the eating part, which doesn’t have to be complicated:


Eat two eggs, a piece of sprouted grain toast and some fresh fruit. And if you’re on vacation a couple pieces of bacon would be okay too!


Snack 1

Handful of dry roasted or raw nuts with an apple or pear. Or a protein bar and handful of grapes or half an apple.


Choose a healthy option at the pool or restaurant or throw together a quick salad or sandwich. More on healthy restaurant choices below.


Snack 2

Raw veggies and whole wheat pita bread and hummus. Or any of the above options.


Grill a lean protein, and serve a side of roasted or grilled veggies and salad with a grilled ear of corn. Or see suggestions for dining out healthy below …


As for eating out, don’t be afraid of being high maintenance. Ask questions about the menu if you are unsure of how an item is prepared, what comes in a dish, or what’s been added (seasonings, sauces, toppings). Restaurants are known to add more than normal amounts of fat, salt, and sugar to dishes to make them taste good. Make sure to ask for no butter, hold the salt, and have dressings served on the side.

Don’t worry about what others think of how or what you order. For a waiter, special orders are commonplace. As for your friends and family, don’t be embarrassed about making healthy choices. Who knows, they might admire the dedication you have to your healthy lifestyle and it might even inspire them order the same thing!

Practice portion control. Restaurants are notorious for double and even quadruple portion sizes. Take advantage of this and split your order. Ask your server to bring a take-out box out with your food (or box half before bringing it out).

Don’t forget to tip well! I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate out and just ordered something straight off the menu without any of my compliance adjustments. You can do this. Your body and mind will thank you!

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