Now that you’ve gotten where you’re going, it’s time to think about enjoying your vacation by treating yourself while balancing eating well and staying healthy. Depending on where you are and what activities you’re doing, food availability and timing of eating may be quite varied. In some European countries it is very common to have a light (if any) breakfast, and a larger meal at lunch. If you’re someone who counts on breakfast, it’s important to be prepared!
Your strategies for eating well and staying balanced will often depend where you’re staying.
If you’re staying with friends or family…
- Great! Chances are they have a fully equipped kitchen. Offer to pitch for groceries and choose foods that you know will help you make good choices.
- Suggest eating at (their) home two meals of each day, or at least packing a lunch if you know you’ll be out all day.
- Bring yourself some fresh foods to snack on like pre-cut veggies or fruits so that you don’t get too hungry throughout the day
If you have access to a kitchen…
- AirBNB is probably the best thing to happen to travel. You can get a place to yourself with a fully equipped kitchen, and you’re essentially good to go. Stock the kitchen and plan for at least 2 meals at home, or pack 1 meal if you’ll be out all day.
- If you don’t have a full kitchen but have access to some things (fridge, counter, utensils, etc.), focus on buying foods that require minimal preparation: Oats, yogurt, fruit and nut butters in the morning; and pre-cut veggies, fruit, canned tuna, cheese, yogurt, trail mix for snacks
If you don’t have access to a kitchen…
- Most hotels will provide a small fridge and you can at least take advantage of this. Buy individual yogurt cups, fruit and pre-cut veggies to keep in the fridge and pack for snacks.
- Grab some non-perishable snack foods as well like canned tuna or salmon, whole grain crackers, cereal, trail mix or unsalted nuts and nut butter.
When you do eat out…
- Part of travelling is experiencing new and exciting types of food and cuisine! It is definitely possible to include these experiences in your vacation.
- We suggest eating at home or packing food at least 1-2 meals per day, since this will help save money and make sure you enjoy the foods your vacation spot has to offer without overeating.
- At restaurants, keep in mind your normal portion sizes and the portion plate (½ vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ starches/carbohydrates). Even if your plate isn’t presented to you this way, you can adjust to make sure you’re eating ½ your meal from vegetables, ¼ from protein and ¼ from carbohydrates.
- At the buffet: Take a look at what’s on the buffet table before you grab your plate. You will probably see things you are dying to try and things you’re not too excited about. Make sure you leave room for things you are dying to try, and think about building your own portion plate as you move through the buffet.
Balance it out…
- If you have the opportunity, fit in some exercise at least every other day to maintain a balance between physical activity and the food you’re enjoying
- Walk as much as possible! Touring is all about walking around and exploring a new city, so take advantage of it – if you’re touring all day and walking from place to place, you’ll certainly have lots of steps and activity throughout the day to help balance out other treats.
Remember that vacation is about giving yourself a break – use these tips to stay as balanced as possible during your vacation, but remember that this is not an every day situation and it’s important to enjoy yourself, too!