One of the many depressing things about the end of a great vacation is the extra weight you bring home with you. I’m not talking about all of those ornamental souvenirs that seemed like a good idea at the time, or the t-shirt with the whacky slogan from your holiday on the Sunshine Coast. I’m talking about the several pounds gained from stuffing your face with exotic new foods, drinking pina coladas instead of water, and relaxing as though it’s an Olympic event.
Adopting a strict health regime while on vacation is outrageous and totally out of the question. Food, drinks, and chilling out max are what vacations are all about! However, there are some great damage control tips you could use to minimize the inevitable expanding of your waistline. None of them involve giving up the fun stuff.
In flight meal awareness
If your flight is longer than a couple of hours, you’ll likely be fed multiple meals on board. When booking your flights consider opting for a special meal, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian. They tend to be a lot healthier than the regular option and, let’s be real, none of it tastes great anyway, so you may as well cut the calories where possible.
Also consider whether you’re actually hungry before consuming your meal. Some airlines serve food so frequently that it’s not unusual to still be feeling full when that food cart comes around for the fourth time. Again, it’s not like you’d be turning down gourmet delights that would add any value to your vacation, so refuse your meal if you’re already satisfied.
Book a hotel or hostel with kitchen access
This is one of the best ways to not only minimize calorie overload, but to make sure you’re getting all of your nutrients. It’s so easy to feast on pizza, fries, and other foods with little to no vitamins or minerals. Having access to a kitchen means you can cook up your own healthy stir-fry with plenty of vegetables, or simply chop up a salad from time to time. It’s a great way to save money and it can also be a very fun and interesting experience buying produce from local food markets in other countries.
Be prepared for long journeys
If you’re taking a long bus or train ride during your vacation it’s best to be prepared with delicious and healthy snacks, rather than be stuck with the junk food options on board. Go to the supermarket before you have to board and stock up on things like macadamia nuts or almonds, fruit, natural yoghurt, or canned tuna or salmon. If you want to be extra prepared you could even hard boil some eggs, make a sandwich, or throw a salad together. Also remember to bring some water with you to stay hydrated.
Make use of the local language
If you’re travelling in a country where English is not the native language, it can be really helpful to learn a few phrases for those times when you’re ordering food. If you don’t want a mountain of rice, a tower of bread, or some other bulky and unnecessary side dish with your meal, learn how to say you don’t want it. Go one step further and ask if you can swap it for a salad instead. Yes, you could always order straight from the menu and try to ignore Rice Mountain, but we all know that you’ll probably end up eating it even if you didn’t want it in the first place. Other things to learn could be asking for hot drinks without sugar and milk, or other ingredients you’d rather not consume. If you’re gluten intolerant or would prefer to avoid gluten, learn to ask for things like burgers and burritos without the bun/tortilla.
Don’t be afraid to fast
While I’m not condoning starvation, if you do find yourself stuck with no options except junk food that you’d rather not eat, it’s not going to hurt to just wait it out for one or two hours until something better and healthier comes along.
Consider making some slight alterations
Nobody is suggesting you give up anything you love while you’re on your hard earned vacation, but it’s definitely worth considering some easy calorie-saving diet alterations if you think they’re not going to make much of a difference to your overall experience. For example, consider drinking black coffee instead of adding milk, eating burgers without the bun, or drinking your hard liquor without sugary mixers, such as Coke. Once again, if these options are not appealing, don’t do it! It’s just something to consider if you’re looking for some small changes.
Take any opportunity for fun exercise
Going for a run is not very appealing on a tropical island, but that doesn’t mean all physical activity is off the table. If you’re vacationing somewhere near a body of water, go for a swim, rent a kayak, try stand up paddle boarding, or simply enjoy a walk along the beach. For other kinds of destinations scenic hikes are always worthwhile and a great way to be immersed in nature. Don’t forget that other fun activities, such as shopping, sex, and hitting the dance floor to burn off some of those extra calories too.