It’s that time of year when many of us are taking vacations, experiencing a change in routine and re-energizing ourselves. Taking time away from the every day to see new things, regardless of where you go or what you do, is a great way to bring new perspectives and ideas into your life.
For my vacations, I love to do or see something new, have fun and indulge, but still feel healthy when I get home. I love coming home feeling de-stressed and ready to get back at it, rather than feeling tired, bloated and needing a vacation from my vacation!
Here are some great ways to maintain your health while you’re away so that you can get the most from your vacation.
Before you go. Eating healthy is something that we strive for every day, but away from our regular kitchen, we sometimes need to get creative. One thing to decide before you go is what your “bright line rules” are going to be. In other words, what foods are you going to avoid completely, and which ones will you let slide a little? Making this decision ahead of time makes things much easier when you are looking at that restaurant menu.
Stay hydrated!! Many of us don’t drink enough water day-to-day, but on a flight, this is even more important. Bring your own water bottle so that you can keep it with you to stay hydrated each day.
Snacks. There is always the opportunity to bring some healthy snacks with you on the road, as well as having them with you at your destination. Either prepare them before you go or visit a local grocery store and stock up when you arrive. Booking accommodation that includes a kitchenette (or at least a mini fridge) will provide you with the opportunity to have healthy alternatives. Snacks that travel well are:
- Veggies and dip
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbal teas
- Energy balls
Restaurant meals. I have talked about tips for eating out at a restaurant in a prior post (click here). My standard recommendation for eating out is to focus your entrée on protein and lots of non-starchy vegetables, and indulge by choosing only ONE of:
- Refined starch – bread, white rice, white potato or pasta etc.
- Sweet dessert
When you are away, you are often not in control of all the ingredients you will be consuming. Sometimes, this leads to negative symptoms such as an upset stomach, bloating or heartburn. I have discussed tips for reducing heartburn here. In addition to these tips, having a couple of supplements handy can be a real help:
- Digestive enzymes – take these with you to a restaurant to help you break down difficult-to-digest proteins and sugars.
- Probiotics – Keeping a healthy gut is key to efficient digestion, and supplementing with some probiotics will help us maintain the right balance to support our immune system, sleep, and weight management.
Building exercise into your holiday activities has many benefits such as extending life, reducing the risk of chronic disease and supporting brain function. Many times our sightseeing trips can include a lot of walking, which is a great form of exercise. Don’t underestimate the benefits of “non-exercise” movement to get in your daily exercise quota! Other great options are to build in some hiking or biking into your trip, take advantage of a hotel exercise room, or bring along some yoga or High-Intensity Interval Training videos you can do in your hotel room.
Finally, getting adequate sleep is key to maintaining your health while you are away. Staying out late and celebrating is definitely fun while on vacation, but you should be including enough “fun” time into your daily life so that you don’t have to “go off the rails” when away from routine! Here are a few tips to help you get a solid slumber:
- Limit refined sugars
- No caffeine after noon
- Limit alcohol consumption right before bed
- Decrease blue light 1 hour before bed
- Take an Epsom salt bath 1 hour before bed
- Sleep in complete darkness
“I believe that when we are empowered to take control of our health, we find the help we need to feel our best.” – Bonnie Flemington MBA, CNP