How to eat well while traveling, Part 2

I’m usually pretty good at this but recently I fell apart.

It was crazy at my house for a few weeks in a row as we scrambled to get our house ready to be put on the market. The stress in my home was palpable and the to-do lists were endless between work, home, and kids. Our comforting routine was all out of sorts, which left me floundering.

Luckily, all the hard work paid off and the house was under contract before we knew it! That meant when we were away in Florida for vacation, we didn’t even need to worry about dealing with an open house or incoming offers. What a relief!

Bring on the relaxation

Warm weather, family time, and a blank to-do list had me feeling like….awhhhhhhh. I think I relaxed a little too much because, toward the end of the vacation, I wasn’t feeling too stellar. My diet was off track, my sleep was lacking (my kids always have a hard time sleeping in new places) and my physical activity level was embarrassing. I fell apart.

I knew I didn’t have to make it up, just make it back on track. On the way home from Florida I reflected on the lessons I learned and the expertise I could share with those who’ve been in a similar scenario or want to avoid getting thrown off track completely while away. This builds on the wisdom Lucy shared in part one about being picky and sticking to what works well for you.

Fun foods are fun, but only if they don’t stop the fun for YOU.

I reminded myself of what we remind the tribe all the time. Your diet doesn’t need to be perfect.  Annnnd there is a little more room (in my book) for fun foods while on vacation, because, well, it’s vacation! However, it doesn’t serve you to have so many fun foods that you feel terrible or wreck your goals. It can be a slippery slope here and only you can decide what feels like enough. Tapping into your intuitive eating skills can come in handy here.

I’ll give you an example. I went out to eat one night in Florida and I wanted to enjoy a cocktail. So I did. Unfortunately, cocktails can include a lot of juice or flavored syrups that make me feel sick. The one I ordered was delicious and fruity – but definitely loaded with sugar. That night when we got back to the house, I was offered another sugary adult beverage. It sounded fun at the time but I declined. I knew that it might be enjoyable for a little bit but not for long. The next day I’d likely have a headache and an upset stomach. That’s no good when you are headed to the beach!

Your body will usually tell you when you are overdoing it.

Sometimes we don’t end up saying no to that second drink or the dessert. That’s okay. Nothing to beat yourself up about, it happens. If your body responds in uncomfortable ways like feeling bloated, having indigestion, or not being able to sleep well, for example, don’t ignore those symptoms. Take those into consideration next time.

I know a few people who just push through those things and completely zone out from their body’s cues. Ignoring these signals can lead to health problems, weight gain and throwing off our well-being. Go ahead and tune in, take note, and know where to draw the line next time.

Veggies, veggies, and more veggies.

You know we love veggies at Well Balanced Nutrition and this will likely come to no surprise when I say…. you’ve got to find a way to fit in those veggies when on vacation. It is often the missing link!

Veggies give us fiber, water, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Without enough veggies you can be left with constipation and/or a big dose of excess calories. So here is all the ways I made vegetables a priority:

  1. We had some greens in the refrigerator that we took with us in a cooler so they wouldn’t go to waste while we were gone. When we stopped at Chick-fil-A, I carried in my stash of arugula and paired a small order of nuggets with it. Sorry, not sorry! It was the light and yummy meal I needed to get me through the car trip.
  2. Once we were there, my husband picked up a veggie tray from the grocery store. It was a simple way to make sure we had veggies that were easy to incorporate. Raw veggies and dip can be a great snack or round out lunch.
  3. Make an egg casserole for breakfast. I love egg dishes because you can make them ahead and sneak veggies in at breakfast. We made this breakfast casserole and even my dad who doesn’t dig most veggies, enjoyed it.
  4. Get an order of veggies on the side. I splurged on a pasta dish that was creamy and indulgent one night. From my experience, even when the description lists an array of vegetables in the dish, the ratio of pasta to veggies is sad. So I asked for a side of steamed veggies that I tossed into my pasta to bulk it up with veggies.
  5. If veggies are just really hard to find or get, focus on fiber-rich fruits like pears, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Make it back!

Vacations are awesome! If you come back from a vacation feeling worse than when you left, maybe it’s time to visit some of your habits while away. Being an intuitive eater, splurging in a smart way and fitting in those veggies, may help you come back refreshed and balanced.

How about you?

Do you remember a time when vacation got the best of you?

What tricks do you use to stay balanced while away?

Share in the comments below!

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Posted in Wellness Wednesday.

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