June 24, 2022

Summer vacation getaways present a perfect opportunity to get active and make healthy food choices as a family.

Summer is the perfect time to pack up the family and escape on a relaxing outing, leaving all your cares in the rearview mirror.  But before you zip up your luggage, make sure you’ve packed a healthy mindset!  Maintaining wellness on vacation won’t ruin your relaxation. If anything, it will boost it into high gear.  Whether you are road tripping by car or flying to destination paradise, consider the following tips to a healthier vacation.

Pack healthy snacks for your journey.

Planning is the key before you pull out of the driveway.  Packing healthful snacks is easy on the pocket book and will help you feel better while traveling. For day trips, fill a cooler with ice and stock it with string cheese, low-fat tuna salad, low-fat yogurt, fruit cups, carrots, celery and peanut butter, and 100 percent juice boxes.  Don’t be afraid to eat a picnic meal in the car. Also, keep a supply of whole-wheat crackers, freeze-dried vegetables, whole or dried fruit, raw almonds and granola bars. Each of these items can also be packed in your carry-on for those who are flying!

Navigate your road-trip stops.

If you find yourself needing to pull off the road to stretch and get a bite to eat, don’t feel obligated to stop at a fast-food joint.  Find a grocery store and purchase deli sandwiches on whole-wheat bread with lean meats. Choose deli salads that are not cream-based, such as broccoli salad. Complete the meal with fresh produce such as oranges, grapes, bananas, cherry tomatoes or carrots.

If you must stop at a drive-thru or sit-down restaurant, ask for the nutrition information handouts.  Typically chicken, fish and turkey that are baked, broiled or boiled are the healthiest options. Choose to load on extra vegetables and select low-fat condiments such as mustard or vinaigrettes. Avoid entrées with added bacon, ranch, mayo and cheese.

Don’t be afraid to put on your chef hat.

Whether you’re staying in a hotel or a condo with a full kitchen, take advantage of your resources and enjoy creating nutritious meals on your own! Visit the local market to buy fresh ingredients and create your own nutritious meal. Choosing to eat breakfast in your room each day is a healthful way to jumpstart your day. Don’t be discouraged if you are staying at a hotel that does not serve a continental breakfast.  If you have a coffee maker, you can make instant oatmeal from the hot water. Stir in dried fruit, nuts and milk and enjoy!

Indulge appropriately in vacation treats.

Vacation is a special time to enjoy your favorite foods and likely partake in some extra treats. Absolutely indulge in food delights, but do so with caution. Consider what an appropriate portion size would be for the food and limit yourself. Share entrées and desserts with your friends and family to reduce the temptation to eat the entire dish alone. Be mindful of the amount of alcohol you are consuming. Beer, wine and especially sugary drinks such as margaritas can contribute a lot of extra calories to your meal. If you plan on having a drink, consider eating a lighter meal to balance your calorie intake.

Engage in physical activity.

Family vacations present a perfect time to enjoy physical activity together without heading to the gym. Resist the temptation of sitting in your room all day watching movies. Get out and explore your location! Just a few examples of how you can have fun engaging in exercise together are window shopping, walking the pier, hiking, roller blading, tubing, playing sand volleyball or tennis, throwing a Frisbee or swimming.

Written by Melinda Jones & Meagan McCallum.