Vacation is a time to kick back and relax. For me, the goal is to rejuvenate in mind, body and spirit. The “body” party, however, is challenging while I’m away from home. How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have access to your kitchen or your favorite grocery store?


If you’re like me, having a diet doesn’t always mean you are eating healthy all the time in your normal life. Your diet is what you make it. Perhaps you want to eat under a certain amount of calories a day. Or maybe you have a rule to eat out once a week. But how the heck are you supposed to maintain that if you’re stuck in airports, and the only food for purchase near your hotel is a gas station convenience store?


It may seem difficult while traveling to eat the same as you do at home. There are so many places you haven’t tried, and it could be the only opportunity to eat there. If it is not normal for you to eat three full meals a day, don’t stuff yourself breakfast, lunch, and dinner just because you want to try everything and feel like you do not have time to visit everywhere. It helps to research where you will be staying in advance. Check review websites to see the best restaurants that locals enjoy and schedule your time to visit. It will also give you a chance to look over the menu and plan what meals you will be having throughout the day. 


If there is a large plate on the menu that you are dying to try, maybe have a smaller breakfast or lunch that day. (My wife and I have learned to split one entree and perhaps a side salad. We never go hungry.) If you want to try multiple meals at a restaurant, see if they have small plate options for those particular dishes. If you are traveling with a friend, split your meals, so you are trying more than one thing. You shouldn’t indulge in every meal you have on vacation. It is okay to indulge every once in a while, just like you would at home, but not for every single meal. 


Packing your snacks that you would have at home also helps you stick to your diet. You are less likely to go out and buy something that isn’t normally in your diet when you are at your destination. I like to pack a bag of bulk walnuts and a few apples. This helps me avoid those greasy boardwalk fries or fried foods. Healthy snacks (plus drinking plenty of water) can help curb your hunger and not only keep you on track but also helps you avoid spending money during your trip.


Be conscious of what you are ordering at restaurants. If you are getting a burger, substitute the fries for a salad or vegetables. Look for the lighter fare menu and make your decisions based off of it instead of the full menu. Determine if your order is balanced with protein, vegetables, and fats. I try to avoid empty carbs (like bread, french fries, candy). This tends to go out the window if I’m driving at night and trying to stay awake, however. If you begin to eat more than what you normally do in an everyday setting, your body will start to become sluggish and fatigued. Who wants to feel tired and uncomfortable during a vacation? So why not prevent it and stick to your daily dietary habits.