Research shows that most people gain weight over the holidays. Vacations aren’t far behind with that throw-dietary-caution-to-the-wind-and-indulge mentality. It can be tough to stay healthy when traveling.
Whether you’re taking a two-week Maui vacation or a multi-city European tour, traveling often means indulgences including decadent desserts and perhaps strong cocktails while avoiding your normal daily routine like going to the gym.
You’re likely aware of the aftermath. You return home and your slim-fitting jeans aren’t so slim, getting back into your workout routine feels like torture, and those cookies you brought back from that amazing Italian bakery are screaming your name in the cupboard around 11 p.m.
The key to prevent those dietary and overall-health disasters while you’re on vacation is to plan ahead. You don’t need to be overly regimented or deny yourself simple pleasures, but you also shouldn’t take a let-it-all-go perspective during your vacation.
“Health-related vacation outcome is significantly affected by the way an individual organizes his or her vacation,” researchers succinctly concluded in one study. You diligently plan every outfit you’ll wear on vacation — doesn’t your health deserve the same degree of attention?
“One reason most people don’t succeed in eating well is that they don’t plan their food day,” says Mark Hyman, MD, in Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?. “They plan their vacations, they plan their kitchen redesigns, but they don’t think ahead about what they’ll eat—and that’s a recipe for nutritional disaster.”
From the time you step outside your home and begin your vacation, you confront countless obstacles that jeopardize your health. In airports, you’ll find all sorts of sugary, processed foods at gift shops and kiosks. If you do find a semi-healthy restaurant, you’ll spend a small fortune.
Planes present their own obstacles. Poor cabin air quality, unhealthy food choices (if you even get those options in-flight), jet lag and other sleep disorders, and becoming dehydrated are just some of the issues you may encounter while traveling to your vacation destination.
Those repercussions add up. One study found dehydration during long-distance flights can create skin tightness and itchiness.
Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of healthy options that leave you feeling invigorated and energetic during your vacation.
Healthy Eating Tips When You TravelTraveling often times means choosing unfamiliar restaurants that might have less-than-stellar food choices. You’re on vacation and you’ll probably want to sample your visiting region’s food. If you’re in Barcelona, you’ll probably want to try paella and maybe a glass of sangria.
The occasional splurge is fine. Eating healthy on vacation means you can occasionally let down your guard. Mostly, though, stick with a healthy food routine when traveling with these strategies.
Making Your Vacation Healthy Goes Beyond FoodStaying healthy during vacation goes beyond just what you eat. Shifting into relax mode might initially feel challenging, but one massive perk of traveling is to escape day-to-day life and minimize stress.
Yes, some trips can be stressful, such as visiting a country that doesn’t speak your native language or unfamiliar territory. But that’s also a good kind of stress that helps you grow and better understand the world around you.
Fully experiencing those moments that will create (hopefully) wonderful memories demands being fully present and feeling your best while you’re on vacation. These five strategies can optimize your experience and leave you feeling your best self during vacation.
You can also use many of these strategies to transition back into real life. (Although sorry, we can’t reduce the number of emails in your inbox when you return!) Wherever you vacation this summer — and however you vacation, whether that means a deserted island or a bustling international city — have a happy, safe, enjoyable time!
Chiropractor @Main Health Solutions Meridian
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