Whether traveling to a different region of the U.S. or an exotic international location, one of the best things about going on vacation is the food. Traveling gives you the opportunity to try authentic regional-specific dishes, literally giving you the flavor of whatever destination you’re visiting.
That can pose a problem for those health-conscious travelers, however. With the abundance of edible temptations, how do you try new things while also maintaining your relatively healthy lifestyle?
Here are five tips that will help you ease the guilt when it comes to indulging while on vacation.
1. Splurge Responsibly
This guideline is one you likely implement at home, so why not take it on the road as well? It’s not the end of the world to treat yourself to an unhealthy meal or snack every once in a while, but the key is moderation. That doesn’t change on vacation.
That means planning ahead. Instead of throwing all of the rules out the window for the entirety of your trip, choose one meal or one day to splurge, when you can enjoy all of the delicacies your destination is known for.
Other rules of moderation apply here as well. Keep portion sizes sensible and limit unhealthy options such as deep fried food.
2. Scale Back on Drinking
If you’re on vacation, chances are you’ll want to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail from time to time. But if you’re looking to stay trim while on vacation, remember that many alcoholic beverages are high in calories.
You can approach this in a couple different ways. If you do plan to indulge in some guilty pleasures during a meal or two, limit your alcohol intake so as not to overdo it where calories concerned.
If you are determined to have some drinks, however, plan on going with lower-calorie options such as light beer, red or white wine or a liquor on the rocks. Avoid ultra-sugary drinks such as frozen margaritas and daiquiris.
3. Maintain You Sleep Schedule
It can be hard to do when you’re packing each day full of activities, but try to maintain a steady and healthy sleep schedule while on vacation.
It’s often an overlooked factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but a lack of sleep can interfere with your normal metabolism because it makes your body want and need more energy. That can result in feelings of extreme hunger, which can then lead to some questionable and unhealthy snacking choices.
It may seem impossible for night owls, but try to get as close to eight hours of sleep per night when possible.
4. Keep Yourself Hydrated
When on vacation and trying to enjoy food options without overdoing it, water is the traveler’s best friend. Make sure to maintain your daily water intake requirement, which will help alleviate cravings or feelings of hunger.
Remember that you may need a bit more water than you normally would. Vacations, particularly active ones, can dehydrate you more quickly than you’re used to, as can being in the sun more than you are normally.
Keep water on hand everywhere you go, including in your hotel room, your rental car or your backpack.
5. Try the Vacation Workout Game
Staying healthy while on vacation is a common challenge, so some enterprising minds created a game that can help.
The game consists of five rules. First, for every adult beverage you drink, do 10 push-ups (either before you drink or the next morning).
Second, for each unhealthy meal you eat, do 50 bodyweight squats. Third, whenever you see a low-hanging structure (and aren’t in an area where you’ll make a fool of yourself), do five quick pull-ups.
Rules four and five are about walking: Pretend that elevators don’t exist and always take the stairs. And if an attraction is within a mile, make the walk.
These rules can be altered, of course, but it’s all about staying active and keeping the body moving when you might be indulging a bit more than normal.
Heading out on vacation is supposed to be fun–that is the point, after all. So it can seem burdensome and counterintuitive to remain compulsive about being healthy.
Yet with some simple planning, discipline and self-control, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a guilt-free vacation while also trying plenty of new and unique foods.