How to Eat Healthy and Still Have Fun on Vacation
Don't feel like you have to stick to the same old boring workout video you've been doing for the last month. I like to develop special vacation workouts that are different than anything I could do at home. For instance, on a recent trip with my family, the driveway to the hotel was long and winding, with quarter-mile uphill stretch along a cliff overlooking a beautiful lake. Family members and I developed a special run that made the most of this natural beauty and exhausting terrain, which transformed the workout into another way to explore the area.
Granted, I was very excited to return to flat ground at the end of our stay, but it was definitely a memorable and unique workout I could only have experienced on that particular holiday. Whether it's a rock climb, hike, mile-long swim or outdoor yoga, almost every destination holds a unique opportunity to work out in a way that doesn't feel anything like the elliptical at home.
2. Eat Off the Land
Whenever you're traveling somewhere with beautiful, fresh produce, try sticking to "real" foods that haven't been overly processed or slathered in sauce. Not only will these whole foods be some of the freshest and most vibrant flavors around, they will help you to crowd out some of the less healthy alternatives. In the United States and Western Europe, it's usually safe to eat fruits and veggies raw, though it's still a good idea to wash them first. If you're headed somewhere where hygiene or food poisoning might be an issue, make sure you're eating cooked or peeled produce only.
3. Get Cultured
Eat plenty of yogurt while on vacation. This will ensure you have a healthy balance of intestinal flora to help fend off invading bacteria from the food or environment in a new place. Also, yogurt is a great source of protein and, with a little bit if fat, it will help you stave off hunger pangs as a midmorning or afternoon snack. It's also really interesting to taste the difference in dairy products around the world, based on how the cows are raised. In the United States, for instance, factory-farmed, corn-fed cows create dairy products with a pretty bland taste all around, whereas European pasture-grazing cattle provide for really rich and creamy dairy.
4. Sample the Local Flavor
I try to eat a primarily vegetarian diet while at home, but when I head out of town, I make sure to sample at least a small bite of all the local specialties—like alligator carpaccio in South Africa, which was totally foul but so worth trying. Often, these unique textures and flavors help color my travel memories better than anything else. If you decide to switch your vacation diet to primarily local foods, chances are you'll eat smaller portions and won't be tempted by something you could have at home, like ice cream or cake.
5. Fiber Up!
Do you routinely experience "traveler's constipation"? It's probably a result of too little fiber and water intake. Additionally, when you're in unfamiliar territory and your body doesn't know whether it will have a chance to pass a bowel movement in safety—good old evolutionary protection mechanisms—it will try to hold it in. To make sure everything flows smoothly, travel with fiber supplements and to be sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day (for instance, a 140-pound woman should drink 70 ounces of water). Once your body has a chance to relax and settle in, things should regulate on their own too.