Yippee for holidays and tropical vacations! When you live in a cold climate it is so much fun to escape to a tropical paradise on the other side of the world! Or is it???
If you are in the midst of changing your eating habits and behaviours in order to achieve a particular goal, you may think that a vacation just isn’t in the cards until you’ve reached that goal. Why stop living life to the fullest just because you are on a journey to a healthier lifestyle? I’m sure by now you’ve realized that time does not stop and wait for you to achieve your goals. Life always seems to get in the way.
Rather than fret over how you will manage your food during your spectacular vacation, embrace the opportunity to be creative and try things you have never tried before.
I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how to manage your goals and use flexible dieting strategies while travelling and away on vacation.
Tip #1: Pack snacks and lots of them. I’m sure we’ve all been on that flight that gets delayed multiple times and all of a sudden we are forced to spend countless hours in an airport. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen anything fantastic in the way of options at airport food shops. There aren’t always on plan items available in airports and often times you will find food items that have been packaged and have been sitting out all day. So what do you bring with you? Good quality protein bars (something like Interactive Nutrition bars are always a great option because it has a decent serving of protein and carbohydrates in one bar). Nuts (like almonds and cashews) are also a great option and are allowed when travelling. Depending on where you’re travelling to, fruit that will easily last out of the fridge for a day or two is always a good choice (i.e. apples, plums, nectarines). Finally, you will often be able to find a decent salad with mixed greens and a standard protein option (like chicken breast) in most airport restaurants. Just ask for one with the dressing on the side so you can still get your greens while travelling.
Tip #2: Drink plenty of water! I know this means that you will have to frequent the washroom but it’s better than feeling dehydrated, swollen and cranky when you are travelling. With the rules about not bringing liquids more than 100mL through security, it just means that you will have to buy water when you’ve gone through security. Most, if not all airports (with the exception of places like Kenora) have a canteen, vending machine or other pop up shops that sell bottled water. What I do is bring my empty 1 litre refillable bottle with me so it’s easier for me to keep track of what I’m drinking. Depending on how much time I have before boarding, I will usually buy a few bottles and keep refilling my own water bottle. Unless you’re flying Bearskin Airlines, there is always a washroom on the plane and if you’re flying long haul flights, there’s usually at least 4 of them.
Tip #3: Do your research! Depending on where you’re travelling to and how long you will be there, you can easily research the types of restaurants and food shops that are available in the area. For example, there may be a nearby grocery store that you can shop at if you are staying somewhere that has a full kitchen. Or, you can review the restaurants that have a variety of foods available. Again, depending on how long you will be away, you can also research whether or not the place you are visiting has meal prep places (similar to JW Foods Meal Butler in Scarborough, Ontario). You can easily create a custom meal plan from the many options they have. For example, I am currently in Adelaide, Australia for another 4 weeks. Rather than spend my entire vacation cooking and meal prepping, I researched meal prep places and found several. I reviewed their options online and chose one that allowed me to create my own meals based on my calorie and macronutrient breakdown! It gets delivered right to my door, packaged and ready to heat up and eat! Score!
Tip #4: Know your stuff! If you are working on a certain caloric and macronutrient breakdown, know what that breakdown is and learn to identify what the three macronutrients are (protein, carbohydrates and fats). If you have been doing this for awhile, chances are you have become excellent at guesstimating what 90g of chicken is. Or if you don’t want to leave too much of it to fate, bring along a pocket or travel food scale. They are easy to get (on Amazon or at any kitchen store) and super easy to travel with! They will fit in your carry on, in your purse or some will even fit in your pocket! If I am going to use the pocket scale, I always make sure I can get my hands on a plastic cup or bowl that I can easily discard once I’ve weighed out my food. Again, that’s if I choose to weigh my food. The idea behind flexible dieting is to learn about what foods fall into what categories and to ensure that you control your portions. It’s very important to remember, that with this tip you may not be 100% on all the time and that’s perfectly okay! Always be cognizant of how much you are eating.
Tip #5: Do not overthink it! While it is important to have goals in life, it is equally important to enjoy life and all the wonderful things it has to offer. Do not obsess or overthink the choices you will make while away on vacation. The key is to choose responsibly, indulge a little and control the things you can. It’s one thing to have complete disregard for the foods and beverages you consume while on vacation. It’s another to be strategic and responsible with your choices. It’s really not that difficult.
So where are we travelling to next?