Healthy Eating While on Vacation

a mom and her daughter standing in front of a cruise ship

Going on vacation is an exciting time! It is a time to relax and enjoy your time off. However, the change in your routine can affect your eating habits so it’s important to plan ahead. Follow these tips while on vacation to keep you on track with healthy eating!    

Healthy eating at the resort

Check the restaurant menus

  • If you are travelling to a different country, look up the types of foods that are traditionally served.
  • Try to fill your plate with mostly vegetables with small servings of meat and starches like pasta and rice.
  • Many resorts have buffet food stations where food can be cooked to your liking. Ask for a stir-fry with lots of vegetables served with a tomato or garlic/olive oil sauce.
  • Look for foods that are baked, grilled or steamed rather than fried or deep fried.
  • Look for dishes that use interesting whole grains such as quinoa, barley, bulgur or brown rice.
  • Enjoy fresh fruit for dessert. If you are travelling to an exotic location, try the local, seasonal fresh fruit such as mangoes, jackfruit, papayas and pineapples. Treat yourself to a sweet dessert only once in a while, or split dessert with a friend or two.

Try different options

  • If your room has a mini fridge, pick up some fresh fruit and low fat milk or fortified soy beverage at the local grocery store. Pack whole grain, high fibre cereal and a few re-usable cups, bowls and spoons. Now you have the ingredients for a fast and healthy breakfast.
  • Buy extra groceries to make your own meals if your room has a stove, fridge or microwave.   

Go easy on the drinks

  • The calories in alcohol and beverages can add up quickly. The new Canadian alcohol drinking guidelines advise: no more than 2 drinks per day five times a week for women; and no more than 3 drinks per day five times a week for men.
  • For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink. Remember that water is the best thirst quencher and it’s calorie-free!

Healthy eating on the road 

Pack healthy lunches and snacks

  • Keep a snack bag or cooler (with ice packs) handy with fresh fruit, pre-cut vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, trail mix, sandwiches, low fat granola bars and whole grain crackers with low fat cheese. You will save time and money!
  • Pack along some of these foods too if you are travelling by bus, plane or train.

Choose wisely

  • Plan your route. Find out which restaurants you will pass along your road trip. Check out their menus ahead of time if possible so that you know which choices are lower in fat, sodium and calories.
  • Portion sizes can be very large at restaurants. Stick to smaller servings and skip the extra cheese, gravy or sauces. Smaller servings mean less fat and fewer calories too.
  • Pick menu items that are grilled or baked instead of fried or deep fried. Ask for more vegetables and try to choose the healthier choices for your kids too.
  • Quench your thirst with water, low fat milk or a small serving (125 mL or ½ cup) of 100% fruit juice instead of soda pop or lemonade.

Healthy eating at the cottage 

BBQ something different

  • Try grilling salmon, pork kabobs or marinated tofu on the BBQ.
  • Give chicken breast or turkey burgers a try.
  • Grilled red peppers, zucchini, eggplant, peaches and pineapple all taste wonderful too.

Have a green salad every day

  • Simply toss your favourite greens with leftover ingredients you have on hand. For a savoury salad, add leftover grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, or even a can of lower sodium beans (rinse and drain them first to wash away some of the sodium).
  • For a sweet tasting salad, add leftover fruits such as peaches, berries, apples and plums. Add a splash of low fat salad dressing or make your own with oil, flavoured vinegars, herbs or spices.

Enjoy the season’s harvest

  • Summer is the time to load up on fresh, seasonal produce like berries, peaches, plums and corn on the cob. Look for recipes that use these delicious foods and snack on them often. 

Quench your thirst wisely

  • The calories in alcohol and beverages can add up quickly. Keep a jug of cold water in the fridge. For extra flavour, add fresh berries or slices of orange, lemon, lime or cucumber.   
  • On a hot summer’s day, make your own popsicles with 100% fruit juice. Try low fat vanilla yogurt instead of ice cream. Or drizzle melted dark chocolate over a frozen banana for a fun dessert.

Bottom line

Going on vacation is a great time to enjoy a relaxing time with friends and family. Staying on track with healthy eating is easy when you plan ahead and choose wisely.

You may also be interested in:

Ten Tips for Eating Out

You Can Ask…For Smaller Portions

You Can Ask…For Healthy Foods for Your Kids

More Than Just Ice Cream…The Frozen Treats of Summer


Last Update – May 10, 2018

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