Vacation Planning: How to Not Lose Sight of Your Health Goals


It’s summer! Yay! The weather is beautiful (up until we hit the blazing heat of summer here in Albuquerque), the sun is shining, and it’s the time to be outside! This is also the time of year for vacations. Vacations can be tricky when you are trying to make changes within your diet in order to improve your health. Changes in your surrounding environment are going to make your day-to-day routine different and, as a result, it can be more difficult to keep your health goals at the top of the priority list.

Here at DietitiansABQ, we do not believe in cancelling a vacation in order to stay perfectly on track with your goals. Vacations are incredibly important to our mental health (which directly influences our nutritional health-ever heard of stress eating??). It’s important to take a day, a weekend, a week away from it all in order to recharge, regain perspective on the world around you, and try new things! However, there are some things that you can do in order to not go completely off track while on vacation.

Tips for Successful Vacations:
1. Make having fun a priority before leaving – You can certainly have fun while being mindful of your nutrition while on a vacation! Make the decision from the get go that fun is the priority.
2. Do your research – Where will you be going, is it an all-inclusive resort? What is the food situation? Do you need to pack for yourself? Are there grocery stores nearby? Restaurants that are comfortable for you? Will you be spending long periods of time in airports or in the car?
3. Establish a support person – find someone within your travel group (family, friend) that you can talk to when the traveling routine, the food, or anything else is becoming difficult and you feel yourself veering off track. Make sure they know that in order for you to have a truly successful vacation, your health goals cannot fall to the very bottom of your priority list.
4. Be aware of potential challenges – Is there a part of the trip that may make it difficult to make healthy food choices that fulfill your health goals? Taking a look at these possible challenges before you leave will set you up for success; be prepared to face challenges that you didn’t expect and do your best to roll with the punches. You can do this!
5. Pack food – even if you have a good idea of what the food environment is going to be like. Pack food that you can use for snacks or add-ons for your meals if your nutritional goals cannot be met by the meals/food available.
6. Stay aware of physical hunger – We know that under-eating can lead to overeating later on in the day so if you are feeling physically hungry, stop and have a snack! A good combo of protein and carbohydrates will help that snack last longer in your system and hold you over until your next meal. Your body’s metabolism doesn’t change when you are on vacation and it’s important to honor your body’s needs as best as you can.
7. Establish a technique – if there is something that helps keep you on track during your normal at-home routine, see if you can make it work while out of town. Buy a small notebook to log your food, send a daily email to your dietitian to stay mindful of how things are going, have snacks between meals no matter what, etc.
8. Routine – Even if you are moving around a lot and a routine is difficult to establish, make something a routine. This can help you stay mindful and present within the vacation as well as within yourself. If you like taking pictures, take a trinket from home and take a picture of your trinket in each new place you go. If you find art helpful, make a sketch of each new place that you go. If you journal, make sure to journal every day no matter where you are.
9. Talk about it before you go – Talk to someone, like your dietitian, about some of your concerns regarding the trip. Sometimes all it takes is a quick brainstorming session in order to establish a plan for your trip. We are here to help!
10. Share your plan – let others know your plan for success on your trip so you can problem solve if something goes awry.

No Bake Energy Bites

These delicious little no bake energy bites are a great snack energy and protein filled snack. They might even be possible to make while you’re out of town!
Yield: About 3 dozen
Prep: 10 mins Total: 10 mins
• 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
• 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
• 1/2 cup peanut butter
• 1/2 cup ground flax seed
• 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
• 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
• 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
3. Makes about 20-25 balls.
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