Friday Five: Travel Eating Guidelines

by tinareale on March 1, 2013

I know many of you out there are thinking “Yay! Friday!” right about now. Normally, I would be cheering right alongside you but this week it comes as a bit of a bummer. Only a couple vacation days left and then we travel back home. Since I plan to soak up the sun and fun for my last couple of days I made sure to have an applicable Friday Five post all ready to go for you today. Maybe my plan of attack for vacation/travel eating will help you when your vacation time comes. Travel season is coming up fast, after all!

Allow me to preface something before we get started. I’m no master at healthy travel eating when it comes to food prep and founding out the healthiest options around. My girl Laura reigns supreme there and has quite a few excellent posts with travel meal ideas and tips. What I plan to share here are just the general guidelines I try to follow while traveling so I can hopefully find a balance between enjoying myself and not going overboard (my “oh so clever” pun intended).

So, here we go. My Friday Five:

Five Guidelines for Balanced

Eating While Traveling

1. Hydration!!! Now, I’m not huge on drinking my calories and sipping alcoholic beverages or sugary sodas. On this cruise I did plan to enjoy a few drinks but also anticipated water as my drink of choice for the majority of the time. I planned to sip and enjoy one drink a day – such as a margarita pool side OR a glass of red with dinner. There were a few days I didn’t have anything and a couple times I had a couple drinks in a day. Either way, I think it helps to target beverage consumption because those can add up faster than we realize.

2. Healthy breakfast and lunch. The next big focus I had was to go lighter on meals where I could. Whether a hotel breakfast, buffet at a resort/cruise ship, or in a condo kitchen I can usually scrounge up healthier things for these two meals. Here on the cruise most of my breakfasts have been egg white and veggie omelets with oatmeal or muesli and some fruit on the side. Lunches have often been what the excursions served but when eating lunch on the ship I try to choose things like sandwiches with salad and/or fruit.


3.  Don’t need to snack. I don’t know about you but I personally find myself consuming larger meals and needing less snacks in between when I carefully consider my hunger level. I could easily reach for a snack out of habit and not out of hunger. Big difference. When I remain mindful of my hunger and consider the full meals I have through the day I realize I often don’t need that extra in a snack. Haven’t even touched the trail mix we brought along with us yet.

4. Get distracted. How often do you hear the opposite with eating? Well, I’m telling you to get distracted. There’s so much going on around you on vacations typically, so pay attention and enjoy those things! Soak up the laughs and conversation with the family or friends traveling with you. Check out the new scenery. Don’t get so caught up in food. Savor and enjoy the meals you eat that you don’t normally have, but don’t worry and fret about food that you miss out on the other aspects of the experience. Sometimes you can avoid mindless eating by keeping busy with the endless fun and beautiful sights all around.


5. Sometimes just go for it. Generally vacations last a few days to a week. Maybe two. In all honesty how much “damage” can you do to your healthy eating in that time? I’m not suggesting go hog wild and disregard any semblance of health or balance…but also don’t overanalyze it all. If you find that the only lunch at your beach stop excursion is pizza, so be it.


Really craving another glass of wine or an afternoon pit stop for some ice cream? Live it up! Vacations should be enjoyed. Do what you can but please live life. I had some of the above intentions going into my cruise, but did I follow them perfectly? Heck no! Is it possible that I gain a pound or two over the course of the week? Sure. But I know it can come back off when I return to my healthy ways…and I loved every second and every memory of the cruise along the way. No regrets.

How do you approach eating while vacationing? No worries? Plan it all ahead? General guidelines? Any situations easier or harder for you to find balance?


1 lindsay March 1, 2013 at 7:32 am

i’m so with you on the snacking. I don’t snack on vacation really. I feel like our meals are so savory there they keep me full for longer. Love all the goodness!

2 Linz @ Itz Linz March 1, 2013 at 7:52 am

I try and go with the flow. Hydration is definitely super important and like you, I eat bigger meals, so snacking is not always a necessity. Plus, I love staying active while on vacation!

3 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 1, 2013 at 8:56 am

Thanks so much for the shout out. I’m DEFINTIELY not so rigid on vacation – go big or go home, I say. but yes, the hydration is key – it helps stop the mindless munchies and when you’re in the sun you need to extra H2O!

4 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

I think it’s really important to note the big theme here – all things in moderation. It’s a continuation of what we try to live on a daily basis, you’re still enjoying the indulgences of your vacation without going overboard and while still making healthy choices.

5 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf March 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

Such great tips! I try to go with the flow but keep a balance as well. And yes, sometimes you just have to go for it!

6 Lauren March 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

I try to approach vacation eating as relaxed as I can. I know I’ll indulge but I also try to stick with what I know and my body knows as best I can I don’t freak if I eat a little more than normal because I know I’ll get back into my routine as soon as I get home. Great tips love!

7 Heather @fitncookies March 1, 2013 at 10:54 am

I live like this on vaca too. It depends on the vacation as to my hunger situation- if it is Deep Creek where I am doing sports in the water behind my boat, I tend to become a little more hungry and do have snacks. I try not to over-indulge, but it’s nice to have things that I don’t normally have. I enjoy working out on vacation, too, so that is always a pleasant calorie boost :) Enjoy the last few days of yours!

8 Amanda @ Romancing the Unusual March 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

I have typically been a no worries while on vacation kind of girl, but I have noticed that it is so much harder to jump back into healthy eating when I have been OVERindulging for a few days so balancing out fun treats and meals with healthier options is how I am going to approach my next vacation.

9 Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete March 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

In terms of snacking – I catch myself reaching for something a) just because I can and b) because I’m bored. The busier I stay, the more distracted I am and after awhile, when I’m TRULY hungry, I know it’s time for a meal.

I like #5 though, and I think it’s realistic. Sometimes, you just gotta go with it!

10 [email protected] for the Soul March 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Since I normally have a good idea of what I need or want in order to eat in a wholesome manner, it doesn’t take too much work to go by my own guideline. So in the end, I always end up eating a bit more like what others around me are eating so that no one has to make me a “special” meal, but if we get to choose at a restaurant then I’ll go with my favorite foods and eat as balanced as possible–as always, moderation with those things is important and it makes everything so much easier when traveling!

11 Bek @ Crave March 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm

When I went to Bali I focused so much on the food and really over did it. This was during my restrictive days and for me Bali was a week off and I went way overboard. Now, without my restrictions I know I can have these foods whenever and it’s really helped with moderation and not ruining the trip because of food.

12 E March 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm

It’s all about moderation!
And I definitely think vacation is the worst time to deprive yourself. I was just in Mexico and while I don’t eat cheese back in the states, I definitely indulged while in Mexico because the cheese there is just SO much better.
I mean, how often will you get to visit those places again, and try the local/famous cuisine??
Distraction is so great on vacation, too. I don’t get hungry when I’m busy having fun!
PS: my post today was an interview with the executive chef aboard the Norwegian Star, and it was super interesting to pick his brain!

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