Ahhh, vacation. The few days, one week or even two weeks if you’re lucky out of the year when responsibilities disappear and you are finally allowed to roam free and have some fun. You plan, and save all for this sweet escape, but you’ve improved your lifestyle diet and are making serious progress. You’re conflicted – you want to enjoy the vacation but also want to stay on track. So, how do you go about this?
If you’re going to a new city to explore, ask around for recommendations of restaurants that are worth breaking the macro bank for. There are special places in every city; the best doughnut shop, the best coffee shop, the best ice cream place or even the best cupcake bakery. Think about what you’re really craving that day or what your favorite foods are and see if you can make that fit into your numbers. It’s all about balance and finding what foods are really worth it for you.
Research those restaurants online, in My Fitness Pal or on Calorie King to see what their options are. Always remember that you can have half of the dish, or even a quarter of the dish if you’re able to share it with someone else. That way you can experience and enjoy some of the food without totally blowing your macros on one meal.
Protein is a hard macro to find while traveling. Protein powders and bars are an easy way to get your protein numbers up and are usually always allowed through airport security. Another #TeamWAG favourite - Jerky – has little fat, little carbs and decent protein and can be found at most convenient stores, drug stores and grocery stores. It also doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can keep safe in most temperatures.
For some reason, most people at the airport, in their cars, or on a train opt for the most convenient form of food possible. This usually means fast food in the form of burgers and fries but there are other options out there if you do a bit of research. Most fast food places have a simple side salad that you could top with a piece of grilled chicken breast and light salad dressing. Convenience stores now-a-days have Greek yogurt to go, fresh fruit and sometimes packs of lean lunch meat and cheese. With a little bit of thought and planning, you can find a decent meal that won’t hurt your macros and keep you satisfied and feeling good throughout your travels.
If you know you have a big dinner out or want to use more of your fats and carbs on fun at an all-inclusive resort, stick with lean proteins and vegetables throughout the day. Not only will these nutrient dense foods fill you up and keep you full, they’ll allow you to save up your other macros for that special meal or treat you’re craving. Lean proteins and vegetables are usually readily available, we just have to control our mind and our cravings to stick with them when pastries, cookies, and decedent dishes are laid out in front of us.
Remember this: you do not have to eat all of the food in one sitting. The buffet isn’t going anywhere, and if your trip is a few days you will likely have the opportunity to sample a little bit of everything… over the course of those days. The food will be back tomorrow, as will a new set of macros. So if you’d like to try the pancakes today, do so – but save the waffles for tomorrow.
Vacation is a time to relax and unwind. If you’re traveling with loved ones, the focus should be on them. Vacation is a time to focus on those relationships and those people who are important to us. We get to explore new places, try new things, or simply have a conversation uninterrupted.
Practice mindful eating while on vacation, and really enjoying the food in front of you. Think about it’s texture, savor it’s taste and really slow down and take one bite at a time. Eat only until you’re full and then either save the rest for later or give it to your travel buddy to eat!
One meal, day, or even a few days off with your tracking or macros will not totally derail your progress. But one meal, day or even a few days of panicking and stressing over your food can ruin the mood and excitement of a vacation.
Traveling and vacation are meant to be exciting things. They bring new places, sounds, smells, foods, and experiences that we only get to share a few times a year or maybe even a few times in our lives. Instead of stressing about an upcoming vacation, remember to be enthusiastic and excited about the potential we have to either improve our estimating skills, practice our mindful eating habits, and truly enjoy the foods we are experiencing in front of us. Ultimately vacation is an opportunity to grow and learn about ourselves and our abilities to stay on track when thrown into a new environment. Happy travels!