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How To Eat Healthy On Vacation


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Kaylee Gutierrez



Going on vacation is an exciting opportunity to relax, explore new destinations, and immerse yourself in different cultures. However, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the road, especially when it comes to your diet. Tempting treats, indulgent meals, and limited access to healthy options can make it difficult to stick to your usual healthy eating habits. But fear not, because with a little planning and smart choices, you can still enjoy your vacation while eating healthily.


When you prioritize your health and make conscious decisions about what you eat, you can have a fulfilling and nourishing travel experience. In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and strategies on how to eat healthy on vacation. From planning ahead to making mindful choices at restaurants, we’ve got you covered.


By implementing these suggestions, you can enjoy your vacation without feeling guilty about your food choices or compromising your health goals. So, let’s dive in and discover how to eat healthily while on the go!


Planning Ahead

One of the keys to maintaining a healthy diet while on vacation is to plan ahead. By making a few preparations before you embark on your trip, you can set yourself up for success and avoid impulsive and unhealthy food choices.


Start by researching the local food options available at your destination. Look for restaurants and markets that offer healthy and nutritious meals. This way, you can have a list of healthy dining options to choose from when you arrive.


Next, consider packing some healthy snacks for the journey. Portable options like dried fruits, nuts, and granola bars can help curb your hunger and prevent you from reaching for unhealthy snacks during travel.


In addition to snacks, consider packing some basic cooking essentials if you have access to a kitchenette or a vacation rental. This way, you can prepare some of your own meals using fresh ingredients and have more control over what goes into your dishes.


Finally, make sure to stay hydrated by bringing a reusable water bottle with you. Drinking plenty of water not only helps keep you satiated but also aids in digestion and overall well-being.


By planning ahead and making smart choices before you leave, you can set yourself up for a healthy eating journey during your vacation.


Choosing Healthy Options

When it comes to choosing healthy options while on vacation, it’s important to be mindful of your food choices. Here are some tips to help you make healthier decisions:

  1. Opt for whole foods: When dining out or choosing snacks, aim for whole foods that are minimally processed. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and nuts are all nutritious options.
  2. Watch portion sizes: It’s easy to get carried away with large portion sizes when you’re on vacation. Try to be mindful of how much you’re eating and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
  3. Choose lean proteins: When ordering meals, opt for lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, fish, tofu, or legumes. These options are lower in saturated fat and can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  4. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables: Try to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks. They are packed with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote good health.
  5. Limit added sugars and unhealthy fats: Be cautious of foods and drinks that are high in added sugars and unhealthy fats. These can include sugary beverages, fried foods, and processed snacks. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like infused water, grilled options, and fresh snacks.
  6. Ask for modifications: Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications at restaurants. Requesting sauces and dressings on the side, substituting fries for a side salad, or asking for grilled instead of fried can help make your meal healthier.
  7. Practice mindful eating: Slow down and savor each bite. Pay attention to the taste and texture of your food, and stop eating when you feel satisfied. This can help prevent overeating and promote a healthier relationship with food.

By making these small adjustments and being mindful of your food choices, you can ensure that you’re nourishing your body with healthy and balanced meals throughout your vacation.


Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining your health and well-being, especially while on vacation. Here are some tips to ensure you stay hydrated during your travels:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle: Having a reusable water bottle with you at all times is a great way to encourage regular hydration. Fill it up whenever you have the chance and sip on water throughout the day.
  • Set hydration reminders: If you tend to forget to drink water, set reminders on your phone or watch to prompt you to take a few sips every hour. This can help you stay on track with your hydration goals.
  • Choose water-rich foods: Incorporate water-rich foods into your meals and snacks. Fruits like watermelon, cucumber, and oranges, as well as vegetables like lettuce and celery, have high water content and can contribute to your daily hydration needs.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine: While it can be tempting to indulge in alcoholic or caffeinated beverages while on vacation, these can dehydrate your body. Opt for moderation and balance these drinks with plenty of water.
  • Hydrate before, during, and after physical activities: If you’re engaging in activities that make you sweat, such as hiking or swimming, make sure to drink water before, during, and after to replenish your fluids and electrolytes.
  • Monitor urine color: Keep an eye on the color of your urine as an indicator of your hydration levels. Pale yellow or clear urine indicates adequate hydration, while dark yellow or amber-colored urine may suggest dehydration.

By prioritizing hydration and incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can ensure that your body stays properly hydrated while enjoying your vacation.


Balancing Indulgences

While it’s important to prioritize healthy eating on vacation, it’s also important to indulge and enjoy the local cuisine and treats. Maintaining a balance between healthy options and indulgences is key to having a fulfilling and enjoyable vacation. Here’s how to strike that balance:


1. Practice moderation: Give yourself permission to enjoy indulgent foods in moderation. Instead of completely restricting yourself, allow yourself to savor a small portion of that decadent dessert or local specialty.


2. Choose your indulgences wisely: If there are certain indulgent foods or drinks that you absolutely love, prioritize those and enjoy them guilt-free. By consciously choosing your indulgences, you can still experience the local flavors without going overboard.


3. Share meals or desserts: Splitting a meal or dessert with a travel companion can be a great way to satisfy your cravings without overeating. This way, you can enjoy the indulgence while also being mindful of portion sizes.


4. Listen to your body: Pay attention to how certain foods make you feel. If indulging in a particular dish leaves you feeling sluggish or uncomfortable, it’s a sign that you might want to dial back on similar indulgences in the future.


5. Compensate with healthier choices: Balance out indulgent meals or treats with healthier options throughout the day. Load up on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins during other meals to ensure your body is still receiving the nutrients it needs.


Remember, vacations are meant to be enjoyed, and that includes indulging in delicious foods. By practicing moderation and striking a balance between healthy choices and indulgences, you can savor the flavors of your destination without compromising your health goals.


Maintaining an Active Lifestyle

While indulging in local cuisine is a highlight of any vacation, it’s also important to maintain an active lifestyle to support your overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you stay active while on vacation:

  • Explore on foot: Instead of relying solely on transportation, opt to explore your destination on foot. Walking not only allows you to take in the sights and sounds of a new place, but it also helps you stay active and burn calories.
  • Try local activities: Engage in activities that are unique to your destination, such as hiking, cycling, or swimming. Not only will you get to experience something new, but you’ll also get a great workout in the process.
  • Utilize hotel amenities: Take advantage of the fitness facilities available at your hotel, such as the gym or swimming pool. Schedule in some time each day for a workout or a swim to keep your body moving.
  • Participate in group activities: Join group fitness classes or guided tours that involve physical activity. This not only allows you to stay active but also provides an opportunity to meet new people and make connections.
  • Stay active during downtime: When you have downtime, like waiting for transportation or lounging by the pool, find ways to keep your body moving. Take a stroll, do some stretching, or even try a quick bodyweight workout.

By incorporating physical activity into your vacation routine, you can maintain your fitness levels and support your overall health. Plus, staying active will help counterbalance any indulgences and leave you feeling energized and refreshed.


Incorporating Local Produce

One of the best ways to experience the local culture and flavors of your vacation destination is by incorporating local produce into your meals. Here are some tips for embracing locally sourced ingredients:

  • Visit farmer’s markets or local grocery stores: Explore the local markets or grocery stores to discover a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. These ingredients are not only packed with flavor but also support local farmers and businesses.
  • Try traditional dishes: Sample traditional dishes that feature local produce. These dishes often highlight the unique flavors of the region and provide a deeper cultural experience.
  • Learn about regional specialties: Research the regional specialties of your destination and look for dishes that showcase local ingredients. Whether it’s a seafood dish by the coast or a vegetable-based dish in the countryside, these specialties offer a chance to taste the authentic flavors of the area.
  • Cook your own meals: If you have access to a kitchen or a vacation rental, take the opportunity to cook your own meals using local produce. This way, you have full control over the ingredients and can experiment with creating delicious and healthy dishes.
  • Ask locals for recommendations: Strike up conversations with locals and ask for their recommendations on where to find the best local produce. They can provide insider tips on the best markets, roadside stands, or farm-to-table restaurants in the area.

By incorporating local produce into your meals, not only are you supporting the local community, but you’re also treating your taste buds to fresh and flavorful ingredients that are unique to the region.


Managing Portions

Managing portions is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy diet, especially while on vacation. Here are some tips to help you keep your portions in check:

  • Use smaller plates and bowls: Opt for smaller-sized plates and bowls when serving yourself. Research has shown that using smaller dinnerware can help reduce portion sizes and prevent overeating.
  • Listen to your body’s hunger signals: Pay attention to your body’s cues of hunger and fullness. Eat until you feel satisfied, rather than overly full. Take breaks during meals to give your body time to recognize satiety.
  • Avoid eating straight from the package: Instead of eating directly from a bag or container, portion out your food onto a plate or bowl. This can help prevent mindless eating and gives you a better sense of how much you’re consuming.
  • Practice the “half-plate” rule: Make sure that at least half of your plate consists of fruits and vegetables. This not only helps control portion sizes but also ensures you’re getting a good balance of nutrients.
  • Be mindful of calorie-dense foods: Calorie-dense foods like fried dishes, creamy sauces, and desserts can quickly add up. Enjoy these foods in moderation and be mindful of portion sizes to avoid consuming excessive calories.

Remember, it’s not just what you eat, but how much you eat that matters. By being mindful of your portion sizes and listening to your body, you can enjoy the flavors of your vacation while keeping your health goals in mind.


Keeping a Food Journal

Keeping a food journal can be a useful tool to help you stay accountable and mindful of your eating habits while on vacation. Here’s why and how to keep a food journal:


1. Track your intake: Writing down everything you eat and drink can provide valuable insight into your eating patterns. It helps you become aware of not just the types of foods you consume but also the portion sizes and frequency.


2. Identify trends and triggers: By reviewing your food journal, you can identify patterns and triggers that may affect your eating habits. For example, you might notice that you tend to snack more when feeling stressed or that you consume larger portions when dining out.


3. Stay mindful and make informed choices: A food journal serves as a reminder to be mindful of your food choices. When you know you are going to record what you eat, you may be more likely to make healthier choices and avoid mindless snacking or overindulging.


4. Reflect on your progress: Keeping a food journal allows you to track your progress and see how your eating habits evolve over time. It can be a great source of motivation and encouragement as you observe positive changes in your diet and lifestyle.


To keep a food journal, simply write down everything you eat and drink throughout the day. Include details such as portion sizes, preparation methods, and any emotions or circumstances surrounding the meal. You can use a notebook, a dedicated app, or even a simple note-taking app on your phone.


Remember, the purpose of keeping a food journal is not to obsess over every calorie or restrict yourself excessively. It is a tool to help you develop a better understanding of your eating habits, make informed choices, and stay accountable to your health goals during your vacation.


Tips for Eating Out

Eating out while on vacation is a common occurrence, but it can be challenging to make healthy choices with a limited scope of control over food preparation. However, with these helpful tips, you can still enjoy eating out while staying mindful of your health:

  • Research restaurants in advance: Look up menus and read reviews of local restaurants beforehand. This way, you can find establishments that offer healthier options and cater to dietary preferences.
  • Choose grilled or roasted options: Opt for dishes that are grilled, roasted, or steamed instead of fried or breaded. These cooking methods tend to be healthier and retain more nutrients in the food.
  • Emphasize vegetables and whole grains: Look for dishes that incorporate plenty of vegetables and whole grains. Salads, stir-fries, and grain bowls are often great options that provide a good balance of nutrients.
  • Request modifications: Don’t be afraid to make specific requests or modifications to fit your dietary needs. Ask for dressings or sauces on the side, opt for whole-grain bread, or substitute fries with a side salad.
  • Practice portion control: Restaurants often serve larger portions, so consider sharing a meal with a friend or packing up leftovers for later. You can also ask for a half-portion or choose from the appetizer or side dish menu.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Alcoholic beverages can add extra calories and sugar to your meal. Opt for lighter options like wine or spritzers, and remember to drink water alongside to stay hydrated.
  • Take your time and savor the experience: Eating out is not just about the food, but also the experience. Take your time to enjoy the atmosphere, engage in conversation, and savor each bite mindfully.
  • Be selective about desserts: If you want to indulge in a sweet treat, choose one that truly stands out or is a local specialty. Share it with others to satisfy your cravings without going overboard.

By applying these tips and staying mindful of your choices, you can enjoy eating out while still prioritizing your health goals during your vacation.



Eating healthy while on vacation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By implementing a few simple strategies and making mindful choices, you can continue to prioritize your health and enjoy your travel experience to the fullest. Keep in mind the importance of planning ahead, choosing healthy options, and staying hydrated throughout your trip. Remember to embrace local produce, practice portion control, and maintain an active lifestyle. And don’t forget to indulge in moderation and savor the flavors of your destination.


Whether you’re exploring new culinary experiences or sticking to your usual dietary preferences, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is possible. By keeping a food journal, you can track your progress, identify patterns, and make informed choices. And when eating out, be selective, request modifications, and practice portion control.


Ultimately, enjoying your vacation and nourishing your body go hand in hand. With a little preparation and a mindful approach, you can savor the tastes of your destination while feeling energized, vibrant, and satisfied throughout your journey.


So go ahead, embrace the adventure, and let your travel experiences be enhanced by your commitment to eating healthy. Bon voyage and bon appétit!