Fighting Vacation Bulge

Most of us put on a couple of pounds while on vacation.  There are a number of contributing factors:  you eat out every meal, food is part of experiencing a new place so we eat differently and we tend to drink more to relax.

Knowing this, there are a number of ways you can minimize the amount you gain while on vacation.  Here are some tips and suggestions:

  •  How are you getting there? If you are flying, what time of day and how long is the flight?  If your flight extends over a meal – bring your own food from home.  Make healthy sandwiches or salads (toss with dressing right before you leave for airport and use disposable plastic container) and carry them on board.  Be sure to bring napkins, wet wipes and plastic silverware.

    If the flight is not over mealtime and not very long, bring your own snacks,  Trader Joe’s has great prepackaged snack bags of nuts and dried fruit. Quaker Oats 90 calorie granola bars and mini-bags of baby carrots work great too.

  • Driving, pack a cooler with low calorie, easy to eat foods to avoid bags of chips and cookies as your road trip menu.
  •  Where are you staying?  We like to stay places that offer at least a mini-fridge and microwave.  Many time shares also offer nightly or weekly rentals without an ownership requirement (don’t attend the sales presentation to get the free gift unless you really want to own a time share!) and those typically have a kitchen.  If not, most hotels will bring up a small refrigerator (they keep them because diabetics have to keep their insulin cold) for free or a nominal charge.
  •   Go to a local grocery store and stock up on water, flavored waters, fresh fruit and healthy snacks as soon as you arrive.  Bottled water in most hotels is expensive.  Stock your fridge and you will save a lot of money over the course of the week and have more control over at least some of your calorie consumption.
  •  Eat breakfast in your room.  Most places, breakfast is not a “cultural experience”.   It’s also an easy meal to make with just a refrigerator – even better with a refrigerator and a microwave.  At the grocery store you can get a package of the disposable storage containers which can double as bowls.  Cereal, instant oatmeal, milk, reduced calorie muffins, fruit, yogurt – all grocery store items can save you money and calories by letting you stay closer to your home routine.
  •  Lunch by the pool.  We grab chicken salads at the grocery store and put them in the refrigerator to have for lunch by the pool.  Look in the refrigerated cases near the deli and be sure to grab a fork from their salad bar or get one from the deli clerk.  Again, a big savings in both cost and calories.  After all, do you really need to “experience” a poolside hotdog?
  •  Happy hour dinner.  Ask for the places with the best happy hour or if the best local cuisine places offer happy hour.  If so, make this your dinner.  You can save some money, get and share several appetizers to try more of the local offerings and likely save some calories too.

    If you do order too much food, eat the items that won’t reheat well and take the rest back to your hotel.  Using the refrigerator and microwave this way can stretch your budget and help NOT stretch your waistline!

  • If you are a “foodie” like many of my friends, pick a night or two of your vacation to indulge.  This comes more under the “experience” category and is worth both the cost and the calories.  You may not want to waste your calories on items you can easily have at home and instead focus on the local or highly reviewed recipes.  Maybe you can walk to and from the restaurant to burn a few of the consumed calories.
  •   Need a drink?  Wines or spirits are far less calories than a margarita or pina colada.  A gin and tonic with some fresh mint makes a good substitute for a mojito.  A glass of chilled white wine or rose’ is refreshing and only about 110 calories a glass.

A few months from now, you won’t remember the hotel breakfast or the poolside hotdog – but your hips will!  Saving even 200-300 calories per day can make a huge difference on the scale when you get home.  Spend your money on experiences – that’s what you will long remember.

In addition to exercising some control over what you consume on vacation – I’ll also focus this summer on ways to put some physical exercise into your vacation with active travel options.

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One Response to “Fighting Vacation Bulge”

  1. frugalfirstclasstravel Says:

    Really good tips! I wrote a post on a similar topic recently and came up with quite a different list! Between us all none of us have any excuse to gain weight!

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