Between frosted cookies and festive cocktails it’s hard to stay focused on lean cuisine over the holiday season. Add a vacation into this caloric cocktail, and any semblance of a healthy balance just got tipsy. Enter moderation. If there’s one rule to live by during the holidays, it’s not to abstain—we all know how that really goes—it’s to partake in small parts. ‘Tis the season to be picky about the size of your helpings of holiday cheer! With visions of sun loungers, smaller portions, and sneaking in some exercise, we’ve assembled seven tips to approach your holiday trips with healthy intensions (and that ever-evasive follow-through).
1. Avoid Beige
Keep the beige at bay (in your diet that is)! We know, consuming carbs is oh-so-tempting on vacation, yet one surefire way to stay nutritionally balanced is make sure every meal is full of color, in other words, at least half your plate is covered in fruits and vegetables. Think about covering the other two quarters with protein and whole grains.
Insider Tip: This is especially important at airports, notorious for indulgent eats. Examples of colorful snacks would be an apple and almonds, or carrots and hummus.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
2. Ho Ho Ho H20
Drink lots of water; in the airport, on the plane, sightseeing, and at the beach. Nature’s elixir keeps you hydrated and alert, as well as balances the consumption of umbrella drinks that tend to play on repeat while we’re under the influence of a beach palapa and gently lapping waves.
Insider Tip: As a general rule, balance your bevs—coffee, tea, cocktails—with a glass of water. For every drink, gulp a glass of water. Your liver and skin will thank you!
3. A Calorie High
Sugar hangs out in most food and drink indulgences, and on vacation caloric consumption can skyrocket into Willy Wonka territory. From the sugar in your morning tea or coffee, to the syrup on your pancakes, to the cocktails served at sunset, to the treats at every turn, and the wine with dinner; sugar overload! To counteract the calories, practice restraint and pick one time of day to eat sweet treat or sip a pina colada.
4. Sharing/Portion Control
Like we mentioned above, a bit of splurging is okay—hey, you are on vacation—just not at every meal. Aside from making sure there’s a rainbow of color on your plate, we also suggest sharing meals with your family or +1. Bonus: sharing means you get to try more and spend less. For example, instead of two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts, order a main dish and a big salad and split both—flavor and nourishment that won’t expand the waistline.
5. Sneaky Exercise
Even on trips that are purposefully sedentary, there are more opportunities than you think to stay active between beach reads. Let’s start with the airport; walk instead of hopping on the moving sidewalks. At your hotel or resort, take the stairs and avoid resort shuttles where possible. At the beach or pool, go for a swim or take a long stroll. The opportunities are endless once you realize the day is full of fit choices.
6. Bring it
If you’re on the fence about exercising on vacation, simply bringing workout wear in your suitcase acts as a reminder to use it while away. Holidays also create the opportunity to break routine and try something new like swimming, water running, stand-up paddleboarding, or kayaking, and the only item you need to pack for those activities is a swimsuit!
Insider Tip: Worried about sneakers and gym clothes taking up too much space in your suitcase? Roll and squish as much as you can into your runners to create more room for the outfits you really want to pack.
7. Plan it
Last but not least, cutting down on calories, taking the stairs, and staying hydrated is best observed when the intention is set to approach your vacation with moderation. Planning ahead to keep fit and eat well 85% of the time and give in to cravings in the remaining 15%, will make a world of difference to your body, mind, and soul. Upon your return, come back down to reality without feeling frumpy!