In yesterday’s post, I wrote about working out while away from home. And, while I’m sure there are plenty of people who quite frankly don’t want to think about all that while on vacation, the really big thing, for me, is that I don’t carry that “I don’t want to think about working out” mentality back home with me. I know myself. I’d start losing like it’s nobody’s business if I did that.
That leads me to my next part of the series, and that’s how to eat when on vacation.
In my mind, vacation should be a time where you’re able to enjoy the different flavorings and offerings around you. If you’re simply vacationing back home with your family? It’s an opportunity to grab a nice home cooked meal from someone who loves you. If you’re in a new city? Oh, it’s time to go exploring. Yes, yes it is.
Now, as a person who rarely – and I mean rarely – dines out at restaurants, it was quite the change to dine out every single night for dinner, sometimes twice a night, because we’d be meeting up with other friends. I loved being able to dine at a restaurant and not be able to say “I could’ve cooked that better myself and saved my money!” Finding little hidden spots all over NYC – literally all over NYC… and I’ve got the legs and worn down high heels to prove it – that were actually inspiring enough for me to scribble down what I ate and snap photos, because I wanted to try the dishes at home.
So how do you balance when you’re out? How do you ensure that you can enjoy the good stuff, while not overdoing it? Here are my tips:
Be a food snob. I’m serious. Set standards… and abide by them. I hate to say something so cliche, but the vacation dining experience is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on crappy food, or food from restaurants that you can find at home. Nothing is more frustrating than walking down Ocean Drive in South Beach and seeing a certain super-franchise restaurant be completely full, while much better quality restaurants sit virtually empty. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Avocado stuffed with crab and shrimp? Go for it. Korean-fried chicken (which I spent days trying to figure out the “secret”?) Try it. Heaven forbid you fall in love with it!
Prioritize one meal for the day, and let that be the only meal where you “dive in nose first.” For me, dinner was the end all, be all. An apple around breakfast time, a sandwich a little later and half the menu for dinner. I’m kidding… sort of.
Raw foods are your friend. For something quick, light and able to be eaten on the go, raw food is absolutely your best bet. I won’t even harp on the fiber, energy and nutritive benefits that come from raw foods (I’m a big raw foodie, so I couldn’t help but mention them, though.) If you’re always on the move, grab a couple pears or peaches and head out the door.
Eat only when you’re hungry. Spend that precious time enjoying yourself, not trying to get in “six small meals a day” every day. It’s one thing to cling to that lifestyle at home, but on vacation you’ve got plenty of things to do… don’t waste that time trying to stick to an old regimen in a new environment. And when you do eat, don’t overdo it. Dine on dishes that are flavorful, so that it takes you some time to enjoy what it has to offer… and allows you the time to fill up without simply stuffing yourself.
If you’re in a situation where you’re dealing with someone’s home cooking (and the quality of the ingredients is in question), eat before you eat. You might decide that you’ve “got it like that” where you can turn down anything that doesn’t meet your standards, which is the ideal, but not everyone is that far along in their journey. I’m serious – if you know that you’re at Mama’s house, and she’s gonna fry up some chicken just the way you love (loved?) it, complete with flours and strange frankenstein-ish oils, then creep to the store and grab a small bowl of pre-cut and pre-chopped pineapple or watermelon and eat those before dinner. You might lose your appetite entirely, or you may very well decide to taste those familiar tastes and see if they have the same effect on you as they did before.
The funny thing about these tips is that, really, you can – and should – live this way at home. The reason so many of us don’t has more to do with converting out of our previously unhealthy lifestyles, and the habits we’re battling and learning to compromise with. You never know – you very well might be able to use your vacation to jump start a few changes at home!
What did I leave out? How do you eat healthily while on vacation?