Summer is coming, which means your getaway is dead ahead. Yes, vacation means rest and relaxation — but it doesn’t have to mean derailing your normal nutrition and exercise pattern. The last thing you want is to gain back all the weight you worked so hard to lose before your indulgent vacation.
With a little creativity and proactive planning, you can take a holiday that actually pushes you toward your health and fitness goals, while also giving you a much-needed break from reality. Check out these tips for planning a healthy getaway that helps — not hurts — your weight loss.
1. CHOOSE A WALKABLE CITY
Looking to get in more than 10,000 steps a day and see an amazing city? Consider choosing a destination from our 8 Best Walkable Cities Around the World, which features Amsterdam, Washington, New York and Buenos Aires among the top recommendations. Walk Score also offers a similar list based on data, which includes additional cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and Chicago. If your destination isn’t as walkable, consider renting bikes to explore. Many cities have bike-sharing programs that allow you to pay for bikes by the hour and return them to numerous sites around town. Not only will biking or walking burn more calories, it will also allow you to further immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with others during your trip.
2. RESEARCH MENUS AHEAD OF TIME
An occasional indulgence here and there can be OK, but an entire week of eating out at unhealthy restaurants can be a weight-loss disaster, with deep-fried, salty food and large portion sizes. Do a little legwork to find out not only the most recommended eateries in town, but also the ones that offer fresh, wholesome foods. Challenge yourself to eat like the locals: Sampling regional fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat can be a great way to treat yourself while visiting a new place.
READ MORE: 12 HEALTHY FOODS THAT FILL YOU UP BEST
3. PACK EASY-TO-PREPARE FOODS (OR PURCHASE THEM WHEN YOU GET THERE)
Eating out every meal isn’t just a good way to rack up calories quickly, it also costs a lot. Try bringing a few easy-to-make meals along with you, or do a quick grocery shop once you arrive. This is easiest if you stay at a hotel or condominium with a small kitchenette so you can stash and prepare healthy meals. For instance, oats and peanut butter are easy to pack and store, and have a long shelf life — and they’re a great way to start your day and hit the town quicker than stopping for breakfast. For lunch or dinner, consider bringing canned tuna or beans you can pair with fresh vegetables.
5. PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVE TOURISM
Make fitness part of your travel experience. Horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking and yoga all offer great ways to immerse yourself in local culture and see the sights. Ecotourism and agritourism are have been on a steady rise. In many destinations, you can tour local wine vineyards and sustainable farms and sample their products. Many of these edibles are organic and wholesome, allowing you to boost your vacation with healthy foods and support the local economy.
A handful of nuts, dried fruit and a protein bar can go a long way when it comes to avoiding snacking on unhealthy foods while on vacation.
6. SCHEDULE WORKOUTS IN ADVANCE AND MAXIMIZE WORKOUT TIME
Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, squeezing in a high-intensity workout can be the key to keeping your metabolism cranked up throughout vacation. Sometimes less is more: Just 30 minutes of quick bursts of high-intensity interval training has been shown to increase metabolism and decrease blood-sugar levels. Check out the fitness facilities at your destination ahead of time to plan what clothing and materials you need to bring.
7. PACK HEALTHY SNACKS
A handful of nuts, dried fruit and a protein bar can go a long way when it comes to avoiding snacking on unhealthy foods while on vacation. Pack a few of these items in your bag to hold you over between meals and keep you from caving to junk-food cravings.
8. LIMIT SUGARY DRINK CONSUMPTION
Let’s face it: You’re on vacation, and you probably want to enjoy a frozen blended adult beverage you may not normally drink at home. But beware of sugary, fruit- and cream-based drinks (like piña coladas) that may pack a heavy calorie punch with loads of added sugar. For a quaff that’s lower in calories but high on flavor and freshness, opt for a bubbly water or spritzer with fresh herbs.