Planning for a summer vacation brings me so much joy. I relish in the time spent researching day trips, excursions, the local history and especially the food! I need to know the local favorites, make reservations at trendy hot spots and taste the must-have regional dishes. And although my phone is now filled with beautiful food photos, I’m also left with the memory of a very unhappy belly. Why? Because I was splurging on the rich, delectable local fare much more often than I would ever do at home.  So you can imagine why vacations were wreaking havoc on my GI tract!

Inevitably, I had to do something. I needed to find a way to satisfy my holiday craving without completely taking a retreat from my health.  So I came up with a few rules that have been the perfect solution and I’m happy to share them with you! Here are my 5 tips for healthy summer eating:

  1. Plan ahead. Decide when you’re going to indulge. Maybe you allow yourself 1 treat per day. Or perhaps you choose 1 entire day to splurge. Whatever you decide, the goal is to resist constant indulgence.
  2. Stay hydrated. And yes, limit the alcohol. Daily imbibing at the all-inclusive bar or your hotel room mini bar will only leave you feeling lousy. Drink plenty of water during the day. Save the cocktails for the evening and be sure to sip on water between drinks to avoid the morning hangover.
  3. Grocery shop. Don’t rely 100% on the hotel food and restaurants for all your meals. If you have access to a grocery store and can pick up healthy snacks and food for some meals, you’re in control. Don’t forget about visiting local farmer’s markets too. It’s a great opportunity to taste some of the most delicious local produce!
  4. Beware of buffets. While they might seem like a good idea, buffets are a guaranteed way to consume too much sugar, fat and overall calories. However, sometimes buffets are unavoidable. So keep portions in check by keeping to just 1 plate of food or simply mimic what you’d normally have as a usual meal at home.
  5. Overall, it’s important to make room for health. No matter what or where I’m eating, I always make sure my meal includes at least 1 serving of vegetables. Whether it’s a snack, as a side or the main course of an entrée, your body with thank you for the nourishment!

What are you stay-healthy vacation tips?

ADDED TIP: Stay active. Daily exercise does a body good – even as little as 10 minutes! So take advantage of the hotel gym, book a fun excursion, go for a bike ride or set aside a quick sweat session in your hotel room.

Bon Voyage!

Erin Pellegrin RD, LDN