But now you’re nervous.
Because it’s summer.
And you have vacation coming up . . . with your family.
Does that mean you throw all caution to the wind? You’ll deal with the consequences later? Where the heck is the balance?
I have an systematic approach to diet to help keep you on track – at least maintain – while livin’ it up on vacation.
Of course, since you’re away from your own kitchen, you’re going to eat things you normally wouldn’t. That’s part of the deal. It may be dessert, more starch than usual, or . . . vino anyone?
Embracing the 80/20 rule – making better, healthier choices 80% of the time, while you “go off the food grid” 20% of the time, or less – is a great mindset to carry along.
But how do you implement “80%” when you’re eating out, on a whacky schedule, and far away from your regular routine?
Here’s the deal. If you want to write things down, record, then go ahead (or if you have tight goals, you may need to). However, if you’re anything like me, recording is the last thing I want to do while frolicking through a beach town (or wherever your vacation takes you).
So the 80/20 is a more mental tracking – which can be sketchy. However, if you resolve to be as honest as you can, it will serve you.
And here’s how you can implement it.
Eating Out . . . a Lot.
Approach 80% ish of your meals with this Philosophy:
1) Look for the protein,
2) Where’s the fat coming from?
3) Veggies, veggies, veggies,
4) starch in moderation – or if you’ve been active
Ok, let’s dive in just a bit and elaborate.
To illustrate, you’re out for breakfast and peruse the menu. Here’s what ordering might look like:
- Look for protein: Eggs in an omelette
- Where’s the fat coming from?: Yolks (and probably some residual in the pan for cooking – request little to no oil)
- Veggies, veggies, veggies: Load that omelette with as many veggies as they have (mushrooms, spinach, broccoli tops, onions, peppers, you name it)
- Starch in moderation: Skip the toast or hashbrowns, request some steamed veggies on the side, or fresh raw ones
Or, here’s a non-egg, special request breakfast that has served me well:
- Protein: Request a nearly dry-grilled (light in the cooking oil) chicken breast (add a slice or two of bacon if you wish)
- Fat: Request some fresh-sliced avocado
- Veggies: Ask for sauteed or steamed veggies – whatever they have available
- Starch: None, or, order oatmeal if you tolerate gluten, but only eat a small portion with cinnamon (and maybe a stevia packet from your purse!)
Restaurants are much more accommodating than they’ve been in the past. You’ll be surprised at how flexible the average kitchen can be.
And if you’re shy about asking? Get over it! This is YOUR body and you are paying them for a service. And they want to serve you (especially if you’re extra nice when asking!).
But what if they really can’t accommodate?
Here is your second line of defense:
First – Quality
Then – Substitute/Adjust
Lastly – Amount
First, aim for quality. In the two breakfast examples I aimed for “cleaner” choices – void of sauces, excess oils, and food fluff that often crowds the plate.
Second, when the cleaner choices are not available, your next approach is to substitute or adjust what you can. They might only have signature salads (not build-your-own), yet you can adjust by adding extra vegetables, holding the cheese and croutons, and ask for the dressing on the side (with a small cup so you can water-down a lesser quality dressing a bit).
Third, when all else fails, and your only option is pre-made, gooped-up, gut bomb – and you’ve got to eat – then aim for reducing the amount. A small amount of garbage food can be better than the full meal deal. Then you can get back to better stuff at the next meal.
And that brings up another point.
You will often find stow away snacks in my checked bags:
- A can (pop-top) of chicken (chemical-free)
- A can (pop-top) of sardines in olive oil (don’t make that face! They’re better than canned tuna!)
- A bag of chemical-free beef jerky (no MSG)
- A bag of homemade trail mix – raw almonds and cashews with a few organic cranberries and 70% chocolate pieces
- A couple mini-containers of protein powder mix (usually 1 scoop Whey, 1/2 scoop Vegan, and a serving of quality fiber)
Why these things? They travel well, and they’re great sources of protein, which tends to be lighter on the vacation menu.
Plus, these foods are perfect for stabilizing blood sugar, which keeps the hunger hormones at bay so when you do go out and eat, you’re not ravenous and end up overdoing it with the garbage food.
And if your vacation is such that you can go to the local grocery store – then by all means!
A couple months ago I landed in a Walmart on vacation, in their food area.
To my surprise, I found several items that made great all-day snacks for myself and the family: nitrate-free deli turkey slices, clean guacamole, organic carrots, organic cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, ogranic raspberries and strawberries, and organic raw cashews. Who knew?
Do you adjust every meal while on vacation? Or eat all your meals from your suitcase? Um, heck no. But 80% of the time? Yes, and the other 20% . . . enjoy 😉
To sum up, are all of these make-due-with-a-healthier-option meals ideal? Not necessarily.
But are they GREAT options for being on vacation? Absolutely!
Let me know if this inspired you. And if it did – share with a button below so we can inspire others as well.
Here’s to great vacations and feeling great in your swim suit,