Spring break time is here and many families will be getting away for some quality vacation time. Although the purpose of vacation is to take a break, relax and have fun, it is worthwhile to maintain some healthy habits for the family. First, a drastic change in diet, especially for kids, can lead to some major mood swings. It is also crucial to remember that many people experience digestive issues while traveling, such as diarrhea or constipation. This can put a bit of a damper on having a good time. Lastly, straying from healthy habits during a vacation can carry over and continue when a family arrives at home again after a long trip.
Here are some tips to stay healthy on vacation:
- Plan ahead. Research the area and find out what food options are available. By doing this, you can avoid last-minute decisions, such as fast food or vending machines. It is almost always healthier (and more cost-effective) to eat food cooked from home. Take advantage if your accommodations include a kitchen and/or a refrigerator. For example, a simple breakfast such as oatmeal or eggs and cereal are easy to make. They are also healthier than pastries and juice in the lobby. You
can also buy or bring healthy snacks, such as fruit or granola bars, instead of giving the kids candy and ice cream.
- Beware of buffets. These are common in vacation towns and are a hallmark of all-inclusive resorts. All-you-can-eat does not mean that you should eat too much. Overeating will cause stomach aches, diarrhea or constipation. To avoid overeating, limit meals to one plate full. Another tactic would be to have plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein first. Once your appetite has been stifled a bit, you can then go back for richer foods.
- Parents- caution with alcoholic beverages. It is easy to get carried away with drinking alcohol on vacation. Not only are these drinks very high in calories, but they also impair our ability to make healthy food choices. Of course, alcohol is also dehydrating. Be aware that many typical vacation-inspired alcoholic drinks are loaded with sugar (think margaritas, pina coladas, strawberry daiquiris, etc). Ask if they can be made with less sugar or as “skinny”.
- Remember physical activity. Some people think of physical activity as a chore, therefore, it is not a welcome part of a relaxing vacation. If you think of exercise as a stress-reliever that increases your energy and overall vitality, then some physical activity is a perfect addition to your vacation. Hopefully, your kids will stay active while on vacation- playing outdoors, swimming, biking, hiking, etc. Joining them gives you quality time and the benefits of physical activity. Other great vacation activities include walking on the beach, swimming in the ocean, playing a round of golf or joining a tennis or sand volleyball match.
- Stay hydrated. If your family is spending long days in the sun, make sure to offer plenty of water throughout the day. Water is the best source of hydration and is always a better choice than sugary beverages. Bring bottled water for the family any time you leave the house. Staying well-hydrated also helps keep digestion regular.
Follow these tips to stay healthy on vacation. Most importantly, have a great time with the kids!