How To Eat Well On A Holiday

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HOLI-YAY! 

We recently returned from a wonderful two-week holiday to the Big Island of Hawai’i (I know, I know). 

It was magical

However, two weeks is a long time to be out of my normal routine with my normal grocery stores and normal meals. 

If we stray too far away from our ‘norm’, there’s a good chance we’ll come home from that special trip feeling ‘blah’, bloated, and ready to do a cleanse. 

This is your body’s natural feedback to things being out of balance. 

Here’s what happened 

Here’s what happened on our last trip to Hawai’i:

I was very excited about the break from everyday life.  I wanted to see new things, eat new food, and not worry about meal planning or creating the perfect balanced meal and snack.  I just wanted to “go with the flow”.  Aloha style.

About 5 days in, I was starting to feel…not awesome.  Tired, a little bloated, not very motivated or energetic, and grouchy.  That annoyed me, because here I am on an awesome holiday in a beautiful location – what the heck is wrong with me??

My body was giving me strong feedback based on my actions.  Too much delicious Kona coffee (and other beverages) and not enough water.  Too many Shave Ice treats and not enough protein-rich snacks.  A little too much sitting at the pool or beach and not as much exercise as I normally do. 

I knew exactly what had happened, and that I would feel like garbage if I kept it up for the remaining week of our holiday. 

Listen, we all need (and even crave) a break from the mundane, but there’s power in routine, and that’s why we often look forward to getting back to it after a time away. 

Whether you escape to an all-inclusive or you’re cooking from your own place, here are some tips to keep you feeling at your best the WHOLE time: 

  1. Let yourself ‘go’ for the first 2-3 days. No restrictions, no expectations.  You need and deserve a   Let yourself have it. 
  2. Check in with your body on day 3-4. How are you feeling? What do you need? Make a simple plan for exercise, hydration, and balanced meals for the rest of your trip. 
  3. Have a drink of water first thing in the morning when you wake up.  The hot, humid climate may be dehydrating you a little more than you realize.  Take your water bottle with you wherever you go, and maybe even try an electrolyte supplement (these are my favourite). 

4. Focus on protein at breakfast. Aim for ~15-30g if you can. 

5. Make half your plate vegetables at lunch and supper. This is especially easy at an all-inclusive, but if you’re cooking from home, pick up bagged salads or frozen veggies. 

6. Plan for a morning exercise session. It could be yoga on the beach, 20-30 minutes of stairs at your resort/building, or go for a run.  If it gets too hot later in the day, we may be less likely to go.  Morning exercise will also boost your metabolism for that day and give you better energy. 

7. When eating out, split an entrée with someone. This will help save a little money and keep the portions smaller. 

8. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness level. Are you going into your next meal already full, but feel the need to finish your plate anyways?  Eat to your hunger and fullness level. 

9. DO NOT RESTRICT. Willpower and saying “I’m good” are still sometimes required, but restricting yourself usually only backfires.  I would recommend telling yourself “I am allowed to eat that, but do I want it?”

Ultimately, if you have the opportunity to escape winter, go and ENJOY!  The Vitamin D (and vitamin Sea) are so powerful for releasing endorphins. 

Pay attention to your body’s feedback and learn from it.  You can trust your body to tell you what you need.  If you need help learning how to do that, please reach out.  It’s such an empowering skill to know what you need and how to best support your body. 

 

Connect with our dietitian to discover what your unique nutrition needs are and how healthy, simple habits can make a difference in you and your family’s lives. 

Written By:

Raina Beugelink

Registered Dietitian

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