Eating Healthy While on Vacation

By: Dianna Yanchis BSc (Nutrition) Candidate
Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD

A vacation is a time to relax, explore new places, try new foods and spend time with friends and family.  Vacations are a much-needed break from our daily routine, however breaking from routine can make it difficult to eat well and stay on track with your health goals.   A little planning before you leave can go a long way in helping you to make healthy food choices. Here are some tips on how to eat healthy while on vacation.

At the resort:


  • Try visiting the salad bar in the resort restaurant’s buffet line before going to the other buffet areas. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables with small servings of meat and starches like pasta and rice. Vegetables are a healthy and low-calorie way to satisfy your hunger so you’re less tempted by any higher-fat, fried foods on the buffet line.
  • When choosing a main dish, choose lean meat like fish or poultry. Also, pay attention to how the food is prepared, avoiding dishes that are fried or smothered in gravies and cream sauces. Look for foods that are baked, grilled or steamed.
  • Look for dishes that include whole grains like quinoa, bulgur or brown rice.
  • imagesEnjoy the local, seasonal fresh fruit as dessert. Many tropical regions offer a wide range of exotic fruits like mangos, papaya, and pineapple. Remember to enjoy a sweet dessert once in a while, or split a dessert with a friend.
  • If your room has a stove, fridge or microwave, buy extra groceries to make your own healthy meals and snacks.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated. The calories in alcohol can add up quickly. The Canadian guidelines for alcohol drinking are: no more than 2 drinks per day five times a week for women; and no more than 3 drinks per day five times a week for men.
  • Move, everyday! Just by walking around your resort can help you to stay active and burn energy.

On the road:


  • Pack healthy snacks and lunches. Foods like fresh fruit, pre-cut vegetables, nuts and seeds, sandwiches, whole grain crackers with low fat cheese and granola bars are easy to pack and very nutritious. You will save time and money!
  • Plan to eat every four to five hours. This is important in ensuring you are not skipping meals or waiting too long between meals, as this will cause your energy levels to decrease and leave you feeling very hungry.  This makes it very difficult when trying to make healthy food choices and cravings for high-fat foods become very prominent.
  • Take stretch breaks! This will increase energy levels and alertness.
  • Eat meals outside of the car. This will help you to listen to hunger and satiety signals.
  • When stopping at restaurants, try to choose menu options that are lower in fat, sodium and calories. Look for foods that are grilled or baked instead of fried. Stick to smaller servings and avoid the extra cheese, gravy or sauces.

Most importantly enjoy your time away, relax and make fun the priority! Enjoy different foods and keep your health on track.

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