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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Stock

The Ultimate Guide to Eating Well on Vacation

two people lounging on chairs on the beach

This is the time of year when people in cold climates start taking vacations to warmer places.  Spending a week at an all-inclusive resort is a great way to unwind and get some sun, but it can be a stressful time for those trying to make healthy food choices.  The good news is, it doesn’t have to be!  There are strategies that can be put in place to balance both healthy eating and enjoying your vacation, including the food and drinks that come along with beach life. 

#1: Prepare yourself

#2: Scan the buffet and other tips


Eating well tip #1: Prepare yourself

Vacation is meant to be a break from real life.  That includes everything, including eating.  When thinking of long term health goals, consistency is key!  One way to maintain consistency is to take breaks, to allow yourself to ease off the gas from time to time.  Vacation is a great way to do this. You’re already not going to be at home with your familiar foods, so it’s easy to allow yourself a break from your normal eating routine; this may make it easier to stick with it when you’re home. 

That said, it can be scary to let go of your plan and routine entirely, but you don’t have to do that (more on that in the next steps).  Thinking about what your vacation will look like can be helpful. 

So, as you’re booking your trip and packing your bags, start thinking about what’s going to happen from an eating perspective.  You know there will be unlimited food and drink, so how do you want to handle it? 

Regardless of what you decide to do on vacation, make sure part of your plan includes getting back on track as soon as you walk through the door of your house. 

Eating well tip #2: Scan the buffet and other tips

When you are finally on vacation and have decided to have some strategies to keep your healthy eating practices going, consider using the following.

Scan the buffet – when you arrive at the buffet, do a pass to see what’s on offer.  There’s nothing worse than loading up your plate early on, then having no room for the good stuff later on!  So, do a lap to see what you really want and what can wait.  You might want to stick to the basics, such as French fries, chicken wings, whatever, or maybe you want to load up on the stuff you don’t have regularly.  There is no right answer, just make sure you’re eating the foods you really want, no filler.


Manage alcohol – The calories from alcohol can add up fast, and when you’re on vacation, wanting to relax and have unlimited access to alcohol, it can be hard to regulate.  Consider alternating one alcoholic drink with one calorie-free drink (preferably water).  This will slow your alcohol intake down a little bit without feeling like you’re restricting yourself.


Do some exercise – You don’t need to hit the gym or swim laps if you don’t want to but moving your body a little every day can help you feel good. Consider walking the beach, doing a lap of the resort, or join a fitness class on the beach, whatever!  Moving your body helps your digestion, which will make you feel better. 

Eating well tip #3: Let go, then get back on track

Make sure you don’t pack any guilt on vacation!  It’s important to enjoy these times off when you get them and make it all worth it.  You can plan ahead, keeping vacation part of the bigger, healthy eating plan.

If you bring guilt with you on vacation, you won’t enjoy yourself, you might annoy the people you went on vacation with, and it’ll be harder to stay on track when you’re back at home, since you never really got a break.  So, make sure you differentiate between home life and vacation life. 


Similar to the 80/20 I’ve talked about (here), healthy eating is all about what you do most of the time.  So, if you’re on vacation for a week once or twice a year, but you eat well the other 50 weeks of the year, nothing you do on vacation will make a long-term difference. 

Sure, you might weight a few more pounds when you first get home, but your weight will correct itself very soon thereafter if you get back on track.


If you’re going on vacation soon and are wondering how you’re going to fit your healthy eating plan into your vacation, reach out!  

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