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During my recent trip to the Riviera Maya with Daniel I started thinking about some tips on how to stay healthy while on vacation. This is just as much a list I wanted to share with others, as it is one that I can use as a reminder during my future trips. As I started to think about my top tips, I also started implementing them while on the trip. I was pretty happy with my eating and working out at the end of the trip, and was still able to try all the foods I wanted to! That’s a double win, if you ask me. Believe me when I tell you that there were TONS of fish tacos and plenty of pizza, bread, pasta, mojitos, and dessert to be had, so tip number 6 is really important!
1. Start the day off with a healthy breakfast!
This is ideal to get your day started on the right note. You will have plenty of time later in the day to indulge and try new foods, but make sure you eat a balance of carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats. Most days my breakfast was scrambled eggs with veggies, one slice of multigrain toast with jam, fresh fruit, and a latte.
2. Get in at least 30 minutes of cardio each day.
Chances are pretty high that you aren’t going to stick to the same workout frequency and intensity as you normally would at home, so try to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio each day. Cardio is any activity that gets your heart elevated for a sustained period of time. Think: speed walking, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, or hitting the gym for a quick HIIT or cardio session. It doesn’t have to be something fancy and intense.
During our trip, Daniel and I did a lot of walking, so that was usually our cardio for the day. I can’t say that it made our heartbeats super elevated, but some days we did close to an hour of walking and lots of sweating thanks to the warm weather.
3. Drink LOTS of water.
If you are vacationing in a warm place, then you are probably sweating more than usual and need to be drinking even more water than you normally would. Staying hydrated helps you stay full longer, keeps your energy levels high, and is key to keeping your metabolism humming along. Enough reasons to convince you to drink tons of water? Most research suggests you should drink half your body weight in ounces (ex: if you weigh 200 lbs you should be drinking 100 ounces of water), but even more if you are exercising/sweating a lot.
4. Focus on protein at every meal.
Similar to #1 on the list, try to get in a lean protein at every meal. This will keep you full longer between meals. Research suggests you should get anywhere from .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. This isn’t always easy to do, so bring protein bars if you think it’s going to be hard to meat your daily quota. My favorites are Quest Bars (this is an affiliate link and I appreciate your support to keep 24 Carrot Life going). I didn’t eat a bar every day, but when I needed a little pick me up in the afternoon I either shared a Quest Bar with Daniel or had the whole thing depending on how hungry I was.
5. Eat only when you’re hungry and only until you’re 80% full.
This is a big one for me because I often stuff myself on vacation and eat even when I’m not hungry. I easily get into a “I don’t often eat X food so I’m going to take advantage of this moment and eat lots of it” mentality, which means I get so full I can barely move. This is not ideal for a number of reasons, but it’s really not ideal when I’m on a beach vacation and need to be in a bathing suit. I like to use the 80% full rule to keep myself in check with this.
6. Enjoy and don’t stress!
I know I said this was “5 Tips”, but I couldn’t leave this last one out. Enjoy your time, don’t stress too much about what your eating, and know that you can get back on track once you are home. You’re on vacation for goodness sake! This is always a big one for me, because I tend to get into a cycle of overeating followed by regret and guilt. When I stick to the above tips, though, I am able to try new foods and indulge a bit more than I normally would without overdoing it too much! I also lift pretty heavy weights for my workouts and I find that this helps my body bounce back pretty quickly after a week or two of taking off from my usual workout schedule.
*This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to stay healthy. What are some of your favorite tips for staying healthy on vacation? I’d love to add even more to my personal list!