You want to eat it all– and you should. There’s almost no better way to explore a culture than through its food. Here’s how to indulge without blowing your health goals.
Do the dirty work before you leave
Plan how you’re going to reach your fitness goals while you’re on vacation before you actually go on vacation. You’re not going to set up a diet plan while you’re sipping margs on the beach (or maybe you will, more power to you.) Consider these things:
What active activities will I be doing/near? For instance, if you know before you go on your beach vacation that swimming for half an hour will meet your fitness goals, you’re more likely to swim a little bit every day.
What foods do I need to pack/find substitutes for?
What’s the bare minimum I need to do to stay on track?
Use those leggy-legs
You don’t have to hit the gym while traveling. Spend your time exploring. You have plenty of time when you return home to hit the gym. Look for walking and biking tours, plan a hike, or simply get lost (safely) wandering around the sites.
Skip the hotel breakfast (it usually sucks anyways)
Eat what the locals eat for breakfast, even if that’s a pastry. How often are you in the streets of Italy or France? Indulge! But skip the hotel’s pastries, waffles, pancakes and bacon. Grab a piece of fresh fruit or bring healthy breakfast bars with you instead.
Water, you fool
You already know this but I’m going to tell you again for the gazillionth time: Water is good for you. Water is your friend. Drink lots of it. You’ll probably have to budget for bottled water even if the drinking water is safe, but it’s well worth it.
Eat the damn food (desert and all)
Eating local cuisine is one of the best ways to experience a new culture. And feeling guilty about eating isn’t good for you or your trip. Try it all. Don’t beat yourself up.
But skip the stuff you have at home
You have Doritos at home. Ditto for McDonalds. Skip the empty calories. If possible, get accommodations with a kitchen. If you’re craving familiar food, make food that reminds you of home– it’s cheaper and healthier than eating out.
For Pete’s-sake, it’s a week
How long are you traveling for? A week? Maybe two? You’re not going to ruin your body in that amount of time. Most of the world’s cuisines serve smaller portion sizes and use more vegetables than American cuisine does. And, you’ll probably be walking a lot. Don’t sweat the gelato and bread and pasta– it’s worth it.
And whatever you do, don’t rebound diet
A rebound diet is a sprint of good behavior aimed at making up for overeating or a gaining some weight. Rebound dieting is unsustainable and does more harm than good in the long-term– to your mental health as well as your physical health. Instead of rebounding to a strict diet, stick to something you can do long term.
But also, don’t listen to this list
Don’t change what’s working for you because a list on the internet told you to. Enjoy your travels and eat all the food. You’ll be glad you did.