By Crystal McCormick
Gone are the days when all vacations were simply excuses to overindulge in food and drink, with guilt accompanying extra pounds as travelers board their flights home.
Healthy habits are no longer only confined to building your ultimate swimwear body. Today, they carry through the entire vacation, and often serve as the theme of the trip in the first place (see wellness vacations!).
To make sure you don’t throw all that hard work away on a two-week vacation, we’ve rounded up 9 simple ways to have a fun and healthy vacation, without leaving with an unwanted souvenir around your midsection.
1. Have a Good Breakfast
We’ve all heard the first meal of the day is the most important, and this is especially true while on vacation. Not only will eating a healthy breakfast fuel you for the day ahead, but starting the day off with a large, healthy breakfast can halt those midday cravings that often lead to overindulgence.
All-inclusives like Moon Palace Resorts and Palace Resorts offer breakfast buffets with plenty of healthy options, including plenty of fresh fruit to compliment your eggs and toast so that you concentrate on good times and not gluttony on your trip.
2. Enjoy Frequent Meals
Between sightseeing and fun in the sun, it’s all too easy to forget to eat while on holiday, but extreme hunger is a surefire way to sabotage your healthy habits.
Some studies suggest eating five small meals throughout your day instead of three large meals to keep your metabolism in high gear and avoid food sitting in your stomach, making you feel full and sluggish. Another benefit is that eating small amounts of food will provide you with sustained energy, without the risk of additional calories stored as fat.
3. Don’t Drink Too Much Calories
One of the easiest ways to gain unwanted vacation weight is to overindulge in too many cocktails. Though relaxing by the pool with an umbrella-adorned beverage is part of the experience, you might want to stop short of that morning Bloody Mary. Save it for an afternoon beachside margarita or a couple of glasses of wine with dinner. Otherwise, you’ll hit your calorie count for the day through a liquid diet – and probably welcome in some unwanted hangovers, as well.
4. Shop the Local Markets for Fruits and Veggies
Just because you are away from home does not mean that you’re confined to eating at restaurants for every meal.
When vacationing in Jamaica and Cancun, there are tons of local street stands and markets that make it easy to stock up on healthy options, such as fresh local fruit, sliced veggies, or other native foods to store in your hotel refrigerator. Whether a salad or mixed veggies, getting in your daily greens while on vacation provides lots of healthy nutrients, plus they’re full of water and fiber that will help curb your appetite.
5. Burn Off the Extra Calories
If counting calories and limiting your portions is the last thing you want to do while on vacation, focus on staying active to prevent putting on unwanted pounds.
At Palace Resorts and Moon Palace Resorts, there’s a plethora of exciting (and calorie-burning) activities that will keep weight gain at bay. With everything from Zumba and CrossFit-style classes, to a private instructor-led aqua spinning class, you can find the perfect balance of exercise and fun.
6. Load Up on H20
It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, making it easy to reach for a snack or a full-blown meal instead of a bottle of water.
To keep hydrated instead of overeating, drink a glass or two of water when a food craving hits, and then wait. If you are still feeling pangs of hunger, find a good snack or meal option like almonds or some locally sourced fruit.
7. Try a Wellness Vacation
Wellness vacations are not only one of the latest travel trends, but they're also the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing holiday without sacrificing healthy choices.
When vacationing in Mexico, you can take advantage of the wellness suites at Moon Palace Cancun which offers direct access to an exclusive Wellness Area pool, special room service menu with healthy options, access to aqua spinning bikes, a private instructor, and more.
8. Mind Your Portions
You don’t have to deprive yourself from eating and trying new foods while on your getaway, just remember to control the size of your portions at each meal, since portion control can make or break your healthy eating habits, especially with restaurants super-sizing meals.
When eating at a restaurant, order a few small appetizer plates instead of one main entree. By ordering smaller portions, you can sample more of the delicious local food while watching your waistline.
9. Pace Yourself
Let’s not kid ourselves, you’re on vacation and are definitely entitled to a little indulgence when it comes to eating. Luckily, indulgence doesn’t have to mean every meal is filled with buttery/sugary/greasy deliciousness where you’ll probably wind up going home heavier than when you arrived.
Instead of treating yourself at every meal, experts say pick and choose how you want to indulge wisely. “You can and should let yourself enjoy one ‘cheat’ food each day, but be selective and pick something that is unique to that destination,” advises New York-based nutritionist Joy Bauer to the New York Times .
Whether it’s enjoying Jamaica’s fresh, local delicacies at any one of the four restaurants at Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios, or satiating your sweet tooth with one of famed pastry chef Antonio Bachour's signature desserts at Beach Palace in the Cancun Hotel Zone, the key to enjoying your vacation to the maximum is balancing indulgence with prudence.