Maintaining healthy habits on summer vacation can be tough. Think about all the exciting restaurants and cocktails at your destination!
Your vacation doesn’t have to interfere with your weight loss plans. With a positive mindset and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to maintain or lose weight on vacation.
Read on for some helpful tips to consider for your next trip.
1. Do your research on restaurants
Compared to preparing foods at home, eating out may be associated with higher calorie intake and increased body fat.1 If you already have some eateries in mind, glance over their websites for menus, nutrition information and more.
This can help you choose restaurants that offer healthier options and also help you plan out the rest of your day accordingly.
2. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side
Leafy greens and lean proteins are often drizzled with condiments that are higher in calories, fat and sugar. For instance, one packet of ranch dressing contains 189 calories and 20 grams of fat.2 Try sticking with smart portions by asking for sauces and dressing on the side when you order.
Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash
3. Choose in-season fruits and veggies
Summer is the perfect season to work toward weight loss given the warmer weather, longer days and open vacation destinations. It’s also much easier to find seasonal fruits and veggies as part of a healthy vacation meal plan.
Some healthy summer fruits and veggies to try on vacation are cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, arugula, rhubarb, berries, melon, cherries and peaches.
4. Split a meal with your travel buddies
Trying new foods is an essential element of being on vacation. There aren’t any foods that are off-limits for vacation weight loss as long as you’re smart with your portions!
If you want to indulge a little, try splitting an entrée with one of your travel companions. Or, ask for a box when your meal arrives so that you can have leftovers for the next day!
5. Pack nutrient-dense, balanced meals with you
Try to stick to your regular eating plan as much as possible, regardless of whether you’re on vacation or business trips.
To make this easier, consider bringing along Jenny Craig’s travel-friendly meals, such as Fiesta Chicken & Rice or Tuna Dill Salad Kit, to support a healthy vacation meal plan and make your taste buds happy. There’s no counting or cooking required.
6. Consider intermittent fasting on vacation
Have access to healthy, nutritious foods throughout the day, but won’t have access to many foods or drinks after 9 p.m.? You may want to consider trying intermittent fasting on vacation.
A recent study showed that those who participated in Jenny Craig’s intermittent fasting diet plan for eight weeks experienced significant weight loss and improved fasting blood glucose.3 To get started, check out this 7-day intermittent fasting meal plan.
7. Find a local grocery store for your staples
If you’ll be on the go exploring parts of a new city or want to ensure you follow your diet plan, stock up on breakfast, snack and lunch items at a local supermarket. Then, you’ll have more flexibility for dinner to dine out, since you’re more likely to have made some healthy choices throughout the day!
Grabbing some healthy snack options at the grocery store is also a great idea. Baby carrots, sliced cucumber, watermelon slices and air-popped popcorn are all excellent grab-and-go choices.
8. Eat mindfully and track your meals (if it helps!)
Tracking your food intake can help you stay on track with vacation weight loss goals. While all foods can fit into a healthy vacation meal plan, journaling your food intake may help you be more mindful of your choices.
An online behavioral weight-control intervention showed that individuals who logged into their online food diary more often lost more weight.4 Many phone apps can help you without taking up too much of your leisure time.
But don’t get bogged down logging your meals — the intention is to be mindful of your food choices while on vacation. If journaling your food is too time consuming, ditch the phone and focus on eating mindfully. Listen to your body and how you feel before, during and after a meal. And most importantly, enjoy your vacation!
Photo by Chris Ralston on Unsplash
9. Skip the boozy drinks
Hot weather often calls for a round of sugary, alcoholic drinks like margaritas, daiquiris, mimosas and pina coladas while basking in the sun. However, these boozy mixed drinks can sabotage your plan to lose weight on vacation! For example, one margarita can contain 36 grams of added sugar and 279 calories.5
Instead, try mixing up some fresh-cut fruits, herbs, ice cubes, and water in a pitcher or glass for a refreshing summery drink that supports your vacation weight loss.
If you do imbibe, keep it simple and try to avoid added sweeteners and mixers. A glass of wine, a light beer or liquor and soda water are all excellent choices. Remember to also drink in moderation — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend sticking to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.6
10. Take a class that involves movement
Vacation weight loss can be fun! Many summer destinations may offer unique opportunities to have fun and learn something new in the great outdoors.
Check online or with your hotel concierge to see if there are any lessons for kayaking, whitewater rafting, tennis, scuba diving, surfing, mountain biking, beach volleyball and more.
Photo by gradyreese on iStock
11. Incorporate walking into your day
Whether you’re exploring a new city or hanging out at a resort, try to find opportunities to walk throughout the day and climb the stairs. Walking is an easy (and often underrated) way to stay healthy while traveling.
For optimal weight loss, current guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.7 This equates to 30 minutes of brisk walking for five days, which counts as part of your vacation workouts.
12. Pick an accommodation that enables you to be active
Even with the best intentions, it may be tough to incorporate vacation workouts from your hotel room. Weight loss on business trips can be particularly challenging when you might not have time to travel to a local gym or take fitness classes away from your hotel.
An easy way to stay active and lose weight on vacation is to select a hotel with an onsite fitness center, swimming pool, or yoga room. Remember to bring your workout clothes and sneakers!
13. Engage in high-intensity interval training exercises
No equipment? No problem! One randomized controlled trial in women showed that this type of circuit training may support sustained weight loss and fat loss.8
Try adding some high-intensity interval training to your vacation workouts, such as mountain climbers, squats, lunges, bicycle crunches and plank walks. To get your heart rate pumping, do as many reps as possible within 30 seconds, then rest 30 seconds and repeat for each exercise.
The bottom line
With the right vacation workouts and a healthy vacation meal plan in place, you can maintain or lose weight on summer vacation. Use these healthy eating and exercise tips for your next trip to look and feel incredible!
Jenny Craig offers many travel-friendly meals, snacks and breakfasts to support you on your health journey. Start our most effective weight loss program ever — Rapid Results Max — and you can lose up to 17 pounds in your first 4 weeks!*
* First 4 weeks only. Average weight loss in study was 13 lbs. for those who completed the program.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Certified Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.