Healthy Eating on Vacation for the Whole Family

Traveling with kids, keeping on track with your fitness and nutrition, and saving money all at the same time?

Sound like an impossible dream?

With a few simple strategies, you can achieve all three while enjoying your dining experience while out of town, whether you’re visiting a tropical island paradise or a villa in the South of France.

Below are my top five tips that have worked time and time again, including our most recent travel with a toddler.

  • Before travel, research what your food and dining options will be, whether you’re at an all-inclusive resort, a rental home in an urban area or a villa in the country.    The more you know in advance, the better you’ll know what, if anything, you’ll need to bring.    Plane travel can be tough on little ones, so a flight planned at a time around their nap time can save lots of trial and tribulations.    Bring easy to carry on snack options such as clean jerky, like EPIC BARS, coconut butter packets, and some low sugar fresh fruit, like granny smith apples.    Water is easy to come by and depending on how long the flight is, sometimes the meals on the plane can pass muster.  Be sure to check first with your airline about what options are going to be, so that if they’re not going to offer anything other than chips, candy and sandwiches, you can plan out everything in advance and carry it on with you.
  • Plan out your timetable of when you’ll workout,  when you’ll eat and what your kids can do in order to strategically get tired and nap (if they’re still of napping age).    It takes a village at home, and that village may not travel with you.    On vacation, it can be far easier for mom and dad to divvy up the time so that each can have their own time to workout, which benefits the whole family as everyone will be in a better mood and more equipped to relax (as much as a parent can!) for the rest of the day poolside, oceanside or out doing touristy things.
  • For mom and dad, a morning coffee with heavy cream or raw butter after a few glasses of water first thing in the morning can be sufficient to carry through back to back workout sessions (one works out while the other stays with the kids), ending in ample time to head to the breakfast buffet.  We’ve found that not only does the timing work out regardless of where in the world we may be traveling, that workouts are done and an hour or so may be left to have ample time to eat.
  • Although the word ‘buffet’ might bring to mind options far from healthy, with growing consciousness of what to eat and being mindful about where our food is coming from, it’s easier and easier to pile your plates high with veggie options, olive oil, a sprinkling of local fresh fruit and a few assorted protein options. Most also offer local, fresh fruit to take along for later, which can come in handy for the kids.   Since this meal might be eaten around 11:30 or noon, and has enough fat and little sugar, it can easily be enough to carry you through until dinner.   Kids can snack on Chomps (grass fed jerky sticks), sprouted nuts and local fresh fruit.  Here’s where the savings come in – two meals per day rather than three in a resort equals a happy wallet!
  • Finally, don’t forget to add some intentional decadence into the mix, whether it’s a dessert, a drink or both.   Knowing in advance which foods in these categories that you, personally can tolerate without consequence is extremely important.     (For me, a piece of dark chocolate more often, and once in a while, a flourless chocolate torte are my dessert options, but in all honesty, having become fat adapted long ago, I’d prefer a spoonful of raw butter or coconut oil any day to cake!  And from a drinks perspective, it’s a neat mezcal or grain-free vodka over wine or a sugary cocktail, always).   Being able to enjoy these things sometimes, really leaning into it and understanding that having these sometimes does not equal a fail but a win is a large part of why this balanced approach to strategic eating truly works for the long haul.

By implementing these tips, you can rest assured that you truly can enjoy all parts of your vacation and come home without any of that old, uninteresting guilt you may once have experienced.. and you may even find you’re a few pounds lighter on the scale and a few notches more elevated in spirit.

Happy Travels!