How to Stay on Track on Vacation

vacation college nutritionist

So many of us fantasize and build up our upcoming vacations - and even sometimes try to lose a few pounds beforehand.


We get to the vacation and want to eat our favorite foods or try new foods - without blowing our diet or having to start all over when we get home.

Here are my top tips for staying on track with your goals while on vacation - while STILL being able to enjoy yourself!

First, though:

If you’re on a weight loss journey, the goal for vacation is just to maintain your weight - not to lose. Please enjoy yourself :)

1. Think About: What are you looking forward to MOST?

Are you looking forward to eating at a certain restaurant? A certain type of food in general?

Whatever it is, you should absolutely plan to eat it in your vacation - this is your life, enjoy yourself!


Let’s plan the day around it.

For example, if you’re following my “Rules of Thumb”, you know that I recommend sticking with 1 starchy food per day.

Starchy foods include grains like bread, rice, pasta, and quinoa, but also starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, peas, corn, hummus, French fries, etc. Here's a list of starchy foods and non-starchy veggies.

So! If you’re looking forward to a certain burger, let’s stick with the bun as the starch.

Or, if you’re looking forward to a certain pizza place, let’s stick with that as our starch for the day.

If you’re at a wedding or a special occasion, let’s stick with either 2-3 small apps with starch (like pigs in a blanket, mini hamburger sliders, etc.) OR the starch you’ll typically get with the entree - so the potatoes, the pasta, etc.

Note: A good thing to do when you’re at home is to measure out 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, peas, etc., put it on a plate and really LOOK at what that looks like. This way, when you’re out, you’ll know what 1 portion is.

2. At Buffets: Survey the scene to pick the BEST choice

I always want the ladies in my course to eat the foods they love, and not waste time on "mediocre” foods :)

Therefore, a good thing to do is to really survey the scene of the foods you have available to you - look around and see all that is available, and then make the best choice - or choose the food that looks THE BEST and TASTIEST to you.

This goes for breakfast buffets, appetizer bars, etc.

3. For alcohol

Alternate Alcoholic Drinks with Seltzer

A good way to…

  • slow down the amount of alcohol you’re drinking, and

  • stay hydrated (to avoid hangovers and “munchies” food later that night and the next day)

is to alternate the alcoholic drinks you’re consuming with seltzer. That means, after every alcoholic drink, get one or two glasses of seltzer or water in between the next alcoholic drink.

Another good thing to do is to add a wedge or two of lemon or lime to your seltzer (or water if you don’t like the bubbles) - this way, it still can appear that you’re drinking (to ward off those people pushing you to drink too much!) and can make the in-between drinks more enjoyable!

Stick with Alcohol That Doesn’t Have Sugary Mixers

I do generally recommend an overall diet low in sugar which I believe is better for one’s health.

Here are some good examples to choose from:

  • Wine

  • Prosecco or champagne

  • Light beer

  • Hard alcohol + seltzer/ water/ or a low-calorie beverage like a diet soda

Ask for the Bartender to Make you “Weak” Drinks

This way, you can drink for a longer period of time without getting tooooo tipsy and then, let’s be honest, spiraling into “munchies” and fried food types of eating late at night and the next day.

Ask the bartender to make you drinks that have 1/2 the amount of alcohol they usually do.

So, for example, ask for a half-shot in a vodka soda, or a half-shot in a rum & diet coke.

OR, Ask for the Bartender to Pour You “Half” Drinks

Similar to above, ask the bartender to pour you half a glass of wine, or half a glass of prosecco.

Take a Dessert with You When You Leave

This is a tip I got from a friend in high school that I never forgot, which REALLY helps me.

Survey the scene (like we did with the appetizers) and find the BEST looking dessert - whether that’s the cake, a cupcake, a donut, etc. and pick it up and take it WITH YOU when you leave.

This way, you’re still having dessert, but there’s not a chance for seconds, thirds, or fourths!

4. Bring snacks

Here are my favorite non-perishable snacks:

5. Look at menus ahead of time

This can also save you $$ from not having to stop at a random restaurant because you’re starving!

6. At breakfast

Take with you extra yogurts, hard boiled eggs, and packets of peanut butter. Bring them to your room & store them in your mini fridge.

7. On that note! Call your hotel ahead of time

And ask them to de-stock your mini fridge with their alcohol & make sure your mini fridge is turned on. That way you can use it to store extra food you haven’t eaten yet.

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