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  • Writer's pictureAshlee, RD, LD

How to Eat Healthy While on Vacation

Did you know that it IS possible to eat healthy while on vacation? ☀️ I spent the past weekend on the beach visiting multiple local restaurants and at some points--the temptation was real! Between seeing mouthwatering pictures of brownie a la mode on the menu to reading the menu description of a juicy steak with buttery potatoes, it can be hard to say no.

Usually I encourage patients to strive to eat at least one healthy meal per day while on vacation so that they don’t feel as guilty about splurging on the cocktails and desserts later. Limiting the calories in one meal can compensate for when another meal is consumed that isn't as healthy. A lot of restaurants are very accommodating to make modifications to your menu if requested. Some restaurants even have a "healthier or lighter fare" menu which can be a great alternative.

Here’s a couple tips to eat healthy while on vacation:

  • Order your meats grilled, not breaded. Usually if a food is breaded it means it has been deep fat fried. Save yourself 300-400 extra calories by opting for grilled.

  • Say NO to the empty calories (butter, sour cream). Beware of the sides that come with extra toppings (example: mashed potatoes). Ask for plain potatoes with toppings on the side so that you can control the amount of extra calories.

  • Skip the appetizers. This one is self explanatory: save yourself the money and extra calories by limiting the appetizers.

  • Choose veggies as a side (sorry, french fries don’t count as a side!)

  • Beware of the bread brought before the meal. A couple slices with butter can add an extra 400-500 calories per meal

  • Limited added sauces. Resist the urge to drench every single item in Ranch dressing or honey mustard- these can add an extra 100-400 calories. If you are really craving a sauce, opt for a lower calorie option such as buffalo sauce, mustard or a light Italian dressing.

  • Practice portion control. Restaurants are notorious for giving large portions which can be 2-3 times the size of a normal serving. If you are going to splurge, consider sharing the meal with a friend. Another tip is to only eat half of the meal or opt out on the sides.

Following these tips can save 1000+ calories during meal time!

This is a picture of a "lighter fare" at a restaurant: grilled chicken seasoned with pepper, mashed potatoes (without the added butter & sour cream) and a side of peppers and carrots. It was delicious!

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