Vacation is the time to switch off – to spend time with the people you love most, in a great new place, away from the stresses of work and personal life. And if you’re like most people, it also means eating – on the beach, on the go, and eaten at many of your favorite restaurants, leaving you with questions about what to eat on vacation while leading a healthy lifestyle.
You can either indulge and hold your progress or skip all the fun things and miss out on the fun of the vacation. But these are not the only options! You can eat delicious foods, have your favorites, enjoy your vacation and still stick to your weight loss plan.
Here are some simple guidelines to help you know exactly what likely dining options to eat while on vacation:
Quickly grab something to start your day of adventure? Great Idea: A survey by the National Weight Control Registry found that nearly 80 percent of people who had maintained a 30 pound weight loss for at least a year ate breakfast daily. Ninety percent of those who kept those 30 pounds off ate breakfast at least five times a week. But a coffee shop’s glass case full of pastries and plentiful high-calorie liquid offerings may not be your route to success – in fact, it can be a weight loss minefield.
- One less pump in your coffee: If you’re a flavored coffee lover, try your favorite treat with a little less sweetness. Instead of three or four pumps, try it with just one or two pumps of flavor instead of a drink. This can cut the calories in your drink by 20 to 60 calories per pump while still giving you the taste you love.
- “Other” milk: Milk is good for the body, but alternative “milk” such as almond and oat milk can be better for your waistline. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a whole cup of unsweetened almond milk has only 30 calories, compared to 86 calories for skimmed milk. You get all the creaminess in your coffee you crave, but with more space for a delicious vacation Flex meal later that day.
- Muffins: If you’re wondering what to eat at the coffee house on vacation, there are some sugar-filled goodies that are not recommended for breakfast. No doubt muffins are delicious. Nutrisystem’s Double Chocolate Muffin is one of our members’ all-time favorites (so stock up on your trip if you’re a muffin lover!). But coffee house muffins are often loaded with calories. Muffins from many national coffee chains could cost 500 calories or more.
- Let the staff add your cream cheese: When the barista puts on your bagel (or better yet, your English muffin), it can get a little schmear-happy and potentially add a few hundred calories to your smart morning pick. Instead, ask about the cream cheese on the side: a tablespoon of reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese equals an additional one Grocery guide from Nutrisystemsystem– So stick with this safe portion and enjoy the creaminess without feeling guilty.
- Bagels: Bagels are so tasty, but according to the USDA, they are often more than twice as many calories as an English muffin. No chance of missing out on your morning bagel? No problem! We have a delicious Honey and Wheat Bagels You can just pack for your next trip!
One of the best parts of the vacation is not rushing out the door in the morning. It’s a great time to really enjoy morning meal – and a pancake house is a great place for favorites that the whole family can love. This is how you make sure that your order satisfies your taste buds and your weight loss plan.
- Omelets: Naturally! Researchers found in 2013 that dieters who ate 35 or more grams of muscle-building, high-protein breakfast for breakfast ate fewer high-fat and high-sugar snacks in the evening than people who either skipped breakfast or ate cereal. And eggs are a great source: each has only 70 calories and six grams of protein. Fill your omelette order with veggies and you’ll get a head start on eating your four to five servings of starch-free, high-fiber veggies for the day that help Nutrisystem members stay full and satisfied.
- Top your pancakes with fruit: Pouring maple syrup over a short stack is a treat, but all that sweetness comes with baggage – added sugar. And added sugar can be fatal: A 2014 study found that people who consume 17 to 21 percent of their daily calories from added sugar increased the risk of death from heart disease by 38 percent. So stick to a tablespoon of sugar-free maple syrup or top your pancakes with something wholesome but still sweet: fruit that contains natural sugar is not added. That means it brings in nutrients your body needs and fiber to keep you full. You can add a whole cup of strawberries to your Nutrisystem plan for just one SmartCarb.
- Combination foods: As in any restaurant, the portions in pancake houses have exploded, with more and more calories on each plate. The biggest culprits at these seated breakfast spots are combo foods that combine two or more breakfast favorites in one dish: things like pancakes WITH a loaded omelette or French toast with bacon, eggs and breakfast potatoes.
You might be heading to the coast for a vacation, so of course you want the freshest fish you can get all year round. Seafood restaurants are known to be luxurious, but here’s the good news: many of the dishes you consider the most indulgent are some of the most slimming options on a restaurant’s menu.
- Crab cocktail: Like needing an excuse! But even if you had a whole shrimp cocktail appetizer with the whole cocktail sauce, you’d still be under 200 calories. You’ll also box in 21 grams of filling protein, which means the rest of your meal will feel even more filling (nutritional information from redlobster.com).
- Lobster: It couldn’t be more indulgent with the whole lobster – and surprisingly low in calories. According to Medical News Today, a full cup of cooked lobster has only 129 calories, without butter, of course. So be careful with the immersion and you’ll stay well in your target area.
- Fried fish: You are by the sea! Keep it fresh. Fried fish not only takes the taste straight from the sea, it also puts a load on calories. Many fish and chip plates can contain more than 1,000 calories. Go well with grilled fish, fresh shellfish or steamed mussels in non-creamy sauces.
- High-calorie side dishes: Like a steakhouse, seafood restaurants often serve side dishes filled with butter and excess calories. But almost all of them offer steamed broccoli too: give it a try to add some crunch to your next fish meal, while getting one or more of your daily servings of starch-free vegetables at the same time.
After a long day of hoofing and sightseeing, it’s hard to beat a smoothie to refresh and recharge your batteries. But don’t let liquid calories ruin all of your day of exercise. Save some for a holiday-worthy dinner by following these plan-friendly smoothie shop tips.
- Whole fruit instead of fruit juice: As with the syrup vs. fruit in the pancake house, not only can you save calories and grams of sugar, but also add fiber with a smoothie that contains whole fruit instead of fruit juice or sorbet. A strawberry smoothie from a national chain can use sorbet or ice cream as a base, so it’s likely loaded with sugar. Instead, ask to swap almond milk, skimmed milk, whole fruit, and no added sugar.
- Get one with vegetables: Eating vegetables on vacation can be challenging, but they’re key to being successful on vacation Programs like Nutrisystem. However, one of the beauties of smoothies is that vegetable flavors can be blended into a sweet treat and mask the taste. Smoothie options that contain vegetables are often lower in calories and may contain fiber while still having the flavors of bananas, peaches, strawberries, and more.
Nothing says vacation like room service: A lazy day in your room can be the ultimate antidote to stressful weeks and months at work. It’s fast. It is comfortable. But there can also be a potential problem with room service food choices while on vacation: sometimes the food is just not that good. It’s not about healthy food – although it is – but not good: It’s food that isn’t fresh, tasty and as expected at your door. You are on holiday. Your meals should be delicious. Here’s how to better serve room service – both in terms of taste and nutritional value.
- Cold sandwiches instead of hot: The bun on a room service burger is often mushy, a problem for many room service dishes. Stick to cold dishes and ask for the mayo as a side dish: this will keep the bread fresher and you can have a healthy serving in line with Nutrisystem guidelines.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables instead of french fries: French fries are never cold or mushy. Sitting under a steaming platter on the way from your hotel’s intestines to your room, those perfect pieces of potato are likely to arrive in these two pathetic conditions. (The same goes for almost every fried option on a room service menu). Save yourself the deep fried food if you can get it crispy and still enjoy crispy fruits and vegetables when you order to your room.
- Pasta with sauce: What should you eat when ordering while on vacation? Like any takeaway pasta, it will likely be a little gummy when it arrives, and the steam in the container will make the sauce watery. Skip it!