Take advantage of the setting
A beautiful beach destination is a great place to scorch calories. “Jogging on the beach works your muscles harder than jogging in the city,” says fitness expert Brendan J. Fox. Plus, the sand cushions the impact, which means your body will experience less repetitive stress. Post-run you can hit the water to cool off with some swimming. If the ocean looks more appealing than the pool, Fox recommends swimming lengthwise along the shoreline, rather than straight out to stay safe.
Put on your walking shoes
Walking is one of the easiest ways to sneak in a calorie burn without sacrificing precious vacation time. A quick way to amp up a leisurely stroll is with bouts of brisk walking, says Fox. This could be as simple as picking a landmark and walking briskly until you reach your target, walking at a relaxed pace until you recover and then repeating. “High effort walking will engage the heart and lungs for better cardio, and your metabolism will get revved up for greater fat burning,” explains Fox.
Plan ahead and pack snacks
Being hungry and left wandering the airport in search of food is a surefire way to end up scarfing down sugary or high-fat foods. The problem is packaged, processed snack foods like chips, candy, baked goods and chocolate bars won’t fill you up for long. They’ll actually end up intensifying your cravings for carbs and sugars throughout your travels, says registered dietitian Sarah Remmer. Instead, pack healthy snacks such as high-fiber granola bars, fruit, nuts and seeds, or whole-wheat crackers and peanut butter, so you’re never without a healthy option.
Watch your alcohol intake
A little sand, sun and a few margaritas sounds innocent enough, but those 200- to 400-calorie drinks can quickly add up. Plus, you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices when you’ve had a few too many. “Make sure you have a good meal before you start drinking,” says Remmer; a full stomach will help slow the absorption of alcohol into the body. She also suggests choosing drinks that aren’t overly sugary. Opt for mixes like soda water or diet soda. Trick yourself into thinking you’ve had more by choosing bottled beer instead of cans (there is less in a bottle) and drinking from a smaller wine glass (you’ll take less, but it will look like more), explains Remmer. And always try to have water or soda water in-between drinks to stay hydrated.
Giving up your favourite treats on vacation isn’t exactly the definition of a great escape. The best way to indulge in your can’t miss favorites is to do it mindfully, says Remmer. “Be picky,” she says. “Indulge in treats that you really love and when you do have a treat, portion it out.” Let yourself enjoy it and know that you can have more tomorrow. A “get it in now” mentality will guarantee a pig-out.
Master the buffet table
The countless options at the buffet table can be intimidating, especially if you’re trying to make healthy choices. The first place to start is with your plate. “Choose a smaller plate,” advises Remmer. “You’ll take less.” Fill half of your plate with salads or veggies, then head straight over to the protein-rich foods like meats, fish, and beans, filling one-quarter of your plate with lower-fat options. The last quarter of your plate can be one or two grain or starch options like pasta, rice or bread, preferably opting for whole grains. “Give yourself 30 minutes to finish your first portion,” says Remmer, “and if you’re not quite full head back for more veggies and protein.”