23 Mar Your Spring Break Nutrition Game Plan
By Alicia Slusarek, Contributing Blogger
Whether you’re going on vacation or enjoying a “stay-cation”, set aside time to decompress, de-stress, and relax… it’s healthy! However, it’s not so healthy to take a break from eating healthfully. This can be challenging when traveling, off your regular schedule and aren’t necessarily spending time in the kitchen. The key is to take in the sunshine (vitamin D!), not the empty calories. By eating mindfully, you can feel your best and max out your spring break experience! Consider these tips and strategies as you devise your game plan to eat healthy on spring break.
Buffet Breakdown. As you’re scanning the “all you can eat” buffet, how could you resist just trying a little bit of, well, everything? Choosing opportunistically in the buffet line can result in a hodgepodge plate once you’re seated at the table. You can end up with a mix of foods you aren’t used to eating piled on your plate! This can result in abdominal discomfort, gas, and all those not very vacation-friendly tummy issues. So be kind to your belly by scouting the buffet before making your final selection. Choose small portions of your top 3 or 4 favorites that include whole grains and protein. Balance out your plate by filling half of it with veggies. This combination will help keep you full and satisfied. Keep in mind that you have the entire break to enjoy great food, one plate at a time!
The Week-long Happy Hour. Alcohol certainly has its perks, but if we talked calories alone you might reconsider that massive margarita. One frozen margarita can easily rack up to 500 or more calories, mostly from sugar. In fact, all alcoholic drinks tend to be pretty calorie dense. A 1.5 fluid ounce shot of 80-proof liquor (like vodka or rum) has about 150 calories. Adding two or three shots to your cocktail will give you at least 300 to 450 calories from alcohol alone. Add juice, sugar-sweetened mixes or soda, and you can see why it’s easy to get to at least 500 calories (or more!) per drink. Your best bet is to stick with a glass of wine, which doesn’t have any hidden calories or sugar. If you do crave that margarita, then stick with one or split it with a friend.
Beach Bum. Being on vacation doesn’t have to cramp your fitness schedule. Lounging in the sun all day might be relaxing, but may also leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Conquer the tendency to get lazy by getting active! Before you start your day, do some research, and plan activities that excite you.
Dining Out Daily. Eating out on vacation can be a great opportunity for you to try new foods, but menu selections are hardly ever the healthiest. It’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and choices when dining out, especially daily dining (like when on vacation). The goal is to leave that restaurant feeling healthy, happy, and satisfied, not bloated or deprived. Be proactive and scope out restaurant options online before making your reservation.
Relax, eat well, & enjoy your spring break!
Alicia Slusarek finds joy in sharing and spreading her enthusiasm for wholesome nutrition through cooking and writing. She is excited and determined to continue living her passion as she aspires to complete her dietetic internship at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA and become a registered dietitian this spring.