Vacation is a time to relax and have fun. Many people work months and months to get “vacation ready” prior to vacation. Dieting is common before a vacation as well as increased exercise to be fit and ready.
Recently I took vacation to an all-inclusive resort. I must say the buffet was well stocked and offered an abundance of foods. Buffets and access to “free” foods can bring out bad eating behaviors. You get to choose, what type of foods your will eat. A healthy choice? A high fat choice? A high sugar choice? Or a mixture of healthy and unhealthy choices? Does eating unhealthy for a week on vacation matter?
In my opinion, it does matter. Eating unhealthy foods during vacation can expose you to foods that you don’t normally eat, therefore, when you get home you crave these foods. Over time, unhealthy foods can cause inflammation in the body. The body can respond with higher than normal blood sugars leading to mood changes. Most importantly, a dramatic change in diet can upset your gastrointestinal (GI) system. If the GI system not accustomed to high sugar and fat may cause diarrhea and stomach pain. Prevent inflammation and decrease negative symptoms by eating healthy when you are on vacation.
Here are simple steps to follow to enjoy a healthy meal at a buffet.
- Take a walk around the buffet to check out your options. Look at the quality of foods offered and decide which protein and which healthy grains you will choose.
- Try and make a meal rather than have a variety of foods that don’t go together.
- Fill 1/2 your plate with salad. But beware of the salad dressing.
Bread and refined carbohydrates can be tempting. Try and only choose whole grain foods. Refined carbohydrates will leave you feeling sluggish and hungry again in a few hours.
DID you know…. One small donut can contain 10-15 grams sugar? That is the same as eating 4 tsp. of sugar.
Another food to avoid is cereal. There are limited “healthy” cereals. It will take a lot of cereal to fill you up. Stick with oatmeal if you choose to have a “cereal”. Sweeten your oatmeal with stevia or splenda, add toasted nuts and fresh fruit to make your oatmeal delicious and healthy.
DID you know….. 1 cup of cereal averages 15 grams of sugar? That is the same as eating 4 tsp. of sugar on top of “refined” grains. YIKES!!
Yogurt can be a great choice. Choose the plain or vanilla yogurt and flavor it yourself. The flavored yogurts are very high in sugar and lack protein. At this particular buffet they had “no sugar added” fruit preserves. This was a great way to flavor plain yogurt. Top with fresh fruit and chopped nuts for a perfect breakfast treat.
Eggs can be a great choice. However, most eggs are cooked with oil. Stick with boiled eggs. At this buffet I choose an egg white omelet and requested only a little oil and lots of vegetables. Beware of eggs with bacon, sausage and cheese. These high fat protein add lots of extra fat.
Boiled eggs and toast with fruit is a great option. Scrambled egg whites with vegetables and corn tortillas with salsa and fruit is another perfect option. Be smart about your choices!!!
Avoid high fat meat choices. Sticking to eggs, ham, lean turkey breast or smoked salmon would be a better option. These foods are cheap. You’re worth way more than this JUNKY food. You pay good money for an all inclusive resort…. get your money worth, choose high quality healthy options.
Always choose fruit!! About 1 cup is a perfect portion. Fruit is high in antioxidants and fiber. Fruit is refreshing and will help keep you feeling full.
AVOID all types of juice. It is full of sugar. Fresh fruit should always be your option. Stick with water, iced tea or coffee.
When dining out at a buffet, choose quality or quantity. Fresh foods with limited food preparation is ideal. Make smart choices and remember, YOU’RE WORTH IT!!!
Enjoy your new vacation!