Health & Fitness Experts Tell All: How to Avoid Gaining the Vacation Pounds

Some view vacation as a time to let loose and let themselves go. They throw their inhibitions out the window and revel in all those poor eating habits they deny themselves every other week of the year. No judgement here, they're on vacation after all! Saying that though, you may have dieted before a beach trip, and you've been working hard all year to live a healthier lifestyle and lose/maintain weight. You want to enjoy your time away, but don't want to completely ruin all the personal progress you've made so far. We surveyed a panel of experts on how to avoid gaining pounds on vacation to provide some helpful hints for those who want to watch their waist abroad.

1) What is your best advice for those who want to stay healthy while traveling?

Find a grocery store and stock up on healthy food. This might mean bananas and Larabars for snacks, yogurt for a mini fridge for breakfast or dinner from the salad bar. Food in the grocery store is generally more fresh than getting take out and less calories than eating in a restaurant. Less expensive too! -- Kath RD, Kath Eats

My best advice before I say anything is to make sure you are NOT stressing about eating/exercising while traveling, remember life is all about balance and moderation! -- Katie Gagliano, Healthy Diva Eats

Pack healthy snacks. Here are a few great ideas: fresh fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges (they’re super fruitBrittany Mullins, Eating Bird Food

Don't forget to hydrate! Drinking enough water will give you more energy and help keep sickness at bay. For road trips, pack a flat of water bottles or a few reusable water bottles. Nalgene makes durable + fun water bottles for children in an assortment of colors. -- Stephanie Sheaffer, Metropolitan Mama

There are a few easy ways to stay healthy while traveling. My first tip is to pack mini-meals for days you'll be on the go all day. I always like to pack food and take it with me to the airport – that way I’m not searching for something healthy amongst the random fast food options, and I’m never hungry and stranded on an airplane either (oh and for the budget conscious, this is a much cheaper option). It takes a bit of prep work before you leave, but it’s so worth it! -- Anjali Shah, The Picky Eater

Schedule two hours a day to take care of yourself. That can mean an hour run and having an extra half hour each to find a healthy lunch and dinner rather than impulsively eat the junk staring you in the face when you get hungry. -- Bryon Powell, iRunFar

2) What types of things/activities do you do to make sure that you are staying active while on vacation?

If I don’t have access to a gym or any formal exercise equipment, I just do a sprint workout twice a week. A sample workout is 8-10 sprints, preferably uphill or on sand or grass, between 15-20 seconds long, going at full tilt. Full recovery in between sprints. It’s easy (but hard), doable almost anywhere, requires zero equipment, and is brutally effective...I’ll also vacation in spots with plenty of outdoor activities available. If there’s an ocean and it’s over 50 degrees, you’ll find me stand-up paddleboarding. If there’s a trail, I’ll hike it. If there’s snow, I’m boarding. I’m big on play - on getting my physical activity inadvertently via fun stuff. -- Mark Sisson, Mark’s Daily Apple

I like to look for paths to take long walks or jogs, or I will use the provided fitness center for fun workouts. I also love to take paper plates with me because you can truly use them in any hotel or vacation home!  -- Kasey Arena, POWERCAKES

longboard surfers Malibu, CAI love to do local workouts when I travel and use being active as a way to see a new place. So, if it's a beachy place, try stand-up paddleboarding or jog on the beach or go snorkeling. If you're in the mountains, hike or rock climbing. And if you're in the city, walk or run as much as you can. You always see more when you're on foot! -- Jennipher Walter, Fit Bottomed Girls

Wake up early enough to get in a quick workout. Being physical can help remind you to eat healthfully and it will make you feel better throughout the day. -- Brittany Mullins, Eating Bird Food

Plan your vacations around athletic activities and pack appropriate attire. Find a 5K or Fun Run in the area where you will be visiting or search for a day hike at a national park. -- Stephanie Sheaffer, Metropolitan Mama

The easiest way to stay active while on vacation is to walk everywhere! Walking is one of the best ways to see a new city, and you end up getting exercise throughout the day with very little effort. And lastly, if I'm staying in a hotel with a gym, I'll use it every day (in the morning) before heading out! It's a great way to get the day started and a super easy way to work in exercise. -- Anjali Shah, The Picky Eater

3) What are some solutions/ways around eating out for every meal while on vacation?

Skip hotels unless they have kitchens. Opt for vacation rentals, instead. Plus, the cool part about having a kitchen on vacation is that you can actually live a bit more like the locals, shopping at local farmer’s markets, and using otherwise hard-to-find ingredients unique to the location. -- Mark Sisson, Mark’s Daily Apple

Doing a picnic at a beautiful venue is a good way to explore and enjoy the sights without eating in a restaurant for Family Picnic2every meal. Stop into a grocery store for ingredients, or pick up sandwiches from a local sandwich shop to enjoy outside. If there's a winery around, they make wonderful places for a picnic of bread, cheese and fruit. -- Kath RD, Kath Eats

I pack protein bars, trail mix and other snacks to keep in my carry-on bag. This is a great option at airports and while out sightseeing for the day. Also - oatmeal packets are a quick, healthy and cheap option for breakfast. -- Monica Olivas, Run Eat Repeat

I think that prepping food ahead of time or going grocery shopping is a great way to save some money while on vacation.  -- Kasey Arena, POWERCAKES

Having a mini fridge would make it great for you to buy some stuff to have for a quick lunch or breakfast! I always like to do dinners out for meals when traveling, but I do try to do breakfast and lunch in. There is always usually a local grocer, so you can pick up some stuff you would need for some quick lunches or a breakfast! -- Katie Gagliano, Healthy Diva Eats

Quick/fast food isn’t always bad. More and more fast food restaurants are now offering healthy options. Starbucks locations are literally everywhere and they actually have quite a few healthy options. Check out the cooler for things like veggie trays, protein plates, fresh pressed juice, fruit cups and salads. They also have oatmeal with nuts/dried fruit for breakfast. Just stay away from the pastry case and the high calorie coffee drinks. -- Brittany Mullins, Eating Bird Food

The best solution I've found is to visit a local grocery store and stock up! Buy perishables and things to make simple meals with and store them in the fridge. -- Anjali Shah, The Picky Eater

No matter how touristy the spot, if you're in a town, you're never far from a store where you can pick up fruit and veggies, bread, and some sandwich fixings. Get creative... and might I suggest you walk there? -- Bryon Powell, iRunFar

Do you have any tips that help stick to your diet and workout regimen while traveling? Let us know in the comments.

Matt Moretti is a Content Marketing Analyst at FlipKey. A Suffolk University graduate with a strong background in marketing and social media, Matt's favorite form of travel is via cruise ship. He also loves romantic comedies, Major League Baseball, and dogs wearing sweaters.

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