Eating on Vacation

Eating on Vacation

Dave and I recently (okay, 2 weeks ago) got back from a 12-day vacation in Orlando, Florida, so I thought it might make an interesting post if I talked about how I tried to eat (somewhat) healthfully while on vacation. I may be a health nut, but I’m not a fanatic, so I generally have 2 food rules while on vacation:

1) Don’t worry about it.
2) Try to eat some fruits & vegetables when possible.

Whenever you are traveling, it can be very hard to eat healthfully, because you are at the mercy of hotels, restaurants, or relatives/friends that you visit. So I try not to stress about it. I accept the fact that my diet won’t be as great, but that I’m on vacation so I should just relax and enjoy it. I just try to get some fruit & vegetables in my diet when I can.

Three years ago, we went to Disneyland, and worked out a good eating plan. Our hotel provided a very nice complimentary breakfast. So we would eat a breakfast that was a bit larger than usual (and I’d make sure mine included some fruit) and then we’d pack a small lunch to eat in the park – a small “cereal bar” for me, with some fruit, and a larger “meal bar” for Dave. This would save us money and calories. On my first day at Disneyland, after paying $1.75 for a banana to have with my lunch, I quickly figured out that buying fruit outside the park was best. So during our half-mile walk from the hotel to the park each morning, I’d pick up an apple or banana from a convenience store, and eat this with my cereal bar.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to follow the same plan at the Orlando hotel during this trip. The breakfast didn’t have many great choices, and no fruit. The first morning, I had a waffle and two mini doughnuts, figuring “well, I’m on vacation.” Dave had a similar breakfast, and because we were so loaded up on carbs (with no fat or protein) we were both starving by 11am. Also, I fell asleep around 10am on our drive back from the Kennedy Space Center (where we had seen the shuttle Endeavor take off). We quickly realized that cereal bars/meal bars were not going to hold us at lunchtime, so we stopped at a supermarket and picked up some pre-made sandwiches, and I bought some apples/bananas for the rest of the week.

So now I added rule #3 to my vacation food rules:
3) Make sure to have fat and/or protein at breakfast.

If you’ve seen my previous posts on Fat in Food and Fat Free Insanity you know that I believe that fat, when eaten in moderation, is a good part of your diet. Eating no fat means getting hungry faster, so on day 2 I had to figure out some way to incorporate them into my breakfast.

Unfortunately, there were no easy targets such as eggs or yogurt. The only things that had fat were cream cheese and peanut butter. So I had peanut butter & jelly on toast, and Dave had some bagels with assorted toppings, including cream cheese and butter. This worked out much better, and was our standard breakfast for the rest of the trip. One morning I decided to try some of their plain instant oatmeal with some peanut butter and a banana I had bought – I’m usually not a fan of pb with oatmeal, but figured the banana would help to add more flavor. Still, I wasn’t that crazy about the result, but it gave me a bit of variety (and kept me full).

For lunches, we stuck to our plan of packing a small lunch to eat in the park. For Dave it was usually a meal bar. For me, sometimes I had a cereal bar and a piece of fruit, or some soy nuts and a piece of fruit. Dinner was usually in the park. By far the cheapest option is to go to one of the “fast food” style places and get a slice of pizza or burger. This is what we did most of the time. I wanted to have dinner at the World Showcase in Epcot at least once, and since we were making plans to meet some friends for dinner (who were vacationing at the same time as us), we took that opportunity to have dinner at one of the full-service restaurants in “Morocco.” The food was excellent, but it all added up to a very expensive meal! Still, since we were on vacation (and we weren’t eating like this every night) we didn’t sweat it.

Luckily, we returned home from our vacation without much change in our weight. Dave had lost half a pound, and I had gained only about a pound, which I attribute to the large amounts of walking we did. While it was a bit sad leaving “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” it was nice to return to our regular eating habits.

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