Enjoy your vacation. Skip the guilt trip.

A new year means vacation planning time! Whether you are going to the mountains or the beach, you still have to bring your health issues with you. If you do your homework, the journey will be more relaxing and compatible with your health. Most people only focus on the time they are away, which is a mistake. Instead, do some work each step of the way. There are actions you can take well ahead of time, the day of and while you are away. To avoid the guilt trip most commonly experienced after the suitcase is back in the closet, complete step four – what to do when you get home.

Step One - Well ahead of time
1. Contact the airline/bus/train/cruise line and choose healthy meal(s).
2. Pick a place with kitchen facilities.
3. Research supermarkets near where you are staying.
4. Review restaurants in the area, so you know where you can eat healthy food.
5. Bring a belly bag for snacks.
6. Pack non-perishable healthy items you think may be difficult to find.
7. Practice portion control
8. Choose your treat days in advance; keep to 2 times/week

Step Two - Day of, but still not on the way
1. Bring a reusable water bottle
2. Pack non-perishable healthy snacks (such as dried fruit & roasted unsalted/unsweetened nuts)
3. Pack healthy perishable items in an insulated bag (try low fat cheese stick or single serve hummus)
4. Eat healthy foods before you head out
5. Stay hydrated
6. Bring non-food activities

Step Three - On the way
1. Eat your healthy snacks
2. Stay hydrated, limiting caffeine & alcohol
3. Eat slowly
4. Get moving (walk the airport)
5. Choose solid food instead of drinking your calories
6. Hit the local supermarket to get healthy foods for your room
7. Plan timing of meals & snacks
8. Use portion control, sharing with another person

Step Four – Home Again
1. Pat yourself on the back for healthy steps you implemented
2. Remember it’s okay to enjoy the foods you ate
3. Complete this sentence, "The next healthy thing I am going to do is _________” and get going!

Vacations range from downtime to massively adventurous and everything in between. Don’t let your health interfere with these special occasions. Since your health issues can’t be left at home, embrace actions you can take to make vacationing a success from beginning to end.

Jennifer Giffune, R.D.N. is a freelance author, professional speaker, and nutrition counselor. Are you ready to make a change? Jennifer sees clients for nutrition counseling in Westfield and on-line. To make an appointment with Jennifer, call (413) 579-5450 or email her at jen@jenthedietitian.com.

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