Family friendly recipes and real life adventures by a mom/nutritionist

Strategies for a Healthy Holiday

You’ve been planning your peaceful getaway for weeks only to arrive and have one of your entourage come down with a case of the sniffles, or worse.  I’ve been there and it really does put a damper on the adventures (nothing fun about cleaning vomit off the walls of your hotel bathroom, sorry if I grossed you out).  Although you can’t completely control who gets sick and when, there are plenty of things you can do to try!

1)  Pre-holiday prep:  During the week or two leading up to your vacation, make sure the whole family gets plenty of rest, eats well (lots of whole foods) and stays hydrated.  Running yourself ragged before your holiday could actually weaken your immune system and increase your chances of coming down with something.  Studies show that well rested people are less likely to get sick.

While you’re away:

2)  Stock up at the markets – The central market, farmers’ market, corner market – all great places to immerse yourself in the local culture while you’re on vacation and also the best way to eat fresh and in season wherever you may be.  Restaurant meals can start to weigh heavy on your wallet, your waistline and also your digestive system.  Buying fresh food at the market can be a sweet relief from this cycle.  Whenever possible stock up on healthy fruits, veggies and snacks that can be easily eaten as a picnic lunch in the park, on the balcony of your fabulous hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, or in the car on the way to the next fascinating attraction.

3)  Pack probiotics – Changes in your daily diet and your routine can leave you battling digestive discomfort.  A great way to prevent this is to bring along a shelf stable (doesn’t need refrigeration) probiotic that the whole family can take.  When we go away I always bring along Probiotic Pearls.  Each of us, with the exception of my rogue husband, takes one a day to help keep our intestinal bacteria balanced.  Visit your local health food store, there are plenty of options to choose from.

4)  Stay hydrated  – Being away from home usually means bottled water for many of us.  This can get expensive, not to mention quite wasteful and leave you thirsty some of the time.  On our last trip I purchased individual Brita water bottles that we could fill up on the go.  They worked great and ensured that we had a constant supply of great tasting water to drink.  So if you’re traveling anywhere that the tap water is potable why not bring along a refillable water bottle with a filter (there are a couple of companies doing this now), and  have one less thing to worry about.

5)  Indulge, a little! – Don’t feel guilty for trying the culinary specialty that you read about in your guidebook or toasting your good fortune with a glass of cheer.  A little indulgence can be good for the spirit and isn’t that what vacation is all about after all?  Just remember not to overdo it (easier said than done, I know)!

Did I forget anything?  What are your best healthy travel tips?

A friend reminded me before my last holiday to have fun each day, and I found myself remembering that advice during some challenging times on our trip.  Here’s hoping that each day of your next vacation is full of fun!



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