There's a weird phenomenon in western society that somehow mandates that a vacation or trip merits a vacation from eating healthy...that somehow it's okay to let loose while on vacation...”live a little”, “you only live once” and other phrases that somehow convey the message that eating healthy is a laborious chore seen as punishment, while eating donuts and cake are seen as a just reward for having worked so hard. This is probably something learned in childhood, where a cupcake or candies were rewards from parents for behaving well, or getting a good grade, or the like. Those same parents probably learned that from their parents, and so on. Now as an adult, the addiction to said food is so strong, plus the attachment to such behaviours is so ingrained in us, that it is very hard to escape it’s clutches without some serious effort.
It’s more obvious to most what an alcohol, drug, or smoking addition is like, and that their consumption is mainly used as a coping mechanism in order to not face certain demons from the past. However, food is so ubiquitous in society, and seen as a pleasurable thing, some people just do not make the connection.
FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL
Planning is the cornerstone to success in a lot of areas. Here a little bit of planning is important in order to avoid making last minute decisions to pick up unhealthy food. Also, if you decide you want to let loose and eat things that are less healthy or richer in fat and sugar, then the rest of your day had to be adjusted accordingly.
Beginning with the living arrangements, it’s somewhat easy these days to assure you have a place to cook and prepare your food, whether it is with AirBnB, a friend’s place, or even a hostel. If you want the convenience and luxury of a hotel, then that may be more of a problem in terms of food cooking, however preparing and eating healthy salads in your hotel room can be a viable option...it’s all in the planning. Many decide to plan once they get to their destination, which may lead to problems, however, in my experience, I’ve gotten better at the planning once I did it a few times. So here are 5 tips that can help you become a better on the vacation meal planner.
1. HEALTHY GROCERY STORES
The next part of your planning is the close proximity to quality grocery stores. I’ve seen YouTube videos where they show half descent food at 7-11 stores in Thailand, however, in North America; let’s stick to grocery stores for getting quality food. The least processed food is always the best, whether you’re on vacation or not, and having a grocery store close by, along with the proper amenities where you live, allow for a winning vacation situation, as long as you plan to go grocery shopping and prepare your food.
2. FARMERS MARKETS
Farmers markets appear to be a thing these days, so why not take advantage of them? It’s a nice touristy thing to do, if you’re into that. You can kill two birds with one stone...some nice sightseeing, plus healthier food choices. Now let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean going to the restaurants that are within or surrounding the markets. That being said, I keep seeing Thailand YouTube videos, where the prepared foods on the streets or within the markets are of good quality.
3. MEAL PREP
If you don’t want to spend all your vacation time making meals, you don’t have to, especially if you planned out your living accommodations to include a cooking area and fridge or freezer to store your meal prep. Containers for storage are very inexpensive nowadays, so that is possibly the only investment you may need to dish out money for, but the savings and health benefits far outnumber the cash down.
4. HEALTHY PACKAGED FOOD
If it’s apparent, you pay for the packaging of quality food, as opposed to buying the food and putting it into packages yourself. That being said, this is still a viable option, which clearly beats picking up junk at a convenience store or gas station.
5. HEALTHIER SELECTIONS AT RESTAURANTS
Restaurants are always tricky, because it’s all about the taste when ordering at restaurants, and taste almost always involves the addition of extra fat, sugar and salt. In the US, calorie counts are written on the menus, though they may also be somewhat deceiving. Be very selective as to what you are ordering, even if it means substituting a baked potato for French fries, or ordering a salad with the dressing on the side....all those little things add up and make a huge difference in the long run!
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