Congratulations, we have survived another winter! Spring has officially begun. My spring break overlapped with the first day of spring. What better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than in the Florida?!
About a week ago, I took the bus from Madison, WI to the O’Hare Airport. I flew out of the O’Hare airport and met my parents at the Ft. Myers airport. My parents picked me up at the airport and we drove to Boca Grande, which was about an hour and a half away. Talk about planes, *busses, and automobiles!
Boca Grande is an island off of Southwestern Florida recognized for excellent fishing and old Florida charm. This small island has intimate restaurants, preppy shopping, and a serene community. Residents and vacationers travel on this 6.5 mile long island on golf carts! ( I had so much fun whipping around in our golf cart )
Another perk I experienced on the island was our villa! We rented a two floor villa with three rooms. I felt like a Queen having my own room ( at school I share a room with 2 other gals ) AND Queen size bed! It was a dream come true – literally. We also had a kitchen which came in handy because we could: save money on meals, have an available stash of snacks, and have the option to prepare our own meals.
While I did have the luxury of preparing my own meals ( and occasionally eating out ), most vacay spots don’t have an available kitchen but do have ample restaurants. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 92% of restaurant meals have too many calories. Calories sneak into restaurant food because of the large portion sizes and type of preparation.
How can you maintain a balance of splurging and staying healthy on vacation??
Start off Strong
My favorite way to begin my day is with a HUGE breakfast. I love to dig into a big ol’ bowl of oatmeal and sip on a cup of coffee. This is an easy, filling breakfast to whip up in the AM. I also love to have Greek yogurt with berries, granola, and cinnamon if I have berries on hand.
I recommend a big breakfast because it will 1) keep you full longer, 2) maintain a healthier diet throughout the day – you’re more likely to make nutritious choices later, and 3) you will have more energy for the rest of your day.
I also like to start off my day with a walk along the beach, AKA the Tone It Up “BootyCall”! The “BootyCall” is a way to boost your metabolism, increase your energy, and release the feel good hormones. The BootyCall workout is 30 minutes of any time of movement – walk, jog, yoga, or a workout DVD – first thing in the morning. You don’t have to ask me twice about a morning walk on the beach!
Hit The Road
Unless you’re having a “staycation”, you likely aren’t familiar with your vacation spot. Embrace the uncertainty and familiarize yourself with the area. Walk around and explore the local restaurants, go for a run and check out the paths, bike on the boardwalk, or walk along the beach to “find your beach”.
Bring your own snack!
Grab some apples from the hotel’s front desk. Apples are a great on-the-go snack because they hold their own shape. Or, snag some bananas which are great for travel because of their natural seal. If fruit isn’t filling enough, bring along Protein bars or a handful of nuts in a baggie to avoid hanger in between meals. Snacks are a great way keep your metabolism revved up!
To cut back on the calories, ask your waiter or waitress to have the chef switch up the cooking method. Opt for grilled instead of fried to cut back on the fat. Grilling has lower fat because unlike frying, it isn’t soaked in and absorbing fat; in fact, the fat drips off when grilling!
Look for these key words on the menu: Grilling, Steamed ( preserves nutrients // low fat method to cooking ), Stir Fried ( preserves the nutrients in the middle of the food // crunchy outside ).
OK, not THATTT kind of chug!
Make sure you are hydrating with water! Restaurants often serve food with excess sodium and combined with the sun’s heat, your body will be begging for some H2O. Travel with an empty reusable water bottle so you can refill after airport security. This is an easy way bring water to any destination ( and save money on disposable water bottles ).