How to eat healthy at an all inclusive resort?
Ahhh vacation time! Who doesn’t look forward to (what I consider) the ultimate form of self-care? After planning, researching and crunching numbers, my group of college friends decided that an all inclusive resort vacation was the way to go!
Now I had never been on this type of vacation, and I was so excited. Especially since it meant that we didn’t have to worry about ANYTHING all week. No cooking, no shopping, no cleaning! It was amazing! While the prospect of having all the food provided, it can also be intimidating. What type of food will they have? Will I be able to meet my nutrition goals while I am on vacation?
Fear not, I have the ultimate guide for staying healthy while on an all- inclusive resort vacation.
1. Don’t skip breakfast
Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean that you can forget about the most important meal of the day. Starting off the day with a meal balanced with carbs, protein and some fruit will make sure you have energy for whatever fun activities your day will include. Having breakfast will also help prevent overeating at later meals, because you will have started your day with the fuel your body needs.
Our resort had a variety of different foods available for breakfast, and served breakfast for several hours in the morning, so even if we wanted to sleep in a little, we were still able to get some morning fuel.
2. Don’t forget the fruits and veggies
One of the perks of being on a tropical island is that I got to try so many new fruits and veggies! It was amazing! Before portioning out your carbs and your protein, make half of your plate fruits and veggies. This is an easy way to make sure you are still getting in those nutrients, but not depriving yourself of other foods that you want to enjoy.
3. Stay active
Now hear me out for a second, this does not mean you have to go to the hotel gym and sweat it out (unless of course you want to!). There are a lot of ways to stay active on vacation, without spending time inside the gym. Take advantage of any fun exercise classes your resort is hosting. My girlfriends and I got pulled into water aerobics one day, but pool side yoga and meditation was also an option. Swimming in the pool or in the ocean is another way to get your heart pumping. Or simply take a walk on the beach with your friends and loved ones.
Excursions can also help you stay active. We spent one day of our vacation zip lining, cave swimming and snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. We had so much fun, made great memories, and it helped us stay active!
4. Pick your favorites
When food is laid out in an all you can eat buffet manner, it can be tempting to want to try everything! First, ask yourself, “What am I truly in the mood for?” this usually helps me narrow down some of my options. Next, “is this something that I can help at home?” If I can’t decide what to pick, I try to ask myself if this is something that I can get at home. If the answer is yes, I will go for something else (that I might not be able to get at home).
Our buffet had some options that were pretty standard at each meal, so we knew we could always get them later in the week if we wanted. For example, the pizza bar was available for basically every lunch and dinner. However, the special seafood pasta was not! When choosing the carb for my meal, picking the seafood pasta was a no brainer, since I knew that pizza would be available at another time.
5. Stay Hydrated
This is a biggie. In the heat of the tropics, it is important to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. This is extra important if you plan on taking advantage of the all-inclusive beverages portion of your hotel stay. The recommendation for alcohol is two standard drinks for men, and one for women. If you choose to drink more than that, try alternating each alcoholic beverage with water or other unsweetened beverage to help you stay hydrated.
6. Don’t forget the fun foods!
In true REBEL fashion, you cannot forget the fun foods. All of the buffets and restaurants we ate at during our stay had some kind of dessert bar. When picking dessert, again go for something you are in the mood for! And take advantage of any local or regional desserts, yum!
7. Talk To Your Registered Dietitian
And finally, talk to your registered dietitian. We can help you come up with tips and personalized hacks to help you stay healthy on your resort vacation. Whether you are attempting to manage a chronic disease, or are just looking to feel better, we are here to help!
What are your favorite ways to stay healthy on a resort vacation? Let us know in the comments below! To make an appointment with one of our nutrition professionals, please call 301-474-2499 or click here.
Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or a seasoned chef, Dietitian Klara will work with you to help you reach your nutrition goals. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating, Cooking with Diabetes and Cooking with Food Sensitivities Guide.