Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
Don’t kick your healthy-eating habits to the curb just because you’re out of town! By the way, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. The trick is to find the right balance. Read up! Your body and mind will thank you…
Plan your vacay wisely. Even if you’re making an obligatory family visit — a trip that commonly leads to comfort-food overload and stress eating — you can still set yourself up for success. If you’re staying with family, hit the grocery store for healthy meal and snack staples. If you’re staying at a hotel, pick one with amenities like a gym and a mini fridge in each room. And if you’re going on a just-for-fun trip, consider something that’s good for you. Wellness retreats are a hot trend these days, and The Official Hungry Girl Cruise sets sail January 28.
Make sure you’re drinking lots of water. It can be hard to remember when you’re on the go (especially in the winter), but staying hydrated is so important. Not only is it just plain necessary for your body, but it’ll also keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. Plus, dehydration can make you cranky and lead to poor food choices. So drink up!
Keep active. Yeah, it’s cold, but don’t go into hibernation. If you’re at a wintry destination, take advantage of what’s around you. Skiing or snowboarding? Why not? Even if you’ve never done it before, there’s usually a beginner class. (Bonus: You might burn extra calories laughing as you fall down repeatedly.) Escaping to somewhere warm? You have no excuse not to get outside. Just hanging with the fam? Go sledding, or just go walk around the mall.
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Keep it simple. No one wants to count every calorie on vacation, but if you want to avoid post-trip weight gain, stay away from elaborate, sauce-drenched foods. (A food coma is no way to spend your vacation!) Go for simply cooked lean protein (grilled chicken, broiled fish, roasted turkey, etc.), grilled veggies, leafy-green salads, and fresh fruit. When dining out, don’t be afraid to make special requests. Just ask nicely. And with family, pick your battles. Make the best choices you can, but don’t hurt mom’s feelings by shunning the special lasagna she made in your honor.
Embrace the 80/20 rule. It is a vacation, after all! If you’re eating pretty well about 80 percent of the time, you can indulge during the other 20 percent without worry. And even if you do go really overboard, don’t panic and beat yourself up. Just get back to your good habits at the next opportunity, and remember how much fun you had.
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!