4 Dos and Don’ts for Eating Healthy While Traveling

June 7, 2019

The habits that took years to build,

do not take a day to change.

Susan Powter

As a resident of New York, it is no surprise that I need to get away from the stone torture tube that is the subway and the hustle and bustle of New York. I have always been a huge fan of traveling and have done so with my family since I was 2 years old. Over the last 5 or 6 years, I have found a balance when on vacation between fun and health and I actually enjoy vacation more because of it.​I just came back from Costa Rica and feel no different than when I left, in terms of motivation. I was able to have my fun, while also keeping in mind that going all out all the time can have some pretty immediate effects. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts when on vacation to help you enjoy but also stay on track:

Dos and Don’ts of a Healthy Vacation

While trying not to fall too heavily off the tracks during a vacation, incorporate the following tips:

  • DO something active
  • DO drink plenty of water
  • DO make healthy choices as often as possible
  • DO get good quality sleep
  • DON’T overindulge in unhealthy food
  • DON’T consume alcohol with every meal
  • DON’T oversleep
  • DON’T be physically inactive

Vacation Don’ts

This has a bit of a negative connotation. Drinking, eating, and excessive relaxation are all part of a great trip away from the norm. However, in excess, they can cause problems and even bring great frustration.

DON’T make every meal your last meal on Earth

Believe me, I have been on vacation and have gone to restaurants where my mentality is, “They may have to carry me after this one.” This type of meal will happen, and that is okay.

However, treating every meal like this, especially over the course of many days, can pile on the calories, reduce your energy levels, and even disrupt your metabolism. Try to limit this type of meal as often as you can.

Don’t be afraid to eat the things you enjoy, but maybe limit to once a day and not in massive quantities.

DON’T drink alcohol at every meal

mature group of friends drinking alcohol in a bar, things to avoid doing daily while trying to eat healthy while traveling

Breakfast is awesome, and I love bacon and eggs. However, adding a cocktail to this meal, at 8:30 in the morning, is unnecessary.

Try to consume more water and low-calorie beverages at meals like breakfast and lunch, and save the alcohol for meals that are low in carbohydrates as well.

DON’T sleep too much

Once again, I have slept in so much on vacation that someone had to remind me what day it is. Not only can you actually oversleep, but your entire rhythm will be completely thrown off.

Oversleeping can cause you to feel groggier throughout the day and less motivated to make the right decisions. Try to get a deep 8 hours or so, and wake up feeling refreshed, not like a zombie!

DON’T do absolutely nothing physically

Some people will find a beach chair, pull it up, and sit for hours on end (I personally lose my mind sitting there for 30 minutes). Try to plan events that encourage you to be active, such as:

  • Hiking
  • Walking around historic destinations
  • Biking

These types of activities will allow you to see the most of your vacation destination, and keep you moving as well!

Vacation Do’s

There are a few of these that may seem contrary to what you want to do on vacation. These are mere guidelines that will take up a fraction of your time while helping you stay on point.

DO exercise

Mature couple hiking while on vacation to stay healthy while traveling

I am a crazy person who will literally “workout” for hours on vacation. I love playing sports, lifting weights, and doing outdoor activities. However, for you non-crazy people out there, this does not have to be the case.

Working out in the morning when you first wake up is a great idea. A morning workout can help you:

  • Feel more refreshed to start the day
  • Make better food and beverage choices
  • Lessen the overall impact of poor calorie choices

You do not have to work out every day or for very long, but try to get at least 30-45 minutes a day of resistance training with cardio every other day

DO drink lots of water

man pouring water into glass cup while sitting in clean kitchen, drinking lots of water to stay healthy while traveling

Forgetting to hydrate is one of the biggest mistakes people make when on vacation. It is safe to say you may partake in some dehydration-type activities, so maintaining consistent fluid intake will help.

Here are some basic hydration tips:

  • Try drinking water with every alcoholic beverage
  • Avoid sugary drinks and mixers as often as possible
  • Fruit juices, sodas, cream-based coffee drinks, and overly sweet frozen drinks should also be avoided

DO choose healthy options as often as possible

mature gentlemen eating healthy salads after playing golf during vacation

Believe it or not, there are almost always tons of healthy options when on vacation. Whenever I have gone on a cruise, or to an all-inclusive, there have been loads of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Granted, they are surrounded by fried, doughy madness, but your ability to sift through these unhealthy options is part of the learning process of balance. Try when possible to stick to the lower glycemic side of the scale, while occasionally tossing in a treat snack or meal.

DO get good sleep

mature couple sleeping in robes in hotel room, getting enough sleep to stay healthy while traveling

Sleeping too little is just as big a problem as sleeping too much on vacation. Go out and have your fun, but also know that too many days of back-to-back poor sleep can set you up for quite the difficult return trip.

Try your best to get 8 solid hours of sleep while on vacation (but remember, not too much either).

ENJOY! You’re on Vacation

Mature couple smiling while sailing on boat enjoying their time on vacation

When we travel, it is usually to a place nothing like where we are from. Take in all the culture has to offer, and enjoy immersing yourself in an unfamiliar place. Overeating and moving very little may seem appealing but can actually hinder your ability to explore and enjoy.

Find the balance, and you will make the most of your trip!

Vacation Control: How to Enjoy While Staying on Track – In Conclusion

The key to eating healthy and not falling off track while traveling is balance. Understanding that it is important to step away from our busy lives and live in the moment, while also not overindulging, is a hard lesson to master.

Tips such as getting in a morning workout so you feel more motivated to make additional healthy choices, and getting enough sleep in order to not have unhealthy cravings are great steps to take in order to not feel too guilty while on vacation.

At Cenegenics, your clinical team is only an email or phone call away. If you are unsure of what steps to take while on vacation, your clinical team is your greatest tool!

Next Steps to Learning Vacation Control

Our world-class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You’ll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It’s quick + easy.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine V1 for nutrition, mastering healthy aging, exercise and hormone replacement therapy

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise, and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine V2 for nutrition, mastering healthy aging, exercise and hormone replacement therapy

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise, and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.


Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Additional Resources

Getting Back on Track with Diet & Exercise: Staying Motivated

Healthy Snacks to Get You Through the Day

Healthy Meal Prepping Ideas

What Are Processed Foods & Why Are They Dangerous?

Building a Nutritional Plan: Food for Weight Loss

How to Exercise for Weight Loss

Why Can’t I Sleep? – Clinical Explanations & Tips on How to Fall Asleep

Contributor: Joshua D'Alessandro - MS, CSCS, CISSN Health Coach at Cenegenics New York City

My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me!

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