Healthy Vacation Nutrition - What Happens When You Get Home?
When it comes to vacations, the number one question I get is "what should I eat/how should I eat?"
Well, I already covered that last March in a post called "How to Approach Your Vacation Re: Health and Fitness".
But there's more to vacation nutrition than what I covered - something we don't often think about.
We don't often think about what happens when we come back from vacation.
Chances are you'll have a pile of work to catch up on, your routine is out of whack, and you'll spend the first week eating like garbage and scrambling to get back into the groove.
I was on a vacation exploring California recently and before I left, I made sure I was prepared for when I returned.
If you follow the blog you'll know that I'm a huge proponent of food prep. I do mine on Sundays. But on this trip, I returned from traveling on a Tuesday, and I knew I'd be busy with work right away (i.e back in the gym full time on Wed).
Thing 1 - Plan Ahead
For this trip, I knew that in the first week back, I'd need 10 meals: dinner on Tuesday night after getting home from the airport, and then breakfast, lunch and dinner on Wed, Thurs and Fri.
All I did - and yes, this is extremely simple - was to plan out my main meals for that week and write them down.
On Thursday, for example, I'm going to have:
- Breakfast: chicken soup with watercress (cooked and in my freezer, just need to reheat)
- Lunch: pumpkin smoothie (I'll just need to pick-up some spinach on Tuesday)
- Dinner: Greek food take-out of lamb skewers with salad and some potato.
Boom! That wasn't hard, was it?
In the last couple weeks leading up to my trip, I made extra leftovers and stuck them in the freezer. I have some delicious smoked brisket, chicken soup, pulled pork, and burger patties that I seasoned and preformed all sitting in my freezer ready to go.
I also have some of my standard back-ups in place too: frozen peas, canned fish, nuts and seeds, etc.
Thing 2 - No Excuses
If you find that you tend to struggle with your nutrition the week after returning from a trip, take responsibility and take action. Planning ahead and owning your nutrition is a choice. Whether you do or don't, it's on you. No one else is responsible.
Thing 3 - Give Yourself an Extra Day
If you really struggle, just give yourself an extra day to decompress and get a few things done. When possible, I usually get back to town, take the next day off to get my life sorted, and then return to work and my normal routine the day after that. This is a lot less stressful.
Thing 4 - Think Outside the Box
Are you going to be crazy busy when you get back and you didn't manage to plan ahead? Find an option that works.
Book one week (or five days) with a meal delivery service the week you return. Or, ask a parent/family/friend if they can cook some leftovers for you. Or, plan time to go grocery shopping and cook on the first day.
Either way, figure out something that will set you up for success.
Schedule a time to get a workout in/get to the gym on your first day back. Get right back into your routine and don't put it off. Otherwise it's easy for one day to turn into a week or more.