Pack Your Mindful Eating Compass On Summer Vacation

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Time off from work to relax is a human need. It’s easy to throw in the eating towel when you are traipsing around Europe or relaxing on lake or at the beach. With delicious culinary choices and friends and family around, there’s more opportunity to eat and drink.

There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you do it in a mindful way.

Planning your vacation time may seem counterintuitive. You want to go into your week away with looser reigns, but still keep an eye on what I call "your mindful eating compass" – the inner sense of what and how you’re eating. If your mindful eating compass is steering you away from healthful foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, beans, nuts, and low-fat/fat-free dairy products, then steer it back on course at the next meal or snack.

Keep in mind, it’s not all or nothing: you have the freedom to make mindful food choices. Yes, even when you’re on vacation.

Here are some simple tips for reining in your eating while on vacation:

  • Pack healthful snacks like whole fruits, nuts, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, or trail mix on your vacation adventures.
  • Stay hydrated with water. When vacationing, it’s tempting to drink more alcohol than you would normally drink, but alcohol can dehydrate you – and it packs a lot of excess calories. You can cut calories in alcoholic beverages by adding sparkling water to wine for spritzers. You could also add a splash of 100% fruit juice and cut-up fruit to some seltzer for a mocktail.
  • Do not skip meals. If you do, you’ll be ravenous and overeat foods that may not be the best for your health.
  • Eat foods you like, just in smaller portions. If there are chips and guacamole or bread and butter on the table at a meal, put a small portion on a plate and eat that instead of grazing mindlessly. For dessert, choose a small sweet treat like a brownie square or a cookie. Remember to savor and enjoy.

Planning before the patio party

Who doesn’t love a good outdoor summer fete? Eating and drinking are part of the fun.

If you are the party goer or thrower, it takes planning.  Either role takes a good dose of mindfulness to balance your consumption before, during, and after the party.

Here’s a party planner checklist for the thrower and goer to create a mindful event:

Party Checklist

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN, LDN, author of the blog Simple Cravings, Real Food and the book Total Body Diet for Dummies. Vicki is available for Total Body Wellness and Lifestyle Nutrition speaking opportunities for 2016 – 2017.  Contact her at or 773-551-9882.

Check out this brand-new handout based on today's post!


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