July 15, 2011

How I ate healthy (and cheap!) on vacation.

This week my mom and I loaded my car and headed over to Mexico Beach.  Mexico Beach is on the Gulf, a small town without a McDonalds, Wal-Mart, or chain store of any kind (that I could find).  Vacation can be a difficult time for anyone prone to overeating, especially a dieter, because the entire free-for-all feeling of the trip can get carried into mealtimes. 

Often I come home from vacations feeling slow, bloated, and uncomfortable and it takes me days to get to feeling like myself again.

Not this trip.  On this trip I ate well, I enjoyed great food, ate nothing 'diet,' enjoyed the local faire, and came home feeling like I had really achieved something great and here's how I did it:

1) Share and share alike.  One thing that I know contributed to my overall healthy eating was for every restaurant meal I ate I shared my meal with my mom.  The first place we went to was a local restaurant called Captain Anderson's.  This restaurant was a steak and seafood place with great specialties.  My mom and I shared a surf and turf meal that included shrimp and a 10 oz steak, a side dish (we had sweet potato casserole), a starter salad, and rolls.  In addition we orded a special local dish of fried crab claws, which we did not finish and then gave to the unending belly of a teenage boy.  My mom and I split the steak and everything else, I also ate two rolls.  I stuck to club soda to drink.  As we left we walked through their dessert bar (you have to walk through it to exit the restaurant!) and my mom got a slice of chocolate silk pie and I got an 'ooey-gooey cookie' which is two chocolate chip cookes, half dipped in chocolate, with a slab of icing between them.  We took our desserts home with us.  I left the restaurant feeling full but not stuffed (a 6-7 on my fullness scale).  When we got home mom shared her pie with me and I saved the cookie sandwich for later, which we also shared.

The next day we went out to breakfast and again my mom and I split the meal.  She orded toast.  I ordered a waffle, two eggs, and two strips of bacon (it was a breakfast meal).  My mom and I shared the eggs and bacon.  I ate half the waffle and ate the other half a few hours later as a snack.  Again, I left feeling full but not slow.  Not overwhelmed by the sheer mass of food.

2) Yes you're on vacation, but eat some meals like you would at home.  Not every meal is really worthy of the epic indulgence like I enjoyed at Captain Anderson's.  Breakfast, especially, doesn't need to be a big to-do.  What my mom and I did was bring breakfast with us.  I brought cereal, milk, fruit, yogurt- just the kind of thing I would eat at home.  Not only does this save calories and cash but it helps your body stay on its schedule so that when you get home you're not spending days trying to detox a lot of fat, salt, and sugar. 

3) Enjoy amazing, holiday and vacation worthy meals at your hotel.  While my mom and I stayed at a hotel for just a couple of nights, the people we were with rented a home for their ten days on the beach.  They had a full kitchen and regularly cooked amazing meals.  Not meals they might make on any ol' Tuesday, but special meals that were for guests and holidays.  As an example, one night we enjoyed pork roasts, rice with field acre peas, sliced tomatos, corn on the cob, and ice cream.  I ate well.  I ate a lot- more than I normally would.  But again, I felt great.  I left the meal knowing I ate beyond my hunger cues but it didn't feel heavy, greasy, or fat-laden.  It felt like a celebration, all of those people there, my family, their friends- it did not feel inappropriate to eat a lot like that at such a great time and I also made a point to not get carried away.

This was the first time I left a vacation knowing that I had enjoyed everything but not gone too far beyond my limits.  I think I really achieved something here, finding some kind of balance and I'm proud of myself.

PS- all those dresses from my previous entry are on their way to my house!

1 comment:

chereemoore said...

Daniel and I try to share meals as often as possible when we eat out. It is healthier and saves $$$ and if we are still hungry we will splurge and share a dessert. Plus we rarely feel like we ate too much.

Glad you had a good vacay with your mom.
Those dresses are really cute.