Mid-January usually marks the beginning of the mass exodus from the cold and wintery North down to the South. This time of year, nothing sounds better than a warm beach, a cold beverage and endless amounts of buffet food. Wait, not so fast! Vacations don’t have to involve binging on unhealthy food and over-indulging on sugary drinks. Sure, a little treat now and again is well deserved, but this year, instead of ending your vacation with shame and self-loathing, why not plan ahead to make healthy choices and feel good about yourself. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your healthy vacation getaway:
Show off Your Hard Work
In the months leading up to your vacation, why not burn a few extra calories and hit the gym? The fact that you’re going to be prancing around in nothing more than your swimsuit is usually enough incentive to buckle down and get moving. We know you’re still working on your New Years’ resolutions, so why not keep the momentum and aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity or approximately 1 hour of vigorous physical activity each week. To increase your health benefits, you can even go up to 5 hours/week of moderate activity or 2.5 hours/week of vigorous. But if it’s been a while since you’ve exercised and you have health issues or concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Build Your Immune System
How many times do you get to your beach destination and completely crash? You’ve worked so hard to get there but now all that stress and exhaustion has caught up to you and the lethargy sets in. Nutritional supplements may help you maintain your energy and support your immune system so that you can enjoy every minute of your vacation. Here are our top picks for nutritional supplements that may help support energy:
- Vitamin B Complex: Required for energy production and metabolism
- Probiotics: May promote a healthy immune system. Research has shown probiotics may help prevent traveler’s diarrhea (TD), a common health complaint among travelers.
- Vitamin C: Helps support the immune system and may reduce the incidence, duration and/or severity of the common cold
- Ginseng: May help support energy levels and the immune system
Make Healthy Food & Drink Choices
Don’t let the buffet get you down. There are plenty of delicious and healthy options on the table, so why not gravitate towards the colorful fruits and vegetables and indulge in nature’s bounty. After all, local, tropical fruit often tastes far better than the un-ripened supermarket variety. If your hotel has any “a la carte” restaurants, why not give those a try. Compared to the buffets, these restaurants often have better quality food (not to mention, they’re portion-controlled!). When it comes to drinks, while the rum punch is certainly delicious, you’ll likely feel better if you limit the sugary drinks and opt for vodka sodas with lime, or light beer instead.
The overarching message is this: Enjoy your trip, but don’t completely blow off healthy choices while on vacation. Plan ahead, choose healthy food and drinks and we promise you’ll come home from your hard-earned vacation feeling refreshed and energized – after all, isn’t that what vacation is all about anyway?
If you’re wondering which nutritional supplements are right for you, take our vitamin quiz to find your personalized daily vitamins.
(1) Bae, Jong-Myon. “Prophylactic Efficacy of Probiotics on Travelers’ Diarrhea: an Adaptive Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Epidemiology and Health, vol. 40, 2018, doi:10.4178/epih.e2018043.
(2) Hendler, S, Rorvik, D. Heber, David. 2008. Physicians Reference Desk for Nutritional Supplements 2nd Edition. Thomson Reuters, Montvale, NJ. 517-521. 654-668.
(3) Kachur, K, Suntres, ZE. 1016. The antimicrobial properties of ginseng and ginseng extracts. Expert review of anti-infective therapy. 2016;14(1):81-94
(4) McFarland, Lynne V. “Meta-Analysis of Probiotics for the Prevention of Traveler’s Diarrhea.” Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, Elsevier, 5 Dec. 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1477893905000918
(5 ) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2017 from https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/
(6 ) Wartian Smith, P. 2008. What you must know about vitamins, minerals, herbs & more. Square One Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. 29-52.