My partner here at Live Dream Discover also runs a fitness blog and recently collaborated with Kendra Thornton on an article about keeping your family fit while traveling. Since living a balanced lifestyle is a big part of what we write about here we thought it would fit in well. So here’s the article as originally posted on Fit Living Lifestyle.
Recently I was speaking with PR and travel expert Kendra Thornton and we were discussing how difficult it can be to keep your family on track health wise while traveling. Family vacations are full of fun, food and creating lasting memories but the departure from normal routine can create a challenge when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. So we decided to collaborate and put a list together of ways to maintain healthy family fun wherever you roam.
- Try to find a hotel or private rental with a kitchen or at least a mini fridge. This way you can have more control over what your family eats. Even if you don’t want to cook full meals having healthy snacks on hand is a much better option than trips to the convenience store or lobby vending machine.
- Look for hotels with a gym, pool or other fitness facilities. If you have a convenient place to exercise you’re more likely to do it plus exercise in the pool can be disguised as family fun for the kids.
- Another option is to find an accommodation close to running trails or with bike rentals. Both are great ways to exercise as a family.
- One of the most common times for eating badly is while you’re in transit. Boredom and stress during hours in a plane or bus can make you want to reach for those convenient sugary and carb filled foods. By packing your own healthy options you’ll be less likely to give in to temptation. Bring a small insulated lunch box and fill it with healthy snacks such as veggies and humus, hard-boiled eggs, tuna or fruit and nuts. It will be a lot easier to control boredom eating on your journey.
- Also once at your destination make a visit to the grocery store a priority in order to stock up on more healthy snacks. Even if you don’t have a fridge you can pick up dried fruit, snack sized tuna, beef jerky and fruit such as apples and oranges.
- Plan ahead! A little bit of research can make a big difference to your choices. Knowing where you can find restaurants close by with healthy options will help prevent that desperation stop at a fast food place because you don’t know where else to go and the kids are screaming that they’re hungry. Tip: Mediterranean and vegetarian restaurants are great choices for healthy options.
- Of course eating out is a given while on vacation and a lot of vacation destinations feature all-you-can-eat buffets. Don’t be afraid of these places, but plan ahead for success. Start your meal with a healthy salad or some delicious fresh fruit. Fill your dinner plate halfway with colorful vegetables, then allow yourself to enjoy a little of the high-calorie options too. If you fill up on healthy options first you won’t want to eat as much of the not so good options. Balance will help your whole family stay healthy.
- Share a meal! In North America especially portion sizes are huge and are generally way more than one person should be eating. Sharing meals is a great way to save on calories as well as budget and you can always order an appetizer as well if you’re not satisfied.
- Even if you don’t have a gym in your hotel that’s no excuse to not exercise. Get creative and include the kids by picking fun activities that get the heart pumping.
- Water sports are a great choice in warm holiday spots. Swimming, kayaking, water skiing just to name a few.
- Be active in nature. We’re not talking Everest here, but if you’ve got mountains, hills, jungle or beach then spend some time with nature. Hiking – especially up steeper inclines – is a fantastic lower body and cardio workout and a great family activity.
- Games and sports such as throwing a football or frisbee at the beach or in a park with the kids will surely burn some calories.
- Find a kids park. You would be surprised where you may find a gym. A local park with a playground may be just around the corner. It’s free and you can create a full body workout by using the various benches, monkey bars, swings, slides etc in a creative way. Plus your small kids will burn their own calories and enjoy watching you on the playground equipment too.
- For the serious gym parent where activities are not enough for you, find time for a quick workout in your room while the kids are napping or at the pool with your spouse. Get creative with where you’re staying and you can transform it into your very own workout center. Body weight exercises are going to be your easiest option, but you can also add some resistance by using a small suitcase for squats, bottles of water for bicep curls, a chair for dips and step-ups, etc. – get creative and you’ll discover lots of possibilities. If you have room in your suitcase you can bring resistance bands or suspension straps as well.
- Try something new. One of the great things about vacation is experiencing new things. So why not try out surfing, paddle-boarding, tennis, snorkeling and skiing to name a few. Your family will have so much fun that they won’t care about the calories they’re burning or the muscles they’re working –and even better, they may discover something new they really love doing.
The bottom line is wherever you go on family vacation, make a conscious decision to have a healthy trip and teach your children healthy habits. When you plan ahead you’ll be more successful and less stressed. You’ll probably also find that your family has an easier time returning to life as usual when you implement these tips for a healthy vacation and you won’t have to deprive yourself and them of treats for the next month to get back to where you were.
In collaboration with,
Nathan Sado and Kendra Thornton
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.