Health on Vacation

June 9th, 2015

Summer time is here. Families all over are taking vacations. Some families are getting away for weekend excursions. Others are traveling for a week or two at a time. Last year our family is less than a mile from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida spending a week with my dad. We know keeping everyone fed and happy is an adventure in itself. Here are the tips and strategies we are using to make sure everyone is having a magical adventure.

First is sleep.  Sleep is crucial when the days are full of walking and caloric expenditure. Each adult is getting at least 7 hours and every child is getting a minimum of 8 hours at night. During the hottest part of the day (between 2 and 4 pm),we are leaving the parks or finding an activity in the shade for an afternoon rest. Exhaustion and sunburn can put a damper on the fun quick.

Staying hydrated is the next important tip. Everyone is drinking at least 8 ounces of water first thing in the morning.  Most summer recreation spots will let you bring water. The goal is to consume over half of our body weight in pounds as ounce of water. We are using frozen water bottles to help keep things cold in our cooler and then drinking the ice cold water later in the day after it has melted. We are also packing Emergen-C packets around with us. Without taking up too much space, an Emergen-C packet adds a quick flavor burst while also providing electrolytes and antioxidants. We are limiting each person to 1 soda per day.

The next important tip is to use sunscreen.  When we spend time in the sun, everyone is using an EWG (environmental working group – approved sunblock and reapplying sun protection hourly. Using wide brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts is another great way to protect the face and arms from sunburn. Do not forget to apply sunblock to the feet and the backs of the calves.

On vacation we have a realistic expectation regarding food and nutrition. It is not the same as eating at home, yet it need not be all fast food and junk food either. We start each vacation day with a typical breakfast at our condo – eggs, gluten free granola and yogurt, fruit, and some sauteed veggies. This is a great foundation for the rest of the day.

Packing snacks is the difference between overspending on food that you slows you down for the rest of your day and having the energy to keep up with the “vacation” schedule. Here’s a few of the staples that keep us going:

Homemade trail mix – Use a variety of nuts and unsweetened fruit. Avoid chocolate, avoid a melty mess and portion out into individual servings before heading out for the day.

  • Apples and squeeze peanut or almond butter.
  • Beef Jerky.
  • Gluten Free Almond Butter and Banana sandwich.
  • Cut veggies – cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers are perfect.
  • Snack Bars – We usually take less than 1 per person and share when we eat these. Snack bars are convenient and also often high in calories and sugar. They are perfect when you need a quick snack and can be kept in easily accessible locations for a quick bite.

By keeping health a priority when on vacation we are showing our children that health is an everyday investment. We are also encouraging an easy recovery when we return back to our normal routines at the end of the vacation. Too often when we need a vacation to recover from our vacation, food and drink can be to blame. With a little planning, we need not take a vacation from our health.

~Dr. Swanz

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Posted in Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

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