Blog · Nutrition

Sticking to healthy habits on vacation

My family is preparing for a trip to the Poconos and I am so excited. I feel like my husband and I are extremely blessed because all of our immediate family will be with us – my parents, his parents, my older sister and her family, and my younger sister. Our days will be filled with just being together and having fun.

We all went in together to rent a vacation home for the week and there’s a lot that I’m looking forward to. Much of it is the break that I’ll get. While there, I’m only responsible for cooking one dinner. Since all the family will be around, I’ll have extra help with the kids too. Though the thing I’m looking forward to the most is not having to use an alarm clock. So long, 4:30 a.m. I won’t be seeing you for a whole week!

I’m also really looking forward to the many mini-hikes we’re sure to go on. We went to the Poconos last year as well and almost every day we found a small hiking trail that lead us to a waterfall. We enjoyed hours walking around the woods, appreciating the beauty and serene atmosphere. Every day there was something that got us up and moving, everyone to their own comfort level and ability. It was the perfect combination of activity and relaxation.

As with any vacation with anybody, there will also be certain challenges that we’re bound to face during the week. The main challenge will be to the healthy lifestyle my husband and I have so carefully put in place. Most of our family does not share our conviction about healthy eating, or they have a different idea of what it means to eat healthy foods. And most aren’t as active as we are and prefer to stay that way. So how do we stay true to our convictions while being pressured to compromise all throughout the day?

Vacation

In light of this, I have a confession to make. I feel very strongly about taking care of your body by eating the right food and exercising. As a mom, it is my responsibility to protect and preserve my kids health so they have the best chance at life – free from any preventable health problems. The more I learn, the stronger this conviction becomes. It is very difficult for me to allow others to give my children food that I know is not good for them. There is a balance that I have not yet found. Most of the time, I become Mama Bear and I’m ready to defend my babies’ health and protect their precious little bodies no matter what.

So how do I give grace and allow a few extra treats into our week, protecting the relationship we have with the rest of our family, without completely compromising on proper nutrition?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Have an honest conversation with the other family members before going on vacation. Explain that it’s important to you that your kids eat a well-balanced diet and ask them to support that decision.
  2. Find ways to politely say no. If you don’t want your kids eating donuts every morning, cookies and chips every afternoon, and ice cream or cake every evening then it’s within your rights to say so. When others don’t hold the same conviction as you do, they may challenge you or ignore your wishes but be firm. And be kind. If you talked to them about it ahead of time then they should already understand that it’s important to you.
  3. Remove your kids from the temptation. If you know dessert is going to be served every evening, then take your kids outside to play before it’s served. If your kids aren’t inside to see the dessert being passed around then they can’t beg for some and others can’t slip them a treat despite your wishes that they don’t.
  4. Choose the foods your family will eat ahead of time. While at the vacation home, our whole family will be sharing meals together. But I have a say in what is purchased and I will be sure that the appropriate foods are available for each meal. These are the foods I will offer to my kids and will expect them to eat before anything else.
  5. Allow for a few treats. It is vacation so give yourself and your family a break. For my husband, kids, and me, having ice cream even once during the week will be an indulgence. Maybe I need to relax and allow everyone to enjoy a few indulgences.

It can be a challenge to stay committed to your healthy lifestyle while on any vacation, even if you’re vacationing with just your husband and kids who are used to the normal routine. Adding others into it adds a lot of fun, but it can also create additional challenges. When you’re on vacation, how do you manage your family’s food and activity?

FitTip: I’ve learned the hard way that being staunch in your convictions doesn’t change people and doesn’t make them support your lifestyle. Sometimes, you just come across as snobbish. Instead of constantly being on the defensive, try being on the offensive. If you don’t want your kids eating donuts, offer to make eggs for the whole family. If you don’t want your kids eating chips and cookies, make up some healthy trail mix ahead of time and set it out for everyone to enjoy. Showing people that you don’t only care about your own health but you care about their health as well may be all that is necessary to prevent a conflict over food choice.

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