A vacation can offer a break from the monotony and stress of daily life, including for those living with diabetes. Even if you're taking a "staycation" (staying at home for your vacation), think about taking this time away from the stress of work to practice mindful habits. It may also be an opportunity to experience new and interesting healthy food. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or nutritionist about a healthy eating plan and any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Change your mindset
Maintaining balanced eating and optimal blood sugar on vacation starts with your mindset. Thoughts like "I'm on vacation, so I'm going to eat as much as I want" may leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, and may even lead to high blood sugar. Consider changing your vacation mindset from "anything goes" to a more mindful mindset of "anything in moderation."
Here are a few other examples of vacation vs. mindful mindsets:
There is so much food to eat; I'm going to try everything!
There is so much food to eat; I can afford to be really choosy.
I'm not going to worry about what I eat this week.
I practice self-care no matter where I am.
I'm on vacation, so I'm going to splurge!
I'm on vacation, so I'm going to enjoy experimenting with new foods.
Why exercise? I'm on vacation!
I'm on vacation! I can swim, walk the beach, go dancing, or even try skiing.
Slow down and savor
Instead of using your vacation as an excuse to eat too much, make it a point to slow down and really savor your food. This approach, called mindful eating, is an ancient concept that is proving to be a practical, flexible method for managing your diet, regardless of the current circumstances.
Vacations are a great time to experience new flavors and try new foods
Tips for getting the most out of dining on vacation:
1. Don't eat for entertainment
Instead of eating purely for entertainment, first notice whether you are hungry or not. Eating to meet your body’s needs is less likely to lead to overeating.
2. Consider how you want to feel after
Decide how you want to feel after your meal. Choose food with the intention of feeling better after you’ve eaten than you did before you started.
3. Try new things
Choose food that nourishes your body and your mind for optimal satisfaction. Skip the ordinary; vacations are a great time to experience new flavors and try new foods. Explore regional specialties, local products, and fresh produce.
4. Take a seat
Sit down to eat—even if it's just a snack—and minimize distractions.
5. Feed all your senses
Make your meal a multisensory experience. Appreciate your surroundings, the ambience, and the people you're sharing your meal with. Notice the aromas, colors, textures, and flavors of your food.
Plan to stay on track
Consider planning ahead to manage your diabetes, too. Following a balanced diet can be tricky even under ideal circumstances, but it takes even more preparation to manage all the dining out, eating on the run, unpredictable schedules, and limited options you may face while away from home.
To make things easier, try to stick to your routine as much as possible—eating balanced meals, checking your blood sugar—while remaining flexible enough to enjoy spontaneous adventures and unique experiences.
Plan to have healthy snacks with you so you don’t feel trapped into buying something from a machine or fast food restaurant while you’re on the go.
When visiting friends or family, instead of just going out to eat, offer to cook a favorite healthy meal together.
It goes without saying, a mindful mindset doesn't just work for vacations; it applies to any situation where there’s an abundance of food—in other words, nearly every day of your life!
A vacation provides many opportunities to refresh and rejuvenate. But why wait until your next trip? Consider trying these suggestions at home to make every day an experience to savor! You may be surprised at the difference it makes.