With Labor Day right around the corner, are you planning on taking advantage of the long weekend by going on vacation?

Unfortunately, one of the things we tend to forget to pack on our travels are healthy habits.  I can appreciate using this time to treat yourself, but are we really doing ourselves any favors if we’re putting our health on the backburner?  In just a few days, the lack of exercise will make us feel sluggish and stiff.  Unhealthy food choices lead us to feel bloated and lethargic.  By the end of the trip, we may even be counting down the hours until we return to feeling “normal.”

What is the right balance of letting loose and choosing to follow a healthy lifestyle?  Consider the following ideas for prioritizing your health goals while on vacation.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast.

  • There will be plenty of opportunities to make some less-than-ideal choices so it’s best to start the day off strong before the temptations kick in.

  • Visit the omelet station and ask for an egg white omelet packed with your favorite veggies. Enjoy the oatmeal bar and load up with fresh fruit. Choosing a heart-healthy breakfast can set the tone of the day.

Every little workout counts.

  • Our time is our own on vacation, which means there is really no excuse not to exercise. Being active offers an essential mental break and provides energy to fuel the rest of the day. Use this mini getaway as an opportunity to move in a new way.

  • Try starting the day with a 30-minute walk or scheduling a walking tour; the new environment provides abundance of new scenery. A jump rope is easy to pack and can offer a different spin on a high intensity workout. A yoga class can help find peace and relaxation. Regardless, aim to do some type of purposeful physical activity each day- even if it’s just 10 minutes.

Keep healthy snacks readily available.

  • Just like at home, we tend to snack on what’s around. Instead of chips or cookies, make it a heart-healthy choice!

  • Visit the local grocery store at the beginning of your trip and stock up on easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables. Berries, apples, and bananas are great to satisfy a sweet tooth. Celery, carrots, and bell peppers are perfect when you're wanting a gratifying crunch. Chop and prepare veggie snack packs ahead of time so that they are ready when you are. Enjoy them as a snack before dinner or grab them on the way out the door.

Use active transportation.

  • When we’re home, it’s easy to get so caught up in the rush of daily life that we aren’t very thoughtful about how we’re getting from one appointment to another. On vacation we have the time to slow down and entertain the idea of trying out a different (maybe slower) mode of transportation.

  • Take the scenic route and walk to lunch. Leave earlier, allowing time to bike instead of drive to the beach. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. These little movements add up throughout the day and can provide health benefits that you were least expecting.

You work hard throughout the year and deserve some time off.  However, vacation time does not have to fully derail your health goals.  With a little preparation and some intentional movement, you can treat yourself and stay on track!