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How To Not Overeat While On Vacation

June 14, 2012

The-Mission-Taro-Chips

Upon returning to Vancouver from my trip to Scottsdale/Phoenix, I’ve been pondering how easy it can be to overeat while on vacation. I definitely ate out more than I typically do, indulged in more carbs (mmm… pan de bono) and was surprised by the freakishly large portions being served in Arizona (like that monster “side” of taro fries above). Here are some tips on how to not overeat while on vacation…

1) Have access to a kitchen, if possible.

I try to book a room or condo with a kitchen/kitchenette or at minimum a breakfast buffet. Then at the very least I have control over breakfast (if not some other meals, too). My first stop is typically the nearest Whole Foods to stock up on essentials. Healthy food, money savings, what’s not to like.

2) Do your homework.

You’ll be less tempted to eat everything on the menu if you know what’s actually worth ordering. Peruse a few reviews beforehand for standout dishes to get the most out of your experience. Ask your server which dishes the restaurant is known for, and if there’s something that you must try. Be careful with this backfiring if you hear about too many can’t miss dishes – be judicious in your choices and opt for dishes unique to that particular restaurant or area. If you’re having difficulties narrowing it down, pass on the chicken:

“Chicken is boring. Chefs see it as a menu item for people who don’t know what they want to eat” – Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

3) Order together, not separately.

It’s helpful if your dinner date is generally on the same page as you.  This doesn’t mean that they have to like exactly the same foods, but if you can order along the same lines, you can share and try more foods while eating less overall. Even if you have differing preferences, you can still come up with some compromises so that everyone’s happy.

4) Order creatively.

Who says you need your own appetizer? Or two entrees? You could share an app, or share an entrée and get multiple apps. Or only get apps, tapas-style – smaller portions, cheaper prices, and you get to try more stuff. Don’t feel like you’re “supposed” to order a certain way. Review the menu to see what’s interesting and also good bang for your buck. Then order as you please.

5) Doggie bag it.

The doggie bag is your friend. Unless it’s one of those rare meals that is truly too good to pack up, save what’s left on your plate for later. Leftovers make great breakfast/lunch/snacks. Saves you from waddling home, and potentially from buying another meal.

Perhaps most importantly, enjoy the food and the experience, it is your holiday after all – a little indulgence is to be expected :)

What are your tips for not overeating while on vacation?

Shared with Fight Back Fridays and Real Food Wednesdays.

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