Ten Tips for Eating Well When You’re on Vacation

Vacationing is a time for relaxation and indulgence, but it often leads to abandoning healthy eating habits. Remember, you’re supposed to return from a trip refreshed, not ill and drained, so be mindful of what you eat!

While it’s tempting to indulge in junk food, maintaining a balanced diet is crucial, even more so when you’re away from home. In destinations like Gatlinburg, known for its diverse culinary landscape, finding healthy and delicious food options isn’t a challenge – so you have no excuses for not eating well.

This article aims to provide practical tips for enjoying nutritious meals while on vacation, ensuring you can savor every moment without compromising your health.

1. Plan Your Meals


One of the keys to eating well on vacation is planning. Before you travel, research the local cuisine and the healthier food options available at your destination. Planning your meals can help avoid the temptation of impulsive, unhealthy eating, especially when hunger strikes unexpectedly. Look up local cafes or restaurants that offer healthy dishes, and consider your daily itinerary to decide the best times to eat. This way, you ensure that your nutritional needs are met while still having the flexibility to enjoy your trip.

2. Try Local Restaurants

Taking a cue from the tip above, never hesitate to explore local restaurants yourself instead of simply taking advice from the internet or your friends. Exploring local restaurants is not only a culinary adventure but also a way to find healthier eating options. Gatlinburg, for instance, offers a variety of cuisines, including options that cater to health-conscious diners. From freshly caught trout, a local specialty, to a simple yet delicious grilled chicken sandwich, Gatlinburg restaurants such as The Park Grill offer a variety of options for those looking to eat well. Trying local foods also means you’re more likely to consume fresh and minimally processed dishes, contributing to a healthier diet.

3. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial, particularly when you’re out exploring. Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day. Opting for water over sugary drinks not only keeps calorie intake in check but also helps you stay energized and alert. In restaurants, start your meal with a glass of water, which can aid digestion and help you eat mindfully.

4. Moderation is Key

Vacation is a time to enjoy, and part of that enjoyment often comes from food. However, moderation is essential. Enjoy local delicacies and treats, but do so in moderation. For instance, if you want to try a rich dessert, consider sharing it with someone. Choose smaller portion sizes or opt for appetizers as a main course to enjoy a variety of flavors without overindulging.

5. Include Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals whenever possible. These not only add essential nutrients and fiber to your diet but also enhance the flavors and textures of your meals. Take advantage of local produce – visit a farmer’s market or choose dishes that feature fresh, local ingredients. Adding a side salad or opting for a fruit-based dessert can boost the nutritional value of your meal while satisfying your taste buds.

6. Opt for Grilled Over Fried

Choosing grilled dishes over fried is a simple yet effective way to eat healthier on vacation. Grilled foods generally contain less fat and retain more nutrients compared to their fried counterparts. Many restaurants offer a variety of grilled options, from seafood to vegetables and meats. In places like Gatlinburg, you can find grilled trout or chicken, which are not only delicious but also a healthier alternative to fried foods. Opting for grilled dishes can significantly reduce calorie intake while still allowing you to enjoy the local flavors.

7. Watch Your Alcohol Intake


Vacations often mean relaxing with a drink, but it’s important to be mindful of alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages, especially cocktails, can be high in calories and sugar. Limiting alcohol consumption is not only better for your waistline but also for your overall health. If you do choose to drink, opt for lighter options like a glass of wine or a light beer. Alternatively, exploring mocktails can be a fun way to enjoy a refreshing drink without the added alcohol and calories.

8. Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals might seem like a good way to save calories. However, it could actually lead to overeating later in the day. Maintaining a regular eating schedule helps regulate your metabolism and keeps you from becoming overly hungry, which can lead to poor food choices. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, and try to stick to your usual meal times. If you’re out and about, carry healthy snacks like nuts or fruit to curb hunger between meals.

9. Enjoy Breakfast

We’ve all heard time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, it’s true, even when you’re on vacation. A healthy breakfast ensures you have the energy to tackle every challenge on your vacation with enthusiasm, especially if you’re on an adventurous trip. Look for options that include protein, whole grains, and fruits. Oatmeal, yogurt with fruit, or a whole-grain sandwich are great choices that can keep you full and energized. Avoid the temptation of heavy, high-calorie breakfasts that can make you feel sluggish.

10. Indulge Wisely


It’s okay to indulge a bit on vacation – after all, part of the joy of traveling is experiencing new foods. The key is to indulge wisely. Choose one meal a day where you treat yourself to something special, whether it’s a local delicacy or a dessert you’ve been eyeing. For the rest of your meals, stick to healthier choices. This way, you can enjoy the unique culinary experiences of your destination without overdoing it.


Eating well on vacation is about making smart choices without depriving yourself of the joy of trying new and exciting foods. Gatlinburg, with its diverse range of dining options, offers ample opportunities to practice the tips discussed above. Remember, eating well is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and with a little planning and mindfulness, you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest – both in terms of adventure and cuisine. So, next time you’re vacationing, remember these tips and savor every meal as part of your memorable travel experience.

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