Summer trips are time to unwind and take it easy. Many people take a break from exercise while traveling and tend to indulge in their favorite foods and drinks. It can be great to give your body a little R&R, but the combo can also leave you feeling heavy and bloated when you get back home. The good news is that with a few quick fixes and nutritious post-vacation meals, you’ll feel like your healthy self again in no time.
Step one: Rehydrate right away. “Sometimes people drink enough water on vacation, but they often forget,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., creator of BetterThanDieting and author of Read It Before You Eat It. It’s also common to take in way more sodium on vacation than normal, as prepared foods and meals at restaurants are typically super salty. “Salt is a magnet to water, so that can contribute to bloat,” Taub-Dix says. She recommends drinking plenty of water when you get back from vacation (especially if you skimped on your intake while traveling) to help nix that bloated feeling. A lot of people also consume more booze than usual while traveling, which is another factor for dehydration. Taub-Dix advises limiting your alcohol intake to just a couple days a week when you’re coming off vacation.
Step two: Focus on fruits and veggies. “After vacation, it’s all about getting back into your routine. Routines are just as important for adults as they are for kids,” says Sara Haas, a registered dietitian nutritionist, chef in Chicago, and author of the cookbook Taco! Taco! Taco! “Go back to filling up with a balance of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. That’s a good way to get plenty of fiber and energy to recharge, refresh, and refuel.”
You can kick-start your regular routine on day one back from your travels with a few easy, nutrition-packed recipes. Try these three dietitian-approved meals to resume your healthy diet and feel satisfied and less bloated ASAP.
Breakfast: Super Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Post vacay, start your day with a smoothie made with a plain yogurt and loads of fruit or veggies, Haas suggests. “This one packs lean protein, lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as water for hydration.”
4 ounces Greek yogurt
¼ cup milk (or milk alternative)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
½ cup frozen strawberries
½ medium ripe banana
- Add all ingredients to a blender.
- Process until smooth.
Lunch: Salad, Meet Citrus
When getting back to a regular, healthy diet, steer clear of excess dressings and sauces or anything breaded or fried, Taub-Dix suggests. “Save the fats in your diet for fats that have benefits, like nuts and avocado,” she says. This salad does just that, with a simple drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette for dressing.
1 cup each of fresh kale, spinach, and arugula, washed and spun dry
6 leaves of fresh mint, washed, dried, and chopped
2 Cara Cara oranges, peeled and cut into pieces
1 small fresh beet, peeled and cut into cubes
¼ cup jicama, peeled and cut into cubes
½ avocado, sliced
Small handful of unsalted nuts
Drizzle of balsamic glaze
- Place greens and mint on a large platter or in a large salad bowl.
- Top greens with oranges, beets, jicama, and avocado.
- Sprinkle nuts over salad.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze over salad.
Dinner: Spicy Grilled Vegetable Tacos
The fiber and healthy fats in this dish—plus the kick from the jalapeño—will keep you full and satisfied, Haas says.
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup packed cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons roughly chopped jalapeño
1 clove garlic
2 portobello mushroom caps, gills and stems removed
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
2 ears corn, husked and silks removed
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
8 corn or whole-grain tortillas, warmed
1 red onion, cut into ½-inch slices
Salt to taste
Toppings: avocado, salsa, plain Greek yogurt, cilantro
- Place all marinade ingredients in a blender or small food processor, and blend until smooth. Pour into a resealable gallon-size plastic bag. Add the mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, squash, and onion to the bag. Seal it and rotate gently to coat the vegetables in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- When ready to grill, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Clean and oil grates. Remove vegetables from marinade and tap to remove excess. Reserve the marinade. Place mushrooms on prepared grill, gill side up, and cook 10 minutes. Flip the caps and add remaining veggies and corn to the grill.
- Chop veggies into bite-size pieces. Cut corn kernels from the cob. Serve in warmed tortillas topped with avocado, salsa, Greek yogurt, and cilantro.
If you’re feeling a bit sluggish after vacation, it’s easy to get back on track with a few healthy meals. Focus on post-vacation meals like these that have a balanced blend of macronutrients and fiber to make your body feel back at home.