Foodie-200x133Family vacations are as notorious for putting on weight as the freshman year of college.  Most of us gained the freshman fifteen and now we gain the “Fun Five”- five pounds from vacation eating. After a week of carefree living, having dessert every night and drinking flirtatious fruity drinks that are packed with calories, we return home in our yoga pants for comfort.  Before our vacation smiles fade, we’re off to the gym to lose those five pounds before they become ten.  The drudgery for me makes my vacation frolic a distant memory. 

Here’s the good news. With just a little discipline and a preparation plan, you can vacation without the extra weight.  Traveling with kids always makes us prone to funnel cakes and ice cream cones. After all, vacations are about letting it all hang out.  If you make a few changes in your vacation eating you can still let it all “hang out” without it hanging over the top of your jeans. 

Vacation Cocktails

Did you know that  a six-ounce Pina Colada has 462 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat? The same size strawberry daiquiri has 336 calories.  Having a few of these around the pool can surely add up over a week’s time.  You don’t have to totally kick the cocktail habit on vacation. You have one of two choices:  Have fewer cocktails or choose low calorie mixed drinks. 


If you alternate your alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on vacation, you can cut your caloric intake in half. It’s also probably a healthy option to follow every cocktail with a bottle of water, especially on sunny beach vacations. However, if you idea of a vacation is something fruity with an umbrella while the waves crash behind you, then go for a mixer with either tonic, lemonade, orange, or cranberry juice. If you can get “light” fruit juice you’ll save even more calories.  If your mixer has soda in it, chose diet instead of regular.


It’s simple. Choose wisely and don’t choose every day.  Instead of ice cream, choose a sorbet.  If you order a half cup of vanilla soft serve ice cream you’ll pack on 191 calories. The same amount of sorbet will only add 130 calories to your waistline.  Fat-Free frozen yogurt adds 110.  An even better choice for after dinner is jello and fruit which averages only 80 calories.  If you can skip dessert a few nights of the vacation then you may want to treat yourself to crème Brule, my favorite vacation indulgence. At a whopping 210 calories, I choose only one night to savor the goodness.  The best choice for vacation dessert? You guessed it. Fresh Fruit!  You can have a full cup of melon balls and strawberries for only 22 calories. What a deal!

Carbs and Pastries

That continental breakfast is a killer. With all of its muffins, waffles, and nutty breads, you’ll be heading to the pool with your sarong wrapped tight. Instead, skip the pastry bar at breakfast and choose to load up on protein. It’s vacation so you don’t have to go whole health nut.  Go ahead; eat the entire egg, yolk and all.

At dinner, pass the bread basket to the left. Nothing packs on unnecessary calories like good conversation and a basket of bread.  Say no to dinner bread on vacation. If you want to choose a couple of nights to dip your bread in olive oil – make it a night that you are not having pasta. Takes all the fun out right? I know.  But, by skipping the bread basket you’ll cut out 165 calories on the roll and butter you normally enjoy.

If you pay attention to alcohol consumption, dessert, and bread you can come home from vacation smiling in your duty-free sundress instead of wrapped in a knit jogging suit with the jacket wrapped around your waist.  Family vacations are lots of fun. Eat, drink, and be wary of the “fun five”.