7 ways to fight vacation food cravings

“I was doing so well all day, but that damn pina colada derailed me,” a friend recently confessed about a 2-week Maui vacation. “Next thing I knew, I was devouring that big slab of macadamia cream pie my husband ordered after dinner and everything went downhill from there.”

Vacations should leave you feeling relaxed, but trouble starts when you let down your guard and nose-dive into a high-sugar impact catastrophe. Oftentimes, clients tell me they suddenly get cravings on vacation, which ends in a downward spiral that leaves them cursing the scales and their skinny jeans once they return home.

Cravings can be frustrating. They don’t play fair. They often sneak up on you when you’re at your best. And why can’t you, just once, get a craving for wild salmon and Brussels sprouts?

Unless you have an arsenal of tactics to attack them, cravings can sabotage your best vacation fat loss or maintenance efforts. That doesn’t mean you need to dutifully sustain (see strategy #6). Consider these 7 strategies your ammunition against the worst vacation cravings.

1. Protein, protein, protein

Protein (and even vegan protein ideas) becomes an easy way to crush your worst vacation cravings. Besides keeping you satisfied, protein puts the brakes on your brain chemicals that make you feel good and motivate you to get more food, even when you’re not hungry. Optimize protein intake with my All-in-One Shake, which becomes my go-to on-the-road breakfast. For meals, wild salmon, grilled chicken, grass-fed beef, and (if you’re not intolerant) barnyard eggs provide fabulous protein sources.

2. Stability rules

Keeping a meal schedule on vacation can become a challenge, but skipping and going too long between meals become practically guaranteed ways to ramp up fat-stalling cravings. That’s why I want you to keep a few meal-timing rules, and to find the best time to eat dinner for yourself. Have an All-in-One shake within an hour of waking, eat every 4 to 6 hours, and stop eating about 3 hours before bed. (No, that does not mean going to bed later!).

3. Try this crave-busting supplement

Sometimes you need that extra little bit of ammunition to zap vacation cravings. That’s why I designed App Control, a science-based nutrient formula that helps normalize blood sugar levels, balance fat-regulating hormones, optimize fat burning, curb hunger and cravings, reduce stress, and improve mood and energy.

4. Drink more water

Thirst can come disguised as hunger, and sometimes you can’t tell the difference between just needing some water or that glazed donut. Ask yourself some questions before taking another bite. Then, try water first. If cravings visit you before bed, see if water does the trick. According to a study at the University of Washington, drinking 8 ounces of water at bedtime can shut down your evening hunger pangs. Most airports and hotel gyms have a filtered water station, so save a few bucks and reduce your environmental impact by traveling with a canteen.

5. Get good sleep

You’ve got tons to see and do on vacation, but anything less than seven hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep can amp up stress hormones and make the morning after a gargantuan caffeine-and-sugar-fueled nightmare. If jet lag or other travel glitches make optimal sleep a challenge, my Sleep Candy can help you safely, effectively fall and stay asleep, as well as these 50 best ways to sleep better tonight.

6. Keep my 3-bite rule

Your Wakiki host insists you try the restaurant’s Kahlua chocolate cream pie. No need to become a wet blanket when you stick with three polite bites—we’re talking bites you would eat on national TV, not during an 11 p.m. fridge raid—and step away from the dessert. Trust me: Other people at your table will have no problem finishing that cake.

7. Keep an emergency stash nearby

Travel presents numerous uncertainties, from unexpected three-hour layovers to being stranded in traffic where don’t have access to healthy foods. That’s why I keep crave-busting favorite foods like grilled chicken, wild salmon jerky, aseptic-packed wild salmon, slow-roasted nuts, and Virgin Diet Bars to prevent that crash-and-burn hunger and cravings that sometimes sneaks up on you on the go.

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