Vacations are meant to be a relaxing break from the daily grind, but how relaxing is it when you return with guilt?  Let’s reframe the vacation eating mindset, and remember a mental break applies in more ways than one.


We’ve heard it before…the cliché, “I need to get back on track” after coming back from a vacation. But what if we changed the game and simply viewed “vacation eats” as “regular eats”?

Let’s dive into this further.

There’s often this thought that we need to “get ourselves back on track” after a vacation. Maybe we feel we indulged a little too much while we were away. But this thought is one that is negative, and often times can plague your mind while you’re on vacation. It’s that internal battle of associating foods as “good” or “bad”, and then projecting those labels on to ourselves when we eat those said “good” or “bad” foods.

It’s the thought that we have to eat a more regimented plan during our normal, every day lives. However, when we go on vacation we’re allowed to go a little rogue, eat whatever we want, and indulge in more foods than we normally would allow.

That last sentence right there is diet mentality, folks.

So how do you get get rid of that diet mindset, take away the post-vacation guilt, and regain the feeling of “getting back on track?”


It’s quite simple: if you never put yourself on a the restrictive track or limit yourself to a specific diet to begin with, vacation eats are no different than how you normally eat.  Besides the fact that you’re probably not doing as much home cooking that week – which is OK because you’re on vacation.


Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break from the restrictive mindset, both during vacations and in your daily life. Incorporate a more mindful approach to food by listening to your body’s wants and needs, and eat for pleasure and satisfaction. Recognize that you can be healthy without restricting the ice cream, the hearty, palatable meals, or the cocktails.


When you allow yourself to fulfill a craving, remember that your goal is to maintain flexibility and balance in your meals throughout the day. By giving yourself grace on a regular basis, those vacation eats will no longer seem like such a huge conflict. You won’t feel the need to “eat super healthy” once you’re back from vacation because you never “fell off the wagon” in the first place.

There’s no doubt that vacations will be filled with more palatable, indulgent foods.  However, keep it in perspective that a week of eating out will not ruin your health. There is no need to lecture yourself to “make up” for your vacation week. Listen to your body, and it may just ask you for it by itself. Is your body signaling cravings for some veggies or lean protein or whole grains? Or maybe you feel energized by the thought of meal prepping some balanced lunches for the week ahead.

Take vacation eating off its pedestal, and enjoy life as it’s meant to be enjoyed.

Adapted from the original article.

Emily Holdorf, RDN is a Scranton, PA-based private practice dietitian on a mission to empower others to live a healthier, happier life.  By emphasizing a non-diet approach to eating, Emily helps individuals form a better relationship with food by focusing on why there’s room for every food in moderation. Find out more about about Emily at EmPowered Nutrition.

  1. Thanks again! Sitting here on vacation as I read this! Fantastic! You hit the nail on the head and I love it!! And you put it so well! You are a gem!