3 Things You Should Absolutely Cut Out to Look (and Feel) Your Best Before a Vacation

A juice cleanse isn't the only way to prep for your upcoming vacation (in fact, we don't really recommend doing that at all). By eliminating certain foods two to three weeks leading up to your trip, you'll not only feel better, but you may also shed a few pounds as a result — whether or not that's your goal. We spoke with Explore Cuisine's registered dietitian and nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein for pre-getaway health tips, and she shared the best and worst foods to watch out for.

In case you're thinking, "Why eat healthy when I'm only going to reverse my efforts on the trip?," you should change your mindset ASAP. According to Ilana, you wouldn't be undoing things at all. "Eating well and preparing well before sets you up to want to keep craving those foods on your vacation and get into those habits that really stick," she told POPSUGAR. "You're giving yourself that cushion so when you return, you don't feel like you have to start over and do something extreme."

If you want to head into your getaway feeling debloated and looking fresh-faced, see her tips below!

Foods to Cut Out

  1. White carbohydrates: Ilana says it's best to avoid white-carb-based meals, like white rice and pasta, before your trip because they cause almost immediate weight gain and a spike in our blood sugar. "They don't actually provide any strong nutritional qualities," she told us. "I would recommend, in general, using those white carbs as treats for special occasions and looking forward to having those during your vacation."
  2. Salty packaged and restaurant food: We know that salt promotes bloat, but most of our salt intake actually comes from packaged and restaurant food, not so much from our own home cooking. Make meals and snacks at home rather than eating out — you'll want to save the good stuff for your trip, anyway.
  3. Alcohol: "Alcohol breaks down with an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, a supply-and-demand enzyme — so the more you drink, the more your body produces this enzyme to break it down," Ilana said. This means that the more you drink, the higher your tolerance becomes, which equals more alcohol (aka sugar and calories) to enjoy the same effects. So if you're planning on drinking margaritas on your entire trip, give yourself something to look forward to by cutting out alcohol beforehand. Plus, your tolerance will be much lower by then. Can you say cheap date?

Items to Add

  • Bean-based or veggie-based pasta: Swap out those white carbs for a much more nutritional alternative like black bean spaghetti, which is high in fiber and iron but extremely low in sugar.
  • Water: Stay as hydrated as possible for glowing skin and a debloated tummy.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Add chia and flax seeds to your Greek yogurt for a dewy look.
  • Vitamin A-rich foods: Stock up on veggies like carrots, spinach, and kale, which promote healthy skin formation.
  • Vitamin C-rich foods: Ditch the collagen protein for foods that naturally promote it, such as bell peppers, dark greens, berries, citrus fruits, and cucumber.