My 2 Secrets to Indulging on Vacation within a Healthy Diet

My 2 Secrets to Indulging on Vacation within a Healthy Diet

Today, I’m sharing with you how I balanced my health and my budget during a 4-day California beach vacation with the hubby and our Labrador last week. AND I still managed to create a special occasion date night out.

My two secrets?

  1. Grocery shop like normal and then bring enough food for your ENTIRE trip in a cooler and bags.
    Likewise, if you’re flying in, go grocery shopping when you arrive.
  2. Choose ONE meal during the vacation to be your special occasion splurge.

That’s it?! Well, yeah. If it was complicated, you probably wouldn’t do it, now would you?

But wait… don’t leave so soon. To help you visualize this advice, I’ve posted a photolog of one day of healthy indulgence.

Dog First Day at the Beach

My groceries

I requested a hotel room with a fridge (and we were staying at a budget hotel…). The room also came with a microwave that I used to cook green beans and mushrooms for part of our dinner one of the nights. I gave up my own ‘wave years ago, so this was a novelty. 😉

Before leaving on the vacation, I precooked 2 sweet potatoes (1″ pieces streamed for 15-20 minutes) and 1.5 cups red lentils (no soaking reqd, simmer 15 min) and brought them with in glass travelware. I used these up in lunch and dinner salads during the first couple of days. So easy yet so delicious (that seems to be a theme with me).

Fresh veggies I brought included a couple of bags of romaine lettuce, spinach, and green beans. Also brought some pears, oranges, hemp seed, etc.

What I ate: one day of Healthy Indulgence


Breakfast Berry Pears prep

Breakfast was a simple fruit bowl modeled after my Tangy Crimson Pears from my Quick and Clean cookbook.

Breakfast Berry Pears prep 2

I thawed out my berries in advance so they were soft. I coarsely chopped them up with my bamboo travel spoon because I didn’t care how it looked. 😉

Breakfast Berry Pears

Topped it all off with a Tbsp of hemp seeds to get in my Omega 3 EFA. It added some nice crunch, too. The final meal wasn’t as good as my cookbook version (which uses slightly different ingredients) but still great for throwing together on the fly!


Hotel Room Lunch Salad

I created a simple salad with spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 box of lentil soup (minus the liquid), leftover cooked green beans from the previous night’s dinner, and lemon squeezed over top.

What I like to call “gourmet easy”.

Beach Picnic with my dog

Packed my salad and Buddy up in the car…

Beach Picnic

And had a picnic on the beach. I highly recommend this!


Included an apple, carrot sticks, cucumber, sugar snap peas, and some hummus.

Snack Apple

And my big indulgence both budget-wise and clean-eating wise?

Drum roll, please…


At Himalaya, an Indian/Nepalese/Tibetan restaurant which had a veg section to their menu – score!

Jay and I left Buddy sleeping in the car and went on a date by ourselves. How romantic. We decided to totally enjoy ourselves and ordered the special sampler meal for two.

Indian Splurge Vegan Dinner 2

Dal (lentil soup), veggie soup, saag tofu, a cauliflower dish, basmati brown rice, whole wheat chapati, and some mango chutney. Indulgent but not over-the-top.

And then…


Vegan coconut rice pudding. And yes, it had sugar in it. My every day diet is sugar free, but I’m not above an occasional indulgence.

It’s your every day choices that build your healthy lifestyle. Not your occasional indulgences.

Dessert Vegan Coconut Rice Pudding

I KNOW I overate. And I enjoyed every second of it.

Climbing Hills

I love getting some activity before going to bed, especially after eating such a large meal. So we took a nice, long walk back to our car (we purposely parked far away just because of this 😉 ). And even fit in a massive hill climb.

So here’s my key piece of advice for you:

If you want to indulge and keep your trip healthy and inexpensive, make eating out SPECIAL.

It was the only time I paid for anything on the entire trip. Everything else I ate was from groceries brought from home.

Now your turn.

On your last vacation, how did you balance indulgence with budgeting health and money? What do you plan to do in the future? Share in the comments.

P.S. I couldn’t hold in this bit of news any longer… I’m finally offering 1-1 wellness coaching sessions.

You can now work with me to conquer wellness overwhelm and ignite joy in a healthy lifestyle! Are you as excited to work with me as I am to work with you?!

Hi! I’M ADRIA SOPHIA, Message Clarity Guide, TEDx Speaker, and host of the Quiet Messenger Podcast. I lead cozy Messenger Masterminds where I help introverted women leaders & sensitive souls tap into the message that moves them then clearly & courageously share it so they can call in their people…and their next level of impact.


  1. Kathryn says:

    I am having huge anxiety about my 5 day trip to Vegas at the end of the month. Flying in, no car. We have a full kitchen though so we are going to go to the store when we get there for sure. I plan to also bring some McDougall style soups and some dried fruit. We do plan to eat dinners out at the Wynn. Very excited for this! The boys are excited to golf so we will get in some walking on the golf course in addition to all of the walking on the strip too. Planning on some squats, planks, and push ups to keep me active.

    • Adria says:

      Hey Kathryn, great plan. Having a full kitchen is awesome and the perfect step for keeping it healthy! You’ll have to share which Wynn restaurants you visit and your favorite. Love your body-weight exercise plan. So important and easy to travel with! Adria

  2. Vacations have always been tough for me too. I either starve or end up eating empty nutrition stuff like pretzels and crackers and whatnot – not good foods for me. Packing food is the only way to go! Thankfully, my travels are always by car, so packing food is top priority. Hubby doesn’t really like to hit the grocery store when we arrive someplace, but he’s getting more used to it 😉

    • Adria says:

      Veggie V, yep, we like to slowly train those hubbys so they know what to expect when traveling with us! 😉

  3. kim says:

    Great post. I just returned from a two week vacation. Week one was visting the in-laws in Florida, so I just stocked up at the local Publix and was set for breakfast, dinners and most lunches, the few lunches we did eat out I stuck to salads and one great mexican restaurant that had great vegan tacos in Fort Myers, I also lucked out just around the corner was an organic ice cream palor with a few vegan ice creams or sorbets. Week two was spent on a cruise and despite what everyone things about eating and cruising I was able to do fruit, nuts and an occasional baked apple for breakfast..great veg friendly choices on the buffet, lunch was undressed salads from the buffet and steam veggies, dinners were salads and their vegatarian choices from the sit down menu, they also offered steamed veggies, fruit for dessert. I actually lost a pound or two. I plan on visiting Disney World end of August and will be bringing my own vehicle for this trip, last trip we flew down to Florida from NJ, this time I’m going to take the auto tran down and I booked a condo with a full kitchen to stay out, so I plan on packing a large cooler with food from home and pick up what I need when we arrive. For our first trip this year, I brought along a few items from home on the plane: uncooked steel cut oats, nuts, seeds and some homemade brownies for a treat.

    There are so many options available that it’s not too hard to eat veg friendly!

  4. Adria says:

    Hey Kim, sounds like you are totally on the ball. Great to hear about your positive experience traveling and staying healthy at the same time! Plus some welcome indulgences. 😉

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