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My Vacation Food Philosophy

How I eat on vacation can be summed up pretty simply…whatever I want! I consider vacations (and girl’s weekends and quick getaways) to be sacred me time and I allow myself to let loose a little and eat, drink, sleep as I please. This goes back to my childhood. My family always spent two weeks at the beach each summer. My dad loves to cook and while we always ate home cooked meals in “real life,” on vacation we went out almost every night, had donuts or bagels for breakfast and kept things in the kitchen that would usually be a no go at home. It was such a treat for us!

One of the food comments that I get more than anything is how surprised people are that I eat everything. I’m not dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo, low-carb, no-sugar, etc. I’m all things in moderation. I don’t count calories or macros, food journal or stress out about my diet. One week I might be all about dark chocolate and sandwiches and another salads and smoothies. It all balances out in the end.

The same applies for vacation. One week of splurging (even with an upcoming photo shoot! :P) is not going to totally derail all of your hard work. I ate whatever I wanted on this vacation but was lucky that the resort was wellness focused and had a lot of healthy options (although you’ll see I bypassed them often). Instead of my normal 80/20, I was probably more 50/50 on this trip but I felt great when I packed up and headed home. I just posted about my vacation week workouts and that definitely helped to balance out the splurges but in general I just tried to do and eat what felt right and good.

You’ve gotta live life and soak up special times. 

And here’s what that looked like.


Breakfast was in general my healthiest meal of the day although it was hard to resist the giant basket of pastries that traveled around the restaurant with someone encouraging you to take several. I started almost every day with the resort’s homemade green juice.


They had this incredible cottage cheese that tasted nothing like we have here in the states. Eggs and fresh fruit.


Egg white omelet with veggies and smoked salmon.


Huervos rancheros. My favorite breakfast of the week.


Pita sandwich with cheese, tomato, avocado and a side of scrambled egg whites to make it an egg sandwich.


This was my appetizer for breakfast one morning.


And foamy cappuccinos made with creamy whole milk to go with.



Lunch was always eaten pool or oceanside and generally started with a big tray of chips, guac, salsa and refried beans while waiting for the food to be delivered.


Grilled chicken and avocado salad.


Sushi, sashimi and octopus ceviche.


One of my favorite dishes at the resort was this shrimp ceviche made with lime juice and patron. I ordered this several days.


We always got dressed up and went out to dinner as a group. The resort is big on starter, salad/soup, entree and dessert. Most meals were a four course affair.


Salad with pears, sorbet, fresh peas and a parmesan crisp.




Gnocchi with butter sauce, parmesan, truffle oil and asparagus. This was another favorite dish of the week and I will definitely be recreating it at home.


One night they offered these grilled meat and veggie pots poolside with all the fixings to make tacos/fajitas.


Another night there was a made to order pasta station where I concocted an awesome seafood pasta with penne, scallops, calamari, pesto, artichokes and parmesan.


Dessert sampler.


Guava with chocolate ice cream.

Needless to say, it was a week of good eating. If you are a foodie who is hesitant about all-inclusives due to food quality, I definitely recommend the Zoetry Resorts. I’ve stayed with them three times now (twice in Dominican and once in Mexico) and the food has been wonderful each stay.

What is your vacation food philosophy? 

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Nicole March 4, 2014, 2:20 pm

    Everything looks so good! I love your food philosophy and that you’re able to share it with so many people. I just wish I could motivate myself to workout as much as you during vacations… lol.

  • Emily March 4, 2014, 2:22 pm

    Just another reason I love your blog (and instagram feed) so much. I agree 110% with your philosophy. Life is meant to be enjoyed. I aim for 80/20 most days but when it comes to vacation and special dinners out I would hate to turn down an amazing meal because of the fear of calories. And the thing that makes me most jealous of this post – the weather in your pictures!!! I am SO over the cold.

  • She Rocks Fitness March 4, 2014, 2:27 pm

    LOVE your philosophy about eating on vacation! I try to do the same, but need to let go more, just relax, and enjoy the whole experience. Like you, I love working out when on vacation, so I need to remember that in the end it all balances out. These meals look delicious and love the look of the gnocchi. 🙂

  • Shannon March 4, 2014, 2:30 pm

    I love your vacation food philosophy! I think it’s important to keep an open mind while traveling so you can try all local foods and really enjoy your vacation, like you said! It’s definitely doable while still not over-indulging or eating too unhealthy.

    Your food looks fantastic! And that cottage cheese sounds delicious!

  • Lauren March 4, 2014, 2:33 pm

    YES YES YES to your food philosphy. something i’m striving to achieve myself!

  • JennyV March 4, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Your attitude toward food is refreshing and one I hope to fully adopt as I gain trust in my body. Such a battle but one that is worthwhile.

  • Laura@ Fit Running Mama March 4, 2014, 2:42 pm

    I have the same thoughts when on vacation!! This summer hubs and I are doing Italy and Spain and I am not going to miss out on a thing!!!

  • Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run March 4, 2014, 2:54 pm

    that fluffy pancake looks perfect!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 4, 2014, 3:31 pm

    I love this philosophy and is exactly how I think. Vacations are not the time to limit yourself or deal with food guilt – eat what you want and RELAX! You don’t get vacations very often and it is so important to treat yourself!

  • Kim @FITsique March 4, 2014, 4:02 pm

    I love this philosophy! I feel the same way about vacation, it is a special time usually with very special people and it should be enjoyed. You will never look back at a trip and say “I’m so happy I ate chicken and veggies all week!” You usually think back to the good meals you had! My favorite meal out on vacation is breakfast and finding a local cafe.

  • Alyssa D March 4, 2014, 4:10 pm

    I love your food philosophy and it is one of the reason I love reading your blog. I believe that a healthy life does not need to revolve restrictive diets and counting calories…..food tastes way too good!

  • Erin March 4, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I love your food philosophy an appreciate that you eat a variety of foods and don’t conform to any one “diet.”

    But here is my thought…while you eat what you want you also tend to gravitate more towards very healthy foods. You’re “I eat everything I want” is not even close to the carp I eat. You aren’t exactly eating a burger and fries by the pool. Sure there are some cookies and sweets in there, but they are balanced out by an egg white omelet and some sushi and overall you make good food choices. I can also bet that you are more likely to enjoy your dessert, but not finish the entire thing or share a cookie.

    Overall I find this true of many people who are “naturally” thin. I say “naturally” that way because I know the while people tend to assume some people are just born that way the reality is that they also tend eat less without even thinking about it and exercise more. They eat what they want but they also tend to want more healthy foods and when they eat things that are higher in calorie they don’t tend to clean their plate. I have a friend like this. She definitely eat swell and doesn’t deny herself anything, yet unlike me she can keep ice cream in her fridge until it gets freezer burn where I would eat the entire pint in 2 days.

    I am not really sure what my point it other than my observation and thinking that as I try to manage my weight I enjoy seeing what people who are thin eat so I can get a better understand of why they are that way and try to find more balance in my own diet; enjoying dessert ,but not the entire cake, balancing one indulgence with healthy meals at other times of the day and so forth.

    • DeeDee March 5, 2014, 11:14 am

      I agree, Erin. For a person with food issues, every meal can be a struggle. I’m incredibly active and naturally gravitate toward healthy foods (that’s what I was raised on–my mom didn’t believe in processed or fast foods, so they don’t taste good to me) but I have a big BIG appetite and if I don’t restrict my calories I gain weight. Rapidly. Last time I went on vacation and ate whatever I wanted for an entire week I gained twelve pounds. In one week! While spending six to eight hours a day hiking and swimming!

  • Lauren-Kate March 4, 2014, 4:48 pm

    Your food philosophy is so refreshing and I could not agree more! You are absolutely right in saying “You’ve gotta live life and soak up special times”. This is why I love reading your blog 🙂

  • Cheri @ Overactive Blogger March 4, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Oh man, that food all looks so yummy! And I’m so jealous that you got to eat all of it poolside! Take me with you next time please!

  • Linda March 4, 2014, 6:10 pm

    Everything looks amazing! Out of all 3 Zoetry resorts, which was your favorite? I’m thinking of planning a trip there!

  • Hayley@healthyregardshayley March 4, 2014, 9:17 pm

    I am about to go on “vacation” well its for work but making it vacation! And I needed to read this (: It is meant to be a time to let loose and relax, and makes you want to go back to your normal at the end!

  • Amy March 4, 2014, 11:18 pm

    Looks amazing! I looooove fresh breakfast foods. Your bfasts look so yummy!

  • Diana March 5, 2014, 2:24 am

    Your food philosophy completely inspires me. I would love to have a healthy relationship with food just like you do. I’m not there yet, but I have hope that I will eventually get there. 🙂

  • Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} March 5, 2014, 7:52 am

    I am right their with you on your food philosophy, I don’t take many trips so this is the one time to just breakout of my schedule and eat what I want! I do choose healthier options because they appeal to me more but if their is a break sweet that looks super yummy, I will go for it! 🙂

  • Jenn@Mark My Miles! March 5, 2014, 9:25 am

    Your food philosophy is very close to mine. I love freedom in eating…it’s consider fully living for me!

  • Megan (The Lyons' Share) March 5, 2014, 10:52 am

    I have to say, I always thought it was crazy for resorts to use bloggers as promotions … I never thought people would actually book a vacation after seeing something on the blog. I’m here to say, though, that you’re absolutely changing my mind – this place looks SO incredible and I’d love to try it out! Your food choices look balanced and fun – I share the same approach of enjoying what I want while on vacation (but still trying to fit in veggies, water, and movement!)

    • Jen March 5, 2014, 12:38 pm

      hey megan – i’m actually not affiliated with zoetry in any way. i have stayed at their resorts three times for personal travel. twice for yoga retreats with my studio here in charlotte and once for a destination wedding. i just love them so much i sing their praises! i love first-hand travel recommendations so that’s why i always share with y’all! 🙂

  • Jodie March 5, 2014, 11:40 am

    I love your food philosphy.. I need to relax more on vacation and allow myself to enjoy.
    I think I may try this resort. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marla-Deen March 5, 2014, 11:46 am

    Headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands next week and SO looking forward to eating great fresh food, being active when I want and getting some sleep. That’s what vacation is all about! So glad we can take time to relax!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen March 5, 2014, 8:11 pm

    I love your food philosophy! 🙂 Your food always looks tasty, especially on vacay!

  • tara March 6, 2014, 9:19 pm

    i share your philosophy regarding eating what you want on vaca though i must admit my eating what you want is a lot less clean than yours ; )
    i find i feel better about this if i work out while on vaca. in all honesty i just can’t resist good foods if they are in front of me. as someone else said above, i am not a naturally thin person or healthy eater and struggle to not eat a lot of food. I’m one of those always hungry people who eats every bite. really i guess i have no willpower and have to workout a ton just to stay at a sort of healthy weight. i wish that i could master eating smaller portions. It looks lke you had a really great vacation. Good for you – you deserve it ~

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