Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s Afterglo

Four healthy vacation ideas

by Caroline Shannon-Karasik

One of the best things about vacation time is many of our everyday routines go out the window. There are no meetings to attend or rush hour to tackle; breakfast becomes brunch and reading a book while intermittently napping is the norm.

But, while time away from home is the ultimate opportunity to seek relaxation, it’s still important to stay on top of our healthy habits in order to avoid completely derailing our best intentions, like exercise and balanced food choices. Here are a few tips for doing just that – I promise there’s still plenty of fun included!

1. Take your supplements.

I am a firm believer most of our nutrients should come from food sources, but every once in a while we need a little help from a supplement in order to make sure our health stays in check. This can be especially true on vacation, especially since we may be indulging in foods that are less nutrient-packed. Three supplements to consider: A multi-vitamin, which will help keep essential vitamins and minerals in check; probiotics, which are great for helping your digestive system stay on track; and a supplement with omega-3 (and sometimes -6 and -9) fatty acids, which protect against heart disease and other conditions. Some researchers have found omega-3s can also lower levels of depression – and who wants to be unhappy on vacation, right?

2. Pack free weights or resistance bands.

Staying in shape in a new place can sometimes be tricky, whether it’s because of a lack of access to fitness equipment, or a simple want to opt for margaritas on the beach instead of a solid sweat session. (Note: Sometimes you really should choose the margarita!) If I am going on a vacation where I can pack free weights, I am sure to stow a set in my suitcase. Resistance bands are also a great option because they are lightweight, making them ideal for traveling on a plane. Both of these options are also ideal for allowing workout flexibility. The ability to squeeze in a quick hotel workout or even one outdoors while taking in the view means no excuses are allowed!

3.  Plan for health.

It’s a sure thing vacation and R&R go hand-in-hand, but having at least a loose plan for fitness and healthy eating will help keep your good intentions intact. For example, if you plan to treat yourself to a good book while sitting on the beach, consider walking the distance from the hotel to your reading spot or going for a brisk walk before kicking back in a lounge chair. It’s also helpful to plan for healthy balance with your food choices. Offset a heavy brunch with a veggie-packed salad, or opt for a smoothie for breakfast when you know burgers and beer are on the menu for dinner.

4. Try a new workout. 

In the midst of planning for adventures and making restaurant reservations, I also do a bit of research about the various fitness studios that are in the particular area I’m visiting. I recently visited New York City and had a chance to take a SoulCycle ( class. I’m not a regular cycler, but it was so much fun to try a new class I don’t have the chance to take at home. It also gave me the energy boost I needed to go exploring and, of course, provided a healthy balance for some of my favorite Big Apple indulgences. While you are away, consider trying a new boot camp class that isn’t offered in your area or visit a yoga studio for a peaceful practice.

Of course, vacation time should always be reserved for regrouping and having a bit of fun, but keeping yourself on the straight and narrow – with a wiggle here and there – will help keep your healthy ways intact, making it easier to return from your time away and slip into the groove of things.

I’m curious: What do you do to stay healthy while on vacation? Send me an email and share your tips!

Spiced Mixed Nuts 

(naturally gluten-free and vegan)

Makes 2-1/2 cups

Whip up a batch of this savory trail mix before hitting the road or jet-setting for an easy go-to snack while traveling!


1/2 cup shelled pistachios

1/2 cup pecans

1 cup raw almonds 

1/2 cup peanuts

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1 Tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Evenly spread pistachios, pecans, almonds and peanuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until nuts are lightly roasted and aromatic. 

While nuts are roasting, mix all of the spices (chili powder through black pepper) in a small bowl, then set aside. In a separate medium bowl, combine maple syrup and olive oil, and also set aside. 

When nuts have finished roasting, carefully remove from oven and add to olive oil mixture, stirring to coat. Begin adding spice mixture, stirring again to evenly distribute. Pour nuts back onto baking sheet, baking for an additional 3-4 minutes. Cool on the tray, then serve. 

Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the author of The Gluten-Free Revolution and a certified health coach. She is also the author of the popular gluten-free blog, Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at

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