As we head into the holiday weekend, Lissa Harnish Poirot has put together some timely tips for eating healthy while away from home without breaking the bank. A BIG thanks to Lissa for this informative article.

5 (Budget-Friendly) Ways for Families to Eat Healthy While Vacationing

1. Try to find hotels offering in-room mini-fridges so you can stock it with drinks and snacks (if they only offer a mini bar, ask the hotel to empty it before your arrival). Avoid purchasing snacks at the hotel (higher prices) but instead hit the local grocery store for fresh produce, bottled water, and healthy snacks that you’d normally purchase at home.

2. Look for hotels providing free breakfast buffets. I hate to look like that woman grabbing the extra food at the buffet, but I have no shame when I’m spending a bundle on a hotel and they offer a free buffet and the chance to grab some extra fruit to bring with us while we explore a city, visit a theme park, or even just to keep in our room for when we get hungry. I also grab extra apples from those hotels offering them at check in!

3. Splurge on a Club Level room, if available. I find the splurge for a Club Level room is worth it in the money I save on meals and snacks — the stay becomes nearly all-inclusive — but the choices are also more healthy. Club Levels provide breakfast buffets, snacks and drinks throughout the day, and heavy hors d’ouevres at lunch and dinner hours. During one recent Club Level stay, we were able to snack on hummus and fruit, and fill up on salads and finger sandwiches during meal times.

4. When traveling overseas where familiar foods may not be available, pack peanut butter and other favorites as a fail-safe standby. Again, visiting the local grocer can get you the tried-and-true healthy favorites that work at home, such as bread, sliced turkey, pretzels and fruit. Pack meals as if you’re packing for your child’s day at school. Try to order a couple of small items off the menu at the restaurants, however, to round out the meal, and to have your child try to embrace new foods.

5. Avoid “vacation” mentality. Too often we throw caution to the wind during vacation. We’re sleeping in, staying up later, off our daily schedules, and before we know it we’re ordering our weight in chicken fingers, chips and queso dip, and ice cream. Sure, it’s vacation, so splurge once in a while and have that double-decker ice cream cone after a day on the beach — just don’t do it every day. If you over-indulge at lunch, take it easy and order a healthier dinner. The kids will avoid the sugar high so many of us encounter on vacations, and you’ll avoid the extra pounds on the scale when you get home.

INTRODUCING LISSA HARNISH POIROT

Lissa Harnish Poirot is an experienced editor, writer and family travel expert who loves to travel with her two kids in tow — making her the perfect choice for editor of Family Vacation Critic.

*Image provided by Peanut Butter & Co.*