Roadtrip and Other Vacation Tips After Bariatric Surgery

Steph Wagner

March 9, 2015

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Roadtripsand other Vacation Tips

With Spring Break just around the corner, I thought now would be a great time to share about my recent trip and how I kept health a priority in the midst of my vacationing!

You may have read in my other posts or seen on Facebook that in February, Mr. W and I took a 12 day road trip out West. It was the trip of a lifetime. We skied in New Mexico, saw the sun rising over the Grand Canyon, attempted to wrap our minds around the Hoover Dam, caught a show in Vegas and hiked the cliffs overlooking the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

For me, vacations are a time of splurging. I spend more money than I usually do and I order foods I don’t normally allow myself to indulge upon.

But even letting my hair down and indulging on a trip like this needs to be moderated. I was gone for twelve days. If there are 3 meals in a day and I let myself splurge the entire time…I would have splurged for 36 meals. And felt terrible as I hiked the Grand Canyon or even sat in a car for hours at a time.

What I’ve learned about splurging on vacation, is that it still needs to balanced. Not only for budget purposes (we couldn’t have afforded to eat out for 36 meals!) But also because I feel better when I’m still in control of my diet.

So here are a few things I did to reduce my splurging to a minimal level. This also made those moments much more enjoyable because they were special. Something I don’t normally do!

1. I made a “meal schedule” for the days we would be gone. 

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That doesn’t mean I planned the meals perfectly, but it does mean I made a quick schedule in Excel of what meals we would eat out, and what meals I would attempt to pack for us. This helped us budget out food money too. Instead of eating out for 36 meals, we ate out for 14. We had protein bars for breakfast most mornings, unless we were at a place we could cook eggs. See number 4. I packed lunches for the first 3 days and kept them in a cooler see number 3. Then when it was time to eat out, we were excited and ready to go for dinner! Side note, this also made it much easier when there was no where to stop for miles to eat. If we didn’t have lunch in the car, we may not have had lunch until waaaaaay after we’d gotten hungry for it! 


2. I made a list of the foods most easiest to pack. 

I wrote a quick list including cheese sticks, Ostrim® Jerky, protein bars, apple slices, dehydrated green beans and okra, etc. Those would be our snacks. I had two containers – one large Rubbermaid® we nicknamed “the vault” with all the snacks that didn’t need refrigeration. The second container was a medium sized cooler.

3. I researched the best way to keep a cooler cold. 

I used a few tricks that I found. 1) I put the cooler in the garage the night before we left. I was lucky that it was really cold out that night. Which made the cooler really cold on it’s own. 2) I went to the dollar store and bought 3 quart-sized carton boxes of juice and froze them. These acted as my blocks of ice but I didn’t feel bad tossing them after the trip. 3) I added ice in between the gaps.

The cooler had deli meat, cheese, ready made salads, sandwiches/wraps for Mr. W, apple slices, celery, hummus, cucumber slices and water. We packed the car with lots of water. It’s amazing how much you can save by not buying bottled water at gas stations!


“The Vault” had protein bars, tuna salad packets, trail mix for Mr. W, Ostrim® Jerky, water flavorings, dehydrated green beans and okra and all the other things I had made on my original list. Ahem, of course it had coffee and a french press too :) It also had crackers and pita chips that I mostly managed to stay out of.




4. I booked a few places that had a kitchen on our trip.

By the time we got to San Diego, our furthest West destination, we needed to reload on some foods. I made a list while in the car from Vegas to San Diego and we stopped at Trader Joe’s as soon as we got in town. I picked up eggs and chicken sausage and few other things to make omelets in the morning. I replenished our low-fat cheese, deli meat, veggies and so on.

5. I enjoyed the times we got to splurge and eat out.


It was a financial splurge as well as a foodie splurge. I always picked a good lean protein but didn’t worry about the rest. Above is a picture of one of my very favorite meals from Bobby Flay’s restaurant in Las Vegas. It was a spicy pork tenderloin, and it was amazing. I was so full from it, I didn’t eat much of the sweet potato mash it came with! But I did eat some :)



And finally….we stayed very, very active. Because that’s what it takes to see the world! We skied. We walked a lot. We hiked, more than once. And we even snuck in a few workouts at the gym in one of the hotels we stayed in. That’s other thing about vacations. You tend to be busy and active anyway! Another way to help keep it all in balance.


Wherever your travels may take you, whether it’s to see God’s amazing creation or friends and family (and maybe both) may you have safe travels and a time of refreshment and relaxation on your journey. These are the memories that last a lifetime. Not the foods we ate :) Well…maybe just the best ones.

– Steph


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