Eating Healthy While on Vacation

luxury chef's kitchen at Winding Waves

Easy and fun tips for eating healthy while on vacation! Life is all about balance. At least, that’s what we are told ever since we were kids.

But if you are anything like us here in the AMI Locals office, we tend to eat whatever we please while we are on vacation… figuring we will just go on a diet when we get back home. However, swimsuit season is all year round in Florida! So we asked our friend and expert Personal Chef Sarah Subrize of Cook.Bake.Nourish for some advice.

Eating healthy while on vacation at Winding Waves!

Q: We tend to go overboard and eat whatever we like, instead of eating healthy while on vacation. Can you share some tips on making better choices at restaurants?

Tip #1: Before you go out to eat, if you are feeling incredibly hungry, be sure to have a healthy snack that’s rich in fiber, healthy fats, or protein and it’s ideal if you can snack on a combination of the three. You know the saying of do not go grocery shopping while you’re hungry? Well, the same applies to you when you go out to eat, go to a party, or any social gathering around food. It is so easy to entertain the “eat everything in sight” mentality when you’re incredibly hungry and when we usually do this it ends up not even being that enjoyable and we never tend to feel satisfied.

Tip #2: Look at your day as a whole and pick where you want your indulgences. If you want a few cocktails poolside during the day but know you are going out to a restaurant later, perhaps choose a veggie loaded balanced meal at the restaurant, or if you’ve eaten well during the day get that meal you’ve really been wanting on the menu.

Tip #3: Aim for 1 veggie heavy meal per day when eating out. When I am away on vacation, I look at my day and try to aim for at least 1 veggie heavy meal per day. This could be a produce-packed omelet, a big loaded salad with a protein like grilled chicken, or a plate full of grilled veggies with a protein.

Tip #4: Think in terms of adding in the good vs cutting out the bad. When eating out try ordering a side of veggies with your meal or adding in a salad (only if that’s what you enjoy – never force yourself just because its considered “healthier”.) Eating additional vegetables can help you get in the fiber your digestive system needs to help with fullness, which helps keep your blood sugars stable. This helps you not overindulge later.

Tip #5: Opt for cooking methods that include steaming, broiling, baking, roasting, over frying.

Tip #6: Talk to your server. Ask your server about how the food is prepared, sometimes a simple dish such as chicken and vegetables can have many hidden oils, salt, and sauces. Restaurants in general tend to use more of all of those to boost flavor. Most of the time in amounts you would not expect/don’t know about. Having this simple conversation and knowledge will allow you to ask for adjustments about how you want the meal to be prepared. You’ll be able to ask for some items on the side, so you have more control over your meal.

Tip #7: Have a ‘when in Rome’ mentality when on vacation. Seek out what the locals eat. Ask around to what the best places are and if you are looking for a more health focused restaurants ask your neighbors or whoever around if they have any good suggestions. People are so friendly in this area, they will for sure share their go to spots. I always gravitate towards restaurants I know get their foods from local farms and have freshly caught local fish coming in, too and the locals will know those details better than anyone.

Tip #8: Eat what you want but be mindful of your portions. It is easy to overeat at restaurants especially when we are out with a group. It adds up with an app, entrée, drinks, and desserts. Overstuffing never feels good.  Eat until you’re full but not stuffed. Ask for a box when they bring out your meal. Once we feel full and ask for a box, its easy to eat a bunch more bites just because it is sitting in front of us before the server gets a chance to bring back the box. Getting your box first allows you to box up your meal when you are ready, so you do not feel overstuffed.

Tip #9: Savor what you are eating and slow down to enjoy it. Overall, my biggest tip and this might be the most important – when it comes to vacation it is important to enjoy yourself and not put too much stress on anything—go ahead, indulge, and enjoy. Just remember to SAVOR what you are eating by slowing down and remember that portion size counts. Take the guilt out of your choices. Because if we allow ourselves to fully enjoy something, we will more likely be fully satisfied and not go back for something else. I think in general if you try and take away the packaged, processed foods in your house and fill your meals with colorful veggies and real ingredients for most of your meals you are doing well even if you indulge at restaurants.  

Eating healthy while on vacation, plus wine! At Winding Waves.

Q: Can you share some ideas for healthy travel snacks to throw in the car/travel bag?

It is easy to go for something greasy or extra sweet when you are super hungry. Avoid making quick choices by being prepared and packing some healthy, filling snacks for the journey. This will help you make nutritious choices when you’re in a pinch.

There are a couple of key things I look for when packing my travel snack bag including foods that are portable, require no refrigeration, going to keep me hydrated, and are satisfying.

This can be as easy as a handful of almonds/trail mix, fruit like an apple and nut butter, or a bag of raw veggies and hummus.

· Packing hummus and veg is a classic snack combo for good reason. Crisp raw veggies are loaded with filling fiber, hydrating water, healthy nutrients phytochemicals, while hummus provides more fiber, satiating protein, and fat. All particularly important things so you aren’t starving once you get to your destination or stop at a rest stop/airport shop and then reach for anything you can get your hands on. Although most stops nowadays have great choices.

· I like to pack some fruit and a nut butter packet. I always pack the heartier fruits like apples they can still last even if they are thrown around in my bag. And nut butter packets make it so easy to keep the snacks less messy which is essential with traveling.

· I also try to plan and make a homemade snack. Something like a chia pudding, bliss balls, or vegetable fritters if I can pack an ice pack with them in my bag. I like to keep these in a sealed glass container to keep them fresh and avoid them getting crushed in my bag. If you have time to prep a bit before traveling, there are a ton of great recipes that are loaded with nutrients to keep you fueled while you’re in the car or on the plane.

· And as always making sure you drink water and staying hydrated is always important!

Eating healthy while on vacation - AMI Locals

Q: What sort of meals are you able to provide at our AMI Locals beach houses? What are some of your customer favorites?

This all depends on what each client wants and how much they want. It also depends if I am doing a meal prep situation which involves me preparing a much of meals/ items for them to enjoy later or if I am cooking in home and serving the meals. I customize the menus to fit each individual/ family or friend group. A bachelorette weekend will look different than a family vacay full of kids.

Overall, for breakfasts my meal prep clients love having a frittata on hand, individual chia puddings and/or I also set up yogurt parfait bars with homemade granola and fresh fruit. My sweet potato and veggie hash bowls that they can heat up with some fresh eggs on top is always a hit too. Breakfast items are also great for snacks, but my clients also love all sorts of things they can take to the beach with them or snack on poolside especially dips with crudité, vegetable fritters with spreads and delicious bliss balls (strawberry shortcake is probably my most requested flavor).

For lunch and dinner, it all depends on what each individual wants and likes and is looking for during their vacation stay. I make everything from starters, salads, pastas, grains & hearty veg mains, pure proteins. My meal service is focused on local, seasonal and health supportive cooking, but still cook classic dishes as well as sweats/treats. Everything is just as delicious as it is nutritious. My clients love when I set up a taco bar with all the delicious toppings. It is something pretty much everyone loves and stocking the fridge with plenty of options makes it easier for everyone so they can pick and choose what they want. Grilled lemon, herb and garlic chicken and/ or shrimp skewers, chimichurri steak and my citrus salsa verde salmon are also always big hits. I love to include different sauces and dressings to the meals I provide, as well because meals can be repurposed and customized for the whole family. I have a sample menu here that shows a few options, but all menus look different. Oh, and homemade ice cream (dairy free or dairy full) in the freezer is always loved, as well. And the kids always love an ice cream sundae bar.

Q: What is your favorite Florida seafood dish?

I love to take advantage of Florida’s local seafood. One of my favorite seafood dishes to make (and eat) is blackened local snapper with a mango salsa. A little bit of heat and a little bit of sweet. In season, Florida mangoes are one of my favorite things. Mixed with a little jalapeno, lime zest and a spritz of lime juice is so good! Honestly, when foods are eaten as local and seasonal as possible, not much needs to be done to it to make it delicious!

Thank you for sharing your expert tips & tricks for eating healthy while on vacation with AMI Locals and our guests, Sarah!

We appreciate your taking the time to chat with us, and we definitely will keep these in mind on our next vacation (or even our next trip to Publix!)
Check out our AMI Locals luxury vacation home listings for availability, and of course, to check out all the amazing kitchens you could be enjoying this Thanksgiving and Christmas season with your family!

>> Check out Cook.Bake.Nourish for recipes and more information about Chef Sarah Subrize

Escape Winter and Come to AMI



When temperatures in the rest of the United States dip below freezing it’s easy to stare out the window and dream about being someplace sunny. AMI Locals can help you make that dream come true. Escape Winter and Come to AMI!

Anna Maria Island Florida is famous for its beaches and incredible sunsets. During the winter months the Island comes alive with art fairs, farmer’s markets, and people visiting from all over the world. The weather is typically a balmy 70 to 80 degrees. And we usually have very little rain. So, that makes us a perfect destination for some fun in the sun!

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The quaint shops on Pine Avenue

What to do on AMI

You can try your luck with a fishin’ pole on the Rod N Reel Pier or Bradenton Beach Pier, or rent a bike and cruise the Island looking for an adventure. Visit the Old Anna Maria Jail and then wander down Pine Avenue, or maybe you’ll see a friendly manatee or dolphin swimming in the water! Then stop for a quick bite at a fun local place like Ginny’s and Jan E’s before heading to the glorious beach for the afternoon. You can also book a horseback ride on the beach, go parasailing, or rent a golf cart and ride around in style. Sunset cruises and dolphin excursions are also available from local companies on the Island!

Nearby airports

Family-friendly activities abound on Anna Maria Island!

AMI is located close to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, just an easy 35-40 minute drive away. SRQ Airport has been expanding it’s flights and airlines quite a bit the past few years, so it’s easy to find a good price and it is quite convenient. We’re also just about an hour drive away from Tampa International Airport and St. Pete Clearwater International Airport.

Island time

Anna Maria Island luxury vacation rental homes
Bay View Beauty • 7 bed | 7 baths

What will make you really fall in love with AMI is our laid-back and relaxing mindset and vibe. Island Time is a very real thing, and once you’re on it you will never want to go back!

AMI Locals is a newer and rapidly growing company. And we feature only the best luxury vacation rental homes available on Anna Maria Island in Florida. Let AMI Locals help you plan your perfect beach getaway today! Give us a call or check out our available homes online, we can’t wait to see you here!

New Year, New Adventures!



New Year, New Adventures!  2020 is a blank slate waiting to be filled up with memories.  Places to go, people to see, work to do, fun to be had.  And AMI Locals can help you cross one thing off of your to-do list. Let us help plan your perfect 2020 Anna Maria Island beach vacation!

Vacation like a local

AMI Locals manages over 150 amazing luxury vacation rental homes of all shapes and sizes, and our Reservations team works with each and every guest to ensure we put them in the perfect property.  We all live here and we all love Anna Maria Island
Please give us a call at 941-757-8226 or email reservations@amilocals.com and let us know a few key details of what you’re looking for:
the calendar dates for your stay
• number of guests (adults/children)
bringing a pet?
• must-haves (such as a heated pool)
• preferred budget
and anything else specific you are looking for… we will take it from there!  AMI Locals will tailor our recommended properties to best suit your needs – then all you have to do is choose your favorite and book directly with us.  Easy peasy.

Do more things that make you happy in 2020!

Family Vacations

Traveling with multi-generations in the same family – mom and dad, you and your spouse, kids, siblings and cousins in the New Year? We have homes with detached mother-in-law suites or even separate guest houses.  Take a look at Freckled Fin, Blue Marlin, Daiquiri Deck, Blue Pearl, and Blue Bay. You can stay together and still have plenty of personal space!  And there is plenty to do on Anna Maria Island.  Rent bikes from Beach Bums and explore!  Fishin’ and lunch at Rod N Reel Pier, nature hiking at Leffis Key Preserve, The Fish Hole at Bridge Street for mini-golf, and of course plenty of time at the beach.

Daiquiri Deck 4 bedroom 4 bathroom Anna Maria Island Vacation Rental Home
Daiquiri Deck • 4 bed | 4 baths

Friends Trip

Vacationing with 5 other couples that you have been friends with since college?  We have beautifully located new construction homes where every bedroom has an ensuite bathroom, so you can hang out and enjoy each other’s company without feeling like you’re back in the dorm! Check out Ocean Star, Hidden Treasure, Crystal Waves Oasis. Or, each couple can book a private villa at our Islands West Resort.  Anna Maria Island has cute locally-owned shops and art galleries, restaurants & bars, and some of the nicest local people you will ever meet! 

Crystal Waves Oasis 7 bed 7 baths Anna Maria Island FL luxury vacation rental home
Crystal Waves Oasis • 7 bed | 7 baths

Business Travel or Corporate Retreats

Traveling for business and pleasure in this New Year?  All of our luxury vacation rental properties feature free Wi-Fi so you can easily stay connected while you are staying with AMI Locals.  And, we feature homes with large open gathering spaces for brainstorming and networking. All with amazing views and amenities. Mondays are always easier if you’re working by an amazing tropical pool, right? Some of our best homes for corporate retreats include Bay View Beauty, Sea Swept, and Ocean Star. Plus, we can help with the details of planning your company retreat so you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Romantic trip for two

Romantic getaway to celebrate a special Anniversary?  Newlyweds and booking your honeymoon?  We have the perfect beach house for you. Coral Cottage, Dockside Paradise, and Fishful Thinking are all perfectly charming and private. Or, stay in one of our resort-style properties such as the Islands West Resort, Bayside Bungalows, or the Driftwood. These have shared pools and outdoor spaces and a more social vibe.

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Let AMI Locals plan your perfect New Year 2020 stay

Whatever your vacation style is, we are here to take all of the guesswork out for you. Contact us today and let us help plan your perfect beach vacation! Happy New Year from all of us here at AMI Locals.

Don’t Miss this Year’s BayFest 2019 with the Family

Don’t Miss this Year’s BayFest 2019 with the Family

Are you coming to Anna Maria Island next month for your family vacation? If the answer is yes, then we have to tell you all about a fun event you don’t want to miss. Anna Maria Island during the fall months are wonderful to visit because the weather has cooled off a bit, the water is still warm and Bayfest will be here before you know it. Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals will keep your family close to the fun festival activities. Let’s take a peek below at what some of the fun things that you can enjoy at the 2019 BayFest on Anna Maria Island.

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Food for Everyone to Love

Don’t Miss this Year’s BayFest 2019 with the Family

Who doesn’t love going to a festival where food is going to be? The smell of the food when you first arrive makes you want to eat all day long. BayFest will have an assortment of food that your family can enjoy all day. Your family can enjoy some of Hahn’s Kettle Corn, Tyler’s Gourmet Ice Cream, Shaved Ice & More. Some of the vendors that will be there are Eliza Ann’s Coastal Kitchen, The Ugly Grouper, T&L BBQ & many more. Don’t miss out on the adult drinks that you can get as well for you to try. What a fun start to a wonderful day at the festival!

Kids Zone

Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce didn’t forget about the kids during the BayFest. There are going to be plenty of things that the kids can do while the festival is going on. The kids can enjoy a fun bounce house, fun inflatables they can play on and let’s not forget the fun Privateers Pirate Ship they get to enjoy. Let all the kids burn their energy out while enjoying the BayFest this year!

More Fun Activities for the Family

Don’t Miss this Year’s BayFest 2019 with the Family

There will be so much more for anyone in the family to enjoy such as getting to do a little shopping with some of the Arts & Crafts vendors, seeing some of the Classic Cars at the Car Show & dancing a little with the family. Some of the bands that will be at the 19th Annual BayFest are Trevor Bystrom, Memphis Rub & Dr. Dave Band. What a fun day you and your family can do and enjoy on your next vacation to Anna Maria Island!

When is BayFest 2019?

The 19th Annual BayFest will be held on Saturday, October 19th beginning at 10:00 am. The event will be held on Pine Avenue in the City of Anna Maria Island. When staying at one of our AMI vacation homes, you will be able to take the trolley for free to Pine Avenue on the day of the event. If you’d like to drive to event from your vacation rental, you will be able to park at Crosspointe Fellowship Church located on Gulf Drive which is on the north end of Holmes Beach. There also may be a few other locations nearby that will allow you to park but please make sure to read all the signs before doing so.

Coming during the fall months will keep you still having a great time at the beach but allowing your family to enjoy the fun festival too. If you haven’t made your reservation to stay in one of our beautiful vacation homes, now is the time. We can’t wait to see you and your family as you come celebrate with us at the 19th Annual BayFest on Anna Maria Island!

Perfect Places to See the Sunset on Anna Maria Island



Perfect Places to See the Sunset on Anna Maria Island

Do you love coming to Anna Maria Island for your family vacations every year and catching the perfect sunset? Staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation homes will keep you and your family in close proximity of where you can go to see the perfect sunset. We know where all the places are around the island and want to share them with you. Let’s look below at where your family can head to while you vacation here to soak up the beautiful sunsets of AMI.

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The Rod and Reel Pier

Perfect Places to See the Sunset on Anna Maria Island

This is a favorite among not only the locals but also for many of our visitors as well. Head over to The Rod and Reel Pier so that you and your family will be able to catch a glimpse of the amazing sunsets on the island. And while you are watching the sunset, grab a bite to eat at the restaurant as well so you won’t go home hungry. We promise that you won’t want to miss any of the sunsets on the island after you see it from the pier!

Bean Point

Another fantastic spot that your family can head to on Anna Maria Island is Bean Point. Many of our guests love to head to Bean Point every trip to watch the sunset. Not only will you be able to see the sunset in the distance, but you will also be able see a few wildlife animals including dolphins. This is a great place that is perfect for families who have small children who can come out and play as you watch the sun setting on the horizon!

Manatee Public Beach

Perfect Places to See the Sunset on Anna Maria Island

Manatee Public Beach is another great location where your family can see the sunset on the island. This is also the location of AMI Beach Café so that you can grab a quick bite to eat as you sit at one of the picnic tables and enjoy. Listen to the waves crashing in the background and the children playing as you soak in the natural beauty of Anna Maria Island. If you happen to get there a little before the sun is ready to set, then you can play a little in the water and relax on the sand.

No matter where you are on Anna Maria Island, you will be able to see the amazing sunset. The palm trees in the background as you are sitting in a beach chair is just what parents are looking for when they vacation here. And staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation homes will keep you close to where the fun is at. We hope to see you and your family soon as you enjoy your next vacation here on the island!