Upcoming Vacation? Keep Your Diet on Track with these Six Tips
May has begun and summer vacation will be here before you know it. If you are planning a trip this summer, don’t let your diet efforts slide while you are away from home. Use these proven tips from WebMD’s Elaine Magee MPH RD and author Daphne Oz to stay on track.
On vacation, many travelers gain weight because they are less restrictive with their diets, temporarily abandon exercise routines, and get off of their regular schedule, such as staying up late or eating later at night. While a more relaxing, restful vacation is a great mood booster, don’t give up everything you’ve worked for over the past few months (after New Year’s Resolutions) and make it harder on yourself after you return home.
No one expects weight loss during a trip, but you can prevent weight gain with these simple tips:
1. Pack Healthy Snacks for Travel Time
Instead of stopping for fast food or eating a quick, but fatty, airport selection, pack your favorite healthy snacks to munch on during travel time. Try low-fat granola bars, nuts, fresh fruits or vegetable sticks, whole grain crackers and low-calorie beverages (or better yet, water).
2. Monitor Portion Sizes
During a vacation, you are likely to eat out more than you would typically at home. Restaurants often serve large portions, so we eat more than we are used to without even trying. Many items also carry more fat and calories than foods you would prepare at home.
To avoid overeating on vacation, check out destination restaurants online to see if they have a menu with nutrition information. You can make an informed decision about the foods you have available to choose from once you are away. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter questions, either. Many restaurants can accommodate special diet requests, such as less butter, meat-free options, or, in some cases, even gluten-free choices.
Share entrees with family or friends on vacation. You could also order from the kids’ or senior menu or order a healthy appetizer instead of an entrée plus a soup or salad. If you have access to refrigeration, box up half of your dinner for another meal. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. Choose gravies, sauces, and dressings on the side. Finally, don’t deprive yourself of a fantastic dessert on vacation, but share with the table and limit yourself to one or two bites.
3 Eat In When You Can
If you are at a private home or a hotel with a refrigerator, bring along some snacks or meal options you can make instead of eating out, for example fresh fruit and instant oatmeal for breakfast.
If you have access to a kitchen, you can make your own meals once or twice while you are away. This is especially fun when you are traveling with friends or family, as you can spend time playing on the beach or playing games while waiting for a meal to cook. Social activities, too, might keep you from munching on foods mindlessly (like grazing through a bowl of chips and dip).
4. Manage Alcohol Intake
A relaxing glass of wine with dinner is one thing, but if you are on the beach drinking beer or frozen cocktails, the calories can add up quickly. Each alcoholic beverage can have anywhere from 100 to 400 calories or more each! Remember to drink water, unsweetened tea, or diet soda as a substitute for highly caloric beverages.
5. Fit in Exercise
Getting up early to run or walk on the beach can be relaxing as well as important for your health. Be sure to fit in some sort of physical activity while away on vacation. Take a walking tour of your destination, hike a trail at a National or local park, swim in the pool, or play outdoor games with your family.
6. Take Time to Relax
Obviously, a vacation is supposed to be a restful time away from your hectic regular life. Aim for a less stressful existence while you are away as stress hormones also play havoc with your weight. And be sure to get enough sleep at night….those long-working hours will return before you know it and you might as well squeeze in some healthful shut-eye while you can.
WebMD - Take your Diet on Vacation
Oprah.com - Daphne Oz's Vacation Dieting Tips