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Maintain Healthy Diet While On Vacation

Posted: June 13, 2017

Vacations often mean eating out and enjoying local food favorites which can lead to weight gain. Follow some simple strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid gaining extra pounds while away.
"Ice Cream @ Lowestoft, Suffolk" By Tim Parkinson/Flickr.com CC By 2.0

"Ice Cream @ Lowestoft, Suffolk" By Tim Parkinson/Flickr.com CC By 2.0

Summer is prime vacation time. While vacations are great fun, they can take a toll on our diets. We typically eat many of our meals in restaurants so we have less control over how dishes are prepared and how large the portion sizes are. We also tend to splurge while away which can wreak havoc on our waistlines.

There are some things we can do to eat healthy and prevent weight gain while on vacation. Below are some tips to eat healthy and avoid gaining extra weight while away from home.

  • Take an ice chest and pack it with resealable plastic bags full of healthy snacks: carrots, celery sticks, pepper strips, broccoli and cauliflower florets, snow peas, hummus, apples, oranges, grapes, single-serving containers of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, string cheese, and low- or nonfat yogurt. Plan to visit grocery stores at your destination to replenish your healthy snack cooler.
    Be sure to pack some plastic utensils for foods you can’t eat with your fingers. Also pack some hand sanitizer to use before eating the foods you do eat with your fingers in case you are not able to wash your hands.
  • Also, take along a box of items that don’t need to be kept cool but are just as healthy, such as single-serving containers of tuna and canned fruit, whole-grain cereal and crackers, small portions of dried fruit and nuts, individual servings of peanut butter, trail mix, or popcorn. For beverages, bring canned or boxed 100-percent fruit juice and bottled water.
  • When you do eat at restaurants, scrutinize the menu. Stay away from fried foods and look for grilled, baked or broiled options. Choose entrees that feature seafood, chicken or lean meat. Select vegetables seasoned with herbs or spices rather than butter, sour cream or cheese. Watch out for salads. High-fat dressing, cheese, croutons and other toppings can add fat and calories making your low fat salad a high caloric entrée. Avoid croissants, biscuits, potpies, quiches, and pastries. Instead, select hard rolls, bread sticks (if not brushed with butter), French bread, or whole-wheat buns. For sauces, stick to wine, or thinned, stock-based sauces. Avoid thick butter sauces, béarnaise, Mornay or sauces that sound creamy.
    • If the restaurant denotes “healthy” menu items, it’s a good practice to choose from that list at least half the time.
    • Consider ordering milk as a beverage if you’re not getting much calcium, or stick to water, unsweetened tea, or coffee. 
    • Try to order first so your choice won’t be influenced by everyone else at the table. Ask if anyone wants to split an entree with you -- that’s a great way to keep portions to a reasonable size. 
    • If your only choice is fast food, consider sub sandwiches with turkey or lean roast beef, salads, or wraps. At a burger place, try a hamburger with apples or a side salad and milk to create a more balanced meal.
  • Staying at a hotel that offers breakfast? Hotel breakfasts tend to offer a lot of high-sugar, high-carbohydrate items such as waffles, doughnuts, and processed cereals. Choose eggs if they’re available, or opt for yogurt, fresh fruit, juice or low-sugar, high-fiber cereal.
  • Strive to get some physical activity each day. When driving, utilize rest stops where you can walk or play a game. Get creative and plan a stop for a hike along the way. Plan to take advantage of whatever your destination offers for physical activity, including swimming pools, walking trails, and bike rentals.

Of course, you don’t want to deprive yourself of special treats while on vacation. That’s half the fun! The key is to enjoy them in moderation. Take smaller portions of the indulgences and be sure you consume more of the healthy foods.