Healthy Vacation Eating… When it comes to maintaining your current belt loop, a functioning digestion system and your “5 a day” on vacation, you can still enjoy the new, fun and exciting foods that come with traveling without packing on the pounds, upsetting your stomach and going six days without vegetables. Here are a few tips to eat right while on your vacation:
- Sample small amounts of high-calorie food. You don’t have to avoid it entirely. Just reduce the amount you eat to a few bites.
- Share large portions. Many restaurants serve very large portions, so don’t hesitate to split orders.
- Space real meals throughout the day. It can be easy to “graze” while on vacation. Try to set meal times and stick to them.
- Engage in some type of physical activity most days. There is no better time to walk than on vacation. You see the new sights up close and keep your body healthy at the same time.
- Monitor your alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and also can lead to overeating.
Road Trip Tips:
- Pack a cooler with fresh vegetables and fruit for snacks, like cut broccoli florets, carrot sticks, and apple and orange slices.
- Don’t even let the junk food get in the car. If you’re a parent, set the rules. If you’re a kid, set the example for your family. Just don’t even let the chips, candy, fast food and other packaged snacks get in the car at gas stations, bathroom breaks, long-night drives, etc.
- For beverages, bring canned or boxed 100-percent fruit juice, canned tomato juice and bottled water. Watch out for beverages that quickly pile on calories like sports drinks, cokes and sweetened tea.
- Bring boxes of raisins and re-sealable pouches of dried fruit like apricots for a chewy sweet treat.
- Deli sandwiches, yogurt and low-fat cheese make a great lunch that don’t require stopping.
- Get out of the car every hour or two to take a short walk and stretch your legs.
Backseat Food Safety:
- Pack easy-to-transport, shelf-stable foods. Good choices include cereal, trail mix, popcorn, single-serve applesauce, cans of tuna, peanut butter sandwiches, fresh fruit, carrots or celery.
- Don’t let perishable food sit unrefrigerated for more than two hours, and make sure coolers remain at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In hot weather, place coolers and lunch bags in the back seat instead of the trunk. The environment tends to be cooler in the car, especially when the air conditioning is on.
- Make sure everyone in the family washes their hands with soap and water before and after eating. If you don’t have access to a restroom, pack moist towelettes or hand sanitizer.
- Restaurants do not have to sabotage your eating. With some planning, you can still make healthful choices. No matter what restaurant you choose or what you order, you are in control of what goes into your mouth.
Don’t Make Eating in Restaurants More Difficult Than It Needs to Be
Plan Ahead: Check out menus and options before deciding on a restaurant. Many restaurants offer nutrition information online.
Consider the Menu: Knowing menu terms and cooking basics makes ordering easier and allows you to order healthier items. If something less healthy sounds great, consider how you can order that item and either eat less, share the entree, skip the appetizer. Just don’t let that one item get you totally off-track.
Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask how items are prepared or to make special requests. If possible, substitute vegetables, salad or a baked potato for fries, and order dressings on the side.
Order Wisely: Choose dishes with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Many dishes contain more than one serving, so consider sharing with a friend or taking half home. Eat slowly and give yourself time to enjoy and savor your meal. If you order the clam chowder instead of a salad, try to order an entree that is lower in calories or fat. Think about your calories as money in bank and you determine how to spend them; but you can’t overspend!