Vacation Tip No. 2: Be Prepared
When you travel, whether by plane, train, or automobile, be prepared with healthy food so you won’t have to eat whatever is available. Start the day with a nutritious breakfast, then pack easy and satisfying snacks or a small meal, such as a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole-grain bread, a piece of fruit, and some cut-up veggies with hummus.
Delays and boredom are inevitable on the road, but these situations are not a reason to eat around the clock.
"Stick to a regular eating schedule so you are less likely to be tempted to eat high-calorie snacks and treats between meals," says American Dietetic Association president-elect Connie Diekman.
Vacation Tip No. 3: Avoid Dining-Out Disasters
Eating out may pose the biggest challenge for avoiding vacation weight gain.
"At home, you know exactly what goes into the food you prepare. But in restaurants, it can be a mystery, and the only way to be sure it is prepared in a healthful manner is to ask questions and make special requests," says Diekman, also Washington University’s director of nutrition.
The key is to order simply prepared foods, such as baked, broiled. or grilled meats and fish.
"It is easy to control calories if you stay away from fried, crispy, or creamy foods; hold extras such as cheese and mayo; top salads with low-fat dressings; drink water instead of sodas -- simple things that can shave calories and make room for the special treats," says Blatner.
Another strategy is to rent a house equipped with a kitchen (or at least a barbeque grill) and access to a grocery store so you can prepare your own healthy foods and snacks.
Prefer not making beds or cooking? Request a refrigerator for your hotel room so you can store healthy snacks, such as low-fat yogurt, cheese, fruit, low-fat milk, smoothies, and veggies. Healthy snacks will help you manage hunger between meals so you won’t be ravenous when you go out to eat.
Even without a refrigerator, you can snack on healthy, shelf-stable foods like:
- Trail mix
- Dried fruit
- Low-fat crackers.
- Single-serve containers of fruit
- Peanut butter
- Granola or cereal bars
- Rice or popcorn cakes
- Graham crackers