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9 Ways to Take Your Diet on Vacation

Food and travel don't have to add up to diet disaster.
By
WebMD Expert Column

When you take a trip, does your diet go on vacation, too? Many people use vacations as an excuse to live it up by eating rich foods they don't normally eat, or eating supersize restaurant portions all day long.

There are three reasons why eating in restaurants, as we tend to do most of the time while traveling, is so dangerous for your diet:

  • Restaurants often serve large portions, and we tend to eat more when more food is in front of us.
  • Restaurant menu items are often high in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and low in fiber.
  • At restaurants, you usually have no idea how many calories or grams of saturated fat are in the dishes you order.

But it is possible to enjoy your vacation and the local food without packing extra pounds for the trip home. The secrets: choose foods wisely, make "moderation" your vacation mantra, and stay as active as possible during your trip.

When you arrive at your destination, ask the hotel concierge or local residents what restaurants are nearby and what type of food they offer. Or, check out the local tourist restaurant guide; hotels often have these as do airport information booths.

Better yet, investigate your eating options before you go. Email or call the concierge of your hotel and ask for restaurant suggestions. If possible, look these restaurants up online to see what their menu choices are. (Of course, if you've got Internet access via your phone, you can look this up during your trip.)

Here are more tips to help you take your diet on vacation:

Vacation Diet Tip No. 1: Eat in Once a Day

To save both calories and money during your trip, try "eating in" for one meal a day. Pack some tried-and-true breakfast options in your luggage, like lower-sugar instant oatmeal, whole-grain breakfast cereal, power bars or breakfast bars (look for brands lower in sugar and saturated fat but high in protein and fiber). You can also find a local market and stock up on fresh fruit to have in your hotel room for breakfast and snacks.

Vacation Diet Tip No. 2: Go for Zero-Calorie Beverages

You don't need hundreds and hundreds of calories from beverages on top of the extra calories you'll be consuming from food. The good news is there are usually plenty of no-calorie drink options at most restaurants. Ask for lemon or lime for your glass of ice water or order unsweetened hot or cold tea, coffee, sparkling water, club soda, or diet soda.

The bad news is that alcohol can be a diet disaster when you're on vacation. Many of us tend to drink more while on vacation -- perhaps frozen margaritas by day and a few glasses of wine by night. Each alcoholic drink can tack on about 150 to 450 calories.

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