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Avoid Vacation Weight Gain: 5 Simple Rules

You can enjoy your vacation without packing on the pounds.

Vacation Tip No. 3: Avoid Dining-Out Disasters continued...

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:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Trail mix
  • Cereal
  • Dried fruit
  • Low-fat crackers.
  • Single-serve containers of fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Popcorn
  • Granola or cereal bars
  • Rice or popcorn cakes
  • Graham crackers

Vacation Tip No. 4: Indulge in Moderation

Deprivation is no fun when you're on vacation. Instead, "the name of the game is moderation when it comes to controlling calories from treats and alcohol," says Blatner.

So have one scoop of ice cream instead of the sundae, or split that decadent dessert with a dining companion.

When you drink alcohol, the calories add up fast, especially if you are downing those fancy drinks that come with an umbrella. So make a plan for when you'll drink alcoholic beverages and how much you will consume. 

Diekman suggests alternating alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic, noncalorie beverages, so you'll stay well-hydrated and reduce your total calorie intake. And when ordering alcoholic drinks, opt for lower-calorie choices such as light beer, wine spritzers, wine, champagne, or spirits mixed with water or diet mixes.

Vacation Tip No. 5: Pare Down Portions

Even when you're on vacation, portions count if you want to avoid weight gain.

"Enjoy small portions of whatever you like, [and] eat slowly so you taste the food and feel a sense of satisfaction, enjoyment, and relaxation of the vacation," suggests Diekman.

But keep in mind that lingering around the table can lead to overeating. She suggests moving the gathering away from the dining area to a porch, balcony or another location where you can enjoy the beauty of your vacation destination.

If you are among the many folks who like to sit around the table for hours, "remove the plates and food and keep the water glasses full so you are in control instead of the food and beverages controlling you," says Diekman.

Reviewed on May 30, 2007

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