It’s finally here, that special trip with the family or that special someone. A chance to put life on hold for a week or two. Yes, the chance to suspend the everyday humdrum, no cooking, no cleaning, no counting the calories. Really? We have a tendency when we travel to forget that, just because we put everything on pause, too much is still too much! Of course, we want to enjoy that special time away, and we don’t want to, nor should we, deprive ourselves of the native cuisine. So here are a few tips allowing you to continue a healthy lifestyle and enjoy your meals without the guilt or the Monday morning after bathroom scale surprise.
Tip #1: Resist the Urge to Splurge
As mentioned above we like to put life on hold when we take that special vacation trip. One of the first things we let go of is our diet. After all, we can increase the reps at the gym when we get home, right? Wrong! Resist the urge to splurge. You stopped eating that big bowl of vanilla Swiss almond ice cream right before bedtime at home. It should be no different when you are on the road. If you are going to have that ice cream, have it during the day while you are out seeing the sights. Another thing we do is treat eating out as a treat. This leads to the self-talk that says, “Well I deserve it.” Remember most of us eat a meal out at least once a day. So even on vacation keep it in check and keep in mind there is nothing special about that meal in the hotel restaurant.
Tip #2: Trim the Plate
When you go to that special destination, you can maintain your proper nutrition intake by controlling your portion sizes. To help you stay trim – trim your plate! Just because it is on the plate does not mean you have to eat it. Renowned television chef and restaurateur, Bobby Flay said that no matter where he has a meal he leaves a third of it on the plate. If you feel that’s wasteful, try asking your server to cut your serving in half, or perhaps share an entree with your travel companion.
Tip #3: Have it Your Way
When traveling, do not be afraid to order what you like from the menu, but ask the server to adjust your plate to help you maintain your healthy eating habits. If you’re having a delicious piece of fish, but it has a rich sauce that is full of excess fat, ask for the sauce on the side or none at all. Having a burger for lunch? Pass on the cheese and the mayo. Make adjustments that serve you. Restaurant owners and chefs are far more willing to adapt to your preferences than you think, so you can have it your way in more places than Burger King!
Tip #4: Immerse Yourself In the Surroundings & Sample the Local Cuisine
Why do we go on vacation? To see and enjoy different places and vistas. Well enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and yes, tastes of that city you have always wanted to visit. Keep in mind that the optimal word is ‘tastes.’ Feast on the scenery and the ambiance of your vacation spot and sample the cuisine. If you do it that way, you will get to taste more of the native fare.
Tip #5: Stay On Your Feet
A good way to keep it light and healthy is by staying on your feet. That’s right. Do as much of your sightseeing as possible while walking. Find the special areas and attractions and take them in on leisurely strolls. By walking more when you do eat you’ll burn up those extra calories and who knows, you may find that special souvenir while on your sightseeing hike!
Tip #6: Plan Your Treats
Who can go to Disney World, Six Flags, or The Mall of America and completely resist the numerous special sweet treats that are everywhere? Hey, you are on vacation, you are not expected to. Try this, before you go to that thrill seeker’s paradise Find out the signature treats at your destination, and make a plan to have just one per day. This way you’ll enjoy that special confection without overindulging.
Tip #7: Water, Water, Everywhere – Make Sure There Is Plenty To Drink
Vacation time is the perfect time for everyone in the family to get their recommended daily servings of water. Make sure there are plenty of bottles of cold water in your hotel room, vehicle, and in your travel bag when you are out and about. Water is a great way to stay comfortable and stave off hunger pangs.
Tip #8: Make Healthy Menu Choices
Make healthy choices when ordering from the menu. Easier said than done for most of us, because most healthy choices are not as appealing as the big, juicy, decadent specialties on most menus. Okay, I get it, but at least view the healthy fare. Again, the food industry is aware of what the health trends are just like you, and they are building menus with healthier offerings that are delicious as well. So when you see one that you like, order up. You might just be surprised at how appetizing that portion of the menu really is.
Tip #9: Veggie Tales
What do we mean by veggie tales? Simply make more of your eating out meals heavier in fresh vegetables and fruits. Look for dishes that feature vegetables that can be substituted for proteins. Instead of sugar-filled cakes and pies for dessert, look for naturally sweet desserts that feature fruit. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, peaches, and apples — more and more dessert items in fine dining spots are featuring fresh fruit centered delicacies that are high on taste and much lower in calories. During your travels, make sure you get five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Tip #10: Eat to Live – Don’t Live to Eat
Our final tip is simple, do not make your meals the focal point of your trip. That’s tough in places like New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, just to name a few. These destinations are notable for either the uniqueness or the variety of the restaurant choices available to the tourist population. Be smart, pick those places that tantalize your palate, but eat when you’re hungry and push away from the table when you are comfortable. It is easy to get into the “we just have to try…” mode! If you allow your talk to turn in that direction, your vacation can morph into an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives” pretty quick!
Keep in mind during your travels that you came to enjoy new places, historic sights, unusual events, and the other members of your party, whether they are family or friends. If you hold onto this one simple thought, your eating experience can become an extension of your trip and not a foreign feast. Enjoy the pause in the routine and stay on the highway to health and fitness, even on vacation.