Nutrition Solutions: Healthy eating on vacation
As fun as summer travel can be, it's stressful to eat right while you're away. Do you take a "Who cares? I'm on vacation!" approach? Or do you travel frequently for work and struggle to keep your eating habits healthy on the road?
In either case, it can be tough to eat healthfully when you're away from home. My advice is to plan and prepare for it. You probably can't control everything, but there is plenty you can do to control some of it. Start by acknowledging that you'll be able to indulge a bit while on vacation (or that you'll have to rely on some less-than-healthy choices while traveling for work). Decide to make most of your eating and drinking as good as possible. Research your options: Check out food choices at the airport, restaurants in the area, healthy options at your hotel (call the hotel directly and let them help you). Pack some ammunition in the form of bottled water and snacks.
Travel can wreak havoc on our eating habits. Out of our familiar routine and without all of our own resources, it can be a challenge to keep from going completely and utterly overboard, praying that the scale doesn't penalize us too badly when we get back. I tell my clients that it's a big win to simply maintain your weight while you're on vacation. To help you do so, here are some of my favorite tips:
Pick the right place: Book a room with a kitchen. If a full kitchen isn't an option, ask if you can get a mini-refrigerator or if it's possible to store some stuff in the minibar. You can at least start with a good breakfast of cereal and fresh fruit.
Shop like a local: Locate the closest farmers markets or the nearest Whole Foods. Load up on food for breakfast (cereal and fruit make that easy), prepared salads to have for lunch, plus bottled water and iced green tea. Make a couple of your dinners prepared healthy foods instead of going out. You'll save money and feel good.
Pack your snacks: No matter how we're traveling, I pack snacks. Our most recent vacation was a road trip that included several days of hiking. I loaded up a bag with choices like pumpkin seed bars, granola, kale chips and chocolate hazelnut butter. Dry cereal, fruit, nuts and seeds also pack really well. It's nice to have something on the plane or in the car, especially if you're delayed and have to skip a meal.
Plan and prepare: I once helped a client who was driving from Connecticut to Georgia. He outlined his driving route and we found fast-food restaurants for him along the way. Before he left, we checked out each restaurant's website to find the healthiest items on the menu so he knew what he'd order. Plus he packed a cooler of water and fresh fruit. For your next trip, think about where you can stop and what you can bring.
Enjoy meals out: If you rely on healthy prepared or take-away foods for some meals, your dinners out can be real treats. You can splurge a bit on the restaurant choices because other meals are "normal" and cheaper.
With the right planning, your healthy habits will join you when you travel. And the scale will tell you that the only souvenirs you'll bring home are the ones you bought.