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Tips for Eating Healthy During your Next Vacation

Summer is a great time to think "vacations!"  With food temptations lurking around every corner, it can be hard to think about eating healthy while away on a trip.  Whether you are taking a family road trip or flying to a unique destination, there is no reason why you should give up on making healthy decisions.
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Adventures in healthy eating: learn to travel lightly
Tips for eating healthy during your next vacation
by Heather Stefan, RD
Courtesy of Work It Mom

The key to make your vacation a nutrition success is to find a balance between simple indulgences, large portions and high-fat food options.

1. Family road trip: Leave on a full tank. Whether you are setting off to an undetermined location or know exactly where your destination will be, a little planning gets you a long way.  Always start off your trip after a light meal or a snack.  This will give you energy for the long haul.When planning your meals, some roadside restaurants specialize in greasy, high-fat food options.  If you pick healthier options, like small sandwiches or mixed green salads with grilled chicken, you reduce calorie and fat intake.

Another option is to take packed meals and snacks in a cooler.  Stop at a roadside rest area and have a picnic.  It's a great way to stretch your legs and inhale some fresh air.  If you have kids, it's a good way to help them burn off some energy. As for snacks, bottled water, trail mix, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and fresh fruit are easy convenience items that you can take with you.

But don't get in the habit of snacking your way through the boredom of your long drive.  Sip on water or chew sugarless gum to help control those nagging signs.  Also, stay clear of filling up on soda pop and coffee drinks.  They are full of empty calories with little nutritional benefits and they are generally high in calories. 

2.  Flying healthy: With the soaring costs of gas prices, flying may be your best bet when traveling.  With so many safety regulations at the airports, knowing what you can and can't take may keep you from packing healthy snack foods, causing you to rely on airport food courts and restaurants.

Since mealtimes are often short at the airport, bringing food to eat at the gate is a timesaving option.  Whether you buy it there or bring it from home (inside your carry-on with the allotted amount of luggage and carry-on liquids) you can control your food options with items like a sandwich, veggies, and broth.  Also, remember to stay hydrated; flying can lead to dehydration.  Choose water or 100-percent juice over pop and alcohol.  And peanuts will satisfy you better than the pretzels!

3.  Arriving at your destination: Whether you’re staying at a hotel, an all-inclusive resort, a condo, or a cabin, you can tailor your trip around an eating plan that is right for you.  If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, pick yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal and low-fat milk as your options.  At an all-inclusive resort or on a cruise, you may find yourself eating more just because you can.  Pick and choose your battles!  If there are foods that you don’t have often, pick those over your everyday foods.  And watch your portions – try small amounts of those high-fat rich foods and load your plate with fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins like grilled fish.  It is easiest to control your diet while on vacation when you stay at a condo or a cottage.  With access to your own kitchen, you can plan your meals around foods you know will be good choices.  This is also a fun time to try new recipes and theme meals, since you probably have more time to spend preparing your meals.

4.  Simple indulgences: Vacations are a great time to see new sites and explore new places.  It's also a perfect time to enjoy the local flavors and flare.  If the area you are visiting is known for a specific dish, then by all means, enjoy it without guilt!  As always, it comes down to how much you're eating, so limit these special treats.  And keep your usual diet routine while you are traveling.  Stick to three meals and a couple snacks, just like you would at home.  If you are eating out at restaurants most of the time, split a meal with your travelling companions or order a la carte entrées.

Also, remember that a vacation is a great way to add in extra exercise by walking.  Even if you get away from your typical workout routine, you can put on your pedometer and set realistic walking goals. 

By simply planning ahead you will be able to enjoy all the simple indulgences of your vacation while maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

Don’t forget to search for dietitian-recommended Healthy Dining and Kids LiveWell menu choices wherever you travel in the United States using  Simply enter your city and state or ZIP code to find a wide variety of menu choices like these, fast food to fine dining:



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