This guest post was contributed by Cole Millen. Cole is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.
How to Maintain a Healthy Diet on a Family Vacation
Whether it is the call of the glorious sunshine on a distant beach, or the allure of endless shopping adventures in an exotic city, vacations recharge the soul. Yet holidays do come with some side effects. Besides the dreaded workout the credit card can endure, eating healthy is not always easy when traveling with your family. You work all year so that you will look stunning in your swimwear; the last thing you want is to unravel all your hard work. Here are some tips to help avoid packing on the pounds during your next vacation:
If you are flying across the globe it is wise to check out the menus offered by the airline. Most companies offer this information online and they allow you to make dietary requests. However, short flights may not offer this service, so have a nutritious meal before the flight to avoid making poor choices. Another tip is to travel with protein bars/drinks, almonds, fresh fruit or other healthy snacks. During layovers, walk the restaurant areas at the terminal and find good, healthy options such as salads and baked chicken or even fruit cups. Taking the time to walk around will not only help find better choices, but it is a good way to get the blood circulating in your legs.
At the Hotel
When you arrive at your hotel, limit your exposure to temptations. Refusing the key to the mini-bar is one way you can prevent sudden urges for sweet or salty snacks. Your credit card will thank you too. Take a few moments to find a nearby health store or market. Stocking up on a variety of healthy snacks will make it easier for you to stay on track. Walking to the store is a good way to combat jet lag too. Instant soups or oatmeal are very easy to prepare with hot water from a coffee maker. If you feel the need to order room service, most hotels will be happy to accommodate your healthy choices, so be very specific about your order.
Continental Breakfasts can be great for healthy eating or terrible depending how you approach them. Stay away from the high sugar items like cereals and muffins. Eat as much fruit as you want. Choose low-fat yogurt, oatmeal and even hard-boiled eggs. And when possible, try to choose whole grain varieties of breads and bagels. These options are full of dietary fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates that will keep you full and feeling great.
Finding Healthy Restaurants
Most restaurants have their menus online, so make the effort to explore what they offer. Plan your meal before you go so that you can avoid temptation. Decide on your meal before you sit down and decline the menu when offered. In addition, share meals, order off the lunch menus and don’t feel like you have to finish a meal just because that is what is served. It’s often tempting because taking leftovers is not always an option. Leave the extra food on your plate so that it is not ultimately on your waist. I have found reading reviews from other travelers to be extremely helpful in that they provide unbiased and honest opinions. I recently scoured the Internet and found a great site called Gogobot that helped me find a health conscious hotel as well as restaurants in Sin City. I pulled up a list of reviews for Las Vegas hotels regarding their services as well as the restaurants in the area. A tool like this allows you to maintain your healthy lifestyle by avoiding the ever so tempting buffets. Avoiding the “all-you-can-eat” establishments is crucial. Fish restaurants and salad bars offer a range of healthy options. A small snack such as an apple, before going out to eat will help you to push away the breadbasket.
Learning how to decipher the riddle of menu-speak will have you avoiding diet trap. Look for high-fiber, multigrain, and whole wheat breads to determine the healthy options at restaurants. Choose lean cuts of meat that are baked, boiled, grilled or roasted. Look for fresh salads that come with vinaigrette dressings. Vegetables should be steamed or stir-fired. Light or reduced sauces are a better option for sauces or gravies. By all means avoid battered or deep-fried foods. Do not opt for creamy or enriched sauces and be careful with cheeses and stuffed items.
It is easy to become swept up in the excitement of the vacation. But by taking care of your body, you will not only look good, you will continue to feel great. Downloading a calorie tracker for your phone can help you keep a watchful eye on your diet. Drink plenty of water, watch your alcohol consumption and eat good nutritious meals. Your post-vacation body will be thankful for all your efforts.
Enjoy your vacation! Stay active and make the vacation about the company, sites and activities, instead of the food.
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