The calendar & my schedule are saying its vacation time! Last time, we looked at ways to exercise on vacation. But as you know, the other part of the equation is trying to maintain healthy eating patterns while away. Here are some ideas - planning ahead is the key.
On the road:
Pack some healthy snacks with you – fruit, trail mix, jerky, pretzels, popcorn, raw veggies, fruit & even yogurt. Look for single serve packaging which will help curb mindless overeating.
Check out menus on line for lower calorie & healthy offerings. Be aware even the lowest calorie items may still be high in sodium. If the restaurant is part of a chain, nutritional information needs to be available, either on the menu or near the counter. Websites also often have this information.
Try to eat in once a day – with hot water available either from the in room coffee pot or a carafe in the lobby, it’s possible to tote along instant oatmeal, whole grain cereals, power bars and fruit.
Try to eat smaller meals, but don't miss any meals. Avoid eating heavily late at night. Monitor your hunger levels. Eat slowly enough that you don’t over eat!
Find a supermarket or farmer’s market to restock as soon as you arrive. Having a stock of fresh food can keep you from stopping at the nearest fast food place. Check out healthyhighways.com
Drink water, not soft drinks. Zero calorie beverages will help counteract the extra food calories. Watch the alcohol intake. Each drink can add 150 to 450 calories.
Try to maintain a “Five A Day” policy even on vacation – you’ll be getting fiber which is more filling, helps with regularity. Plus you will be getting important antioxidants and vitamins that guard against getting sick.
In the hotel: Avoid the minibar – not only will you avoid empty calories, but you’ll avoid the exorbitant charges on your bill. See the first tip above in On The Road.
Restaurants: Find sit down restaurants that bill their food as “locally sourced”. Check the internet for menus. Let your concierge call to let the restaurant know your diet limitations – no fat, no salt, lots of vegetables and so on - they’ll always try to please the concierge.
Downsize portions - Split entrees & avoid splurging on the higher fat, higher calorie selections. Don’t finish everything on your plate – if your room has a refrigerator, take a doggie bag back…or see if you can order a half portion.
Ask your waiter how the dish is prepares See if a fried entrée can be grilled instead. Ask for sauces, dressings & gravies can be served on the side. Ask for fresh vegetables or a salad instead of fries. Request whole grains wherever possible – whole wheat bread/buns, pasta or steamed brown rice.
Order fruits & veggies whenever possible. Be aware that condiments are high in calories, fat & also sodium. Aim for less than 25 calories sodium per serving of catsup, marinara, mustard or BBQ sauce.
Order fish, but avoid fried & battered preparations.
Beware of table munchies – these can add up to hundreds of calories before the entrée ever arrives. Send the bread basket away & order a no calorie drink, salad or healthy appetizer.
Exercise: Walk! In many cities it’s the best way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Pack those walking/running shoes. Find hotels with good gyms, or nearby walking/running trails. The local Tourist Information Bureau may have maps. Westin hotels are becoming known for being able to accommodate exercise needs. Getting exercise can make you feel better about a bit of indulgence – you are on vacation, after all.
But have fun! Enjoy your vacation – even though you may think something is over the top unhealthy – trying a bit adds to the experience of being in that place for vacation….Poutine in Canada, haggis in Scotland, Borsch in Russia, Baklava in Turkey, gelato in Italy…..hmmm…just limit yourself to one treat a day.
Sunscreen & Hydration Reminder: With summer temperatures rising, it’s more important than ever to make these part of your daily routine. Apply that sunscreen a couple times a day or more, when out in the sun & especially around water, and remember to drink fluids before you get thirsty, particularly if you are exercising actively. Remember there are annually heat stroke deaths, particularly in the hot & humid areas of the country.
The thirst mechanism lags behind actual needs, so you need to keep ahead of things. General rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces in fluids a day. Yes, coffee & tea count. Your urine should be colorless or the color of light straw. If you’re an active athlete, you may wish to consult an exercise physiologist, or exercise nutritionist for a hydration plan that has the right ratio of fluids to carbohydrates and protein.
Happy Fourth of July! This is traditionally a day of outdoor eating – picnics, barbeques, & grilled foods on the grill. We’ll discuss healthy grilling in the next blog. In addition you may have noticed a NY Times article which claims that diet is more important than exercise. It’s not so simple, and we will explore this topic further.
For the time being here’s a link to a unique festive, healthy & low calorie dessert. The whole recipe is a bit lengthy with photos to reproduce here, but the watermelon, blackberries, kiwi slices and red raspberries make for a perfect ending to a summer holiday celebration.
© Fitness Spark Personal Training, July 2015.