Traveling doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your healthy eating and exercise routine. The best approach is to plan ahead to avoid overeating and to fit exercise into your travel plans. Just as you would schedule vacation activities, you should think about your meals or dining plans. Planning ahead is the best way to avoid unwanted pounds and enjoy a “guilt-free” vacation.
Whether you are traveling by plane, train or automobile, you can plan your snacks and meals with nutritious options. Eating healthy snacks every two to four hours can help you feel energized and keep you from overeating when it is time to stop for a meal. For example, pack small plastic bags or containers with snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, low-sugar and low-fat power or granola bars, low-fat cheese, hard-boiled eggs, pretzels, baked whole grain crackers, sandwiches made with whole grain bread with peanut butter or lean meats, or fresh fruits and vegetables. A combination of a carbohydrates and proteins are a good choice as these foods are absorbed more slowly, helping to curb hunger and provide more satisfaction. In addition, drink lots of water and keep it accessible.
If you plan to dine out during your travels, avoid fast food restaurants or those with limited choices. Sub shops offer better choices for brief stops. Select sandwich ingredients including whole grain bread, lean meats and lots of vegetables. A quick and nutritious breakfast choice is a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit, filled with vitamins and fiber. In addition, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs are excellent sources of protein. You can also look for single-serving whole grain cereals with low-fat milk. Another option is to split a restaurant meal with your travel buddy. Most restaurants provide more than enough food for two people in one entrée. Eat the vegetables that come with the meal first. If the meal does not come with a vegetable ask for a side dish. Another idea is to skip the entrée and replace a meal with a healthy soup and salad. Choose wisely when ordering salads. Stay away from taco salads or ones that are topped with fried chicken strips. Remember to select foods that are prepared with healthier, low-fat ingredients and choose grilled over fried foods.
In addition to maintaining good eating habits, you should include exercise during your travels. If you are driving, it is best to stop in a safe location every two to three hours to stretch your legs. Take a quick walk around a rest area, do a few jumping jacks and take time to stretch your muscles. If you are traveling by plane or train, you can get up, walk briefly and stretch as well. Moving around will help keep your metabolism going while preventing you from feeling drowsy.
Traveling is not an excuse for making unhealthy choices. By planning ahead and making smart decisions, you can stay on track, eat well and enjoy your holiday vacation.