Many of us lose sight of our goals while traveling. Losing weight and being healthy is already a complicated task and traveling can make it even more difficult. Lack of regular exercise, an abundance of tasty (often unhealthy) foods, and calorie-laden beverages can all make us lose sight of health. But if we are fully prepared then we can minimize temptations that may occur while traveling and still keep a healthy routine.
Plan for Snacks
Healthy snacks are the key to keeping healthy while traveling. If you know you are going on a long car ride or will be on flights and in airports all day, pack some healthy snacks, bottled water, or an empty water bottle (to fill after you pass security). If you don’t let yourself get too hungry then you will be less likely to indulge in unhealthy snacks at the gas station or airport shops. Some simple, nutritious ideas include nuts, peanut butter, plain popcorn, single-serving cans of tuna, and fruit.
Even before you get to your destination you can get some walking time at the airport or during bathroom breaks. Just put in your earbuds, turn up the music, and spend the time you would be waiting to walk around. Layover? No problem, it is an opportunity to stay active. Walk the stairs and do not use the elevator in the hotel or the escalator at the shopping center, museum, or parking garage. If there are no stairs, find another way to sneak some easy exercise into your trip. Walk the beach during sunrise or sunset or join a game of beach volleyball. Park further away at attractions. Take a dip in the pool and do some laps. Sneaking in little ways to be active while still enjoying the sights, weather, and more will make it feel more like part of the experience rather than a chore.
Many companies offer walking, bicycling, or even running tours. Take time to work one of these into your schedule, if possible. Tours on foot are always an excellent choice for those looking to explore at a slower pace and learn a little about the history of the city.
Prepare Your Meals
Many people are nixing hotels for the homier atmosphere of a rental home. By staying in an Airbnb or VRBO, you have access to a full kitchen, appliances, and cookware which make cooking your meals a breeze which can help your health goals and your wallet. Hit the grocery store, or better yet the local farmers market, and stock up on fresh foods, eggs, nuts, yogurt, and other items to prepare a healthy breakfast or quick lunch which will help you if you are trying to limit your dining out. A good goal is to allow for restaurant meals around once a day. Calories from eating out can add up fast and overdoing it is easy with the generous portions often served.
Watch your Alcohol Intake
Many people enjoy relaxing with a drink on vacation, but certain drinks can really blow the calorie count for the day. For example, a jumbo margarita can contain a whopping 700 calories! It’s not hard to make healthier choices when it comes to alcohol. Instead of sugar-filled cocktails, choose lower-calorie drinks like a wine spritzer, light beer, red or white wine, or spiked seltzer drinks. Try to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink and limit the total amount of alcohol you drink (if you choose to drink at all).
Passport to Flavor and Health
No matter where you are heading, some simple swaps can help you enjoy local flavors and the adventure of eating ethnic favorites while focusing on balance and health. You can easily navigate the menus for healthier fare, or if you want to indulge just share your dish with your table. Eating and drinking items that are special and different are important while on vacation, so eat what you love and allow yourself to indulge but enjoy smaller portions and find the balance with activity and the other choices you make. Here are some ideas:
|Opt for This||Pass on This|
|Beans & Rice||Fried Plantains|
|Grilled Poultry/Fish||Fried Meats/Fish|
|Tomato/Broth Soups||Antipasto Plates|
|Garden Salads with vinegar & oil dressings||Fried Croutons and Creamy Dressings|
|Pasta with Red Sauce||Pasta with Butter or White Sauce|
|Grilled Chicken, Fish, and Shellfish||Deep-Fried Calamari, Italian Sausage, Prosciutto, and Pancetta|
|Italian Ice and Fresh Fruit||Cannoli and Tiramisu|
|Greek Salad||Creamy Casseroles|
|Fresh Fruit||Deep-Fried Calamari|
|Pita Bread||Savory Pastries|
|Baba Ghanouj and Hummus||Pan-fried Dishes|
|Broiled, grilled, simmered, and stewed Dishes||Baklava and Phyllo Pastries|
|Black Bean Soup, Gazpacho, Menudo||Queso with Taco Chips|
|Jicama and Fresh Lime Juice||Sour Cream and Extra Cheese|
|Salsa, Pico de Gallo||Crispy, Fried Tortillas (chips or taco shells)|
|Fish Soft Tacos with Lime||Chalupas, Chiles Rellenos, Chimichangas, Flautas, and Tostadas|
|Arroz con Pollo||Carnitas (simmered pork or beef, then fried in pork fat)|
|Grilled or Roasted Meat, Poultry, and Fish||Chorizo|
|Red Beans and Rice or Spanish Rice||Fried Ice Cream|
|Avocado||Chicharrónes (fried pork rinds)|
|Fruits such as Guava, Mango, Papaya|
|Egg Drop, Hot-and-Sour, and Wonton Soup||Fried Wontons|
|Steamed Spring Rolls||Fried Egg Rolls or Spring Rolls|
|Chicken, Scallops, or Shrimp with Veggies||Peking Duck|
|Whole Steamed Fish||Fried Fish|
|Steamed and Simmered Dishes||Fried Rice|
|Stir-Fried Dishes (with a small amount of oil)||Fried Noodles|
|Steamed Rice (preferably brown rice)||Fried “crispy” dishes such as Sweet and Sour with breaded, deep-fried ingredients|
|Broth-Based Fish Soup||Cream Soups|
|Poached Fruit||Rich Desserts|
|Provencal Dishes||Creamy sauces|
|Roasted or Braised Meat, Poultry, and Fish||Liver Pate|
|Salad Greens with Vinaigrette||Frech Fries (pommes frites) and Au Gratin Potatoes|
|Vegetable Casserole (Ratatouille)||Croissants|
Adapted from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 5th Edition
Having a healthy trip happens before you even leave the house. When packing your bags include items that will help you stay on track. Include comfortable workout clothes and shoes. Don’t forget the things that help you with your exercise routine at home. Do you have certain music that helps you feel energized during a workout? Resistance bands or other items that you usually use? These things would fit easily in your bag. Bringing your smartwatch or fitness tracker may also help you see how close you are to maintaining your usual activity level while traveling.
Get Healthy Meals Delivered
Did you know that you can travel with Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating? If you would like to continue the meal plans while on vacation and enjoy the convenient, healthy meals and save time cooking or eating out to see more of the sights, you can easily change your shipping address to where you will be staying (within the United States) and we will deliver your package straight to your destination. This way you will not have to worry about if you are making healthy choices, eating the right portions, and so on. If you still want to enjoy some of the local fare, you could choose to do a fewer day meal plan (for example, the 4-day instead of 7-day) and have some flexibility to include some meals out while having other meals from us.
Traveling can be full of exciting adventures, but don’t let it ruin the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard for at home. With a little know-how, eating right and keeping active can be achieved while still enjoying yourself!