Traveling and Healthy Eating: Can the Two Really Go Hand-in-Hand?
Whether you're headed for the sandy beaches of Fiji, braving the high seas on an ocean cruise or just doing a weekend trip for work, traveling can be one of the most exciting parts of life. However, many people use vacation as an excuse to forget about their weight loss goals. And while sampling different foods is a main perk of traveling, it is possible to still have fun trying new things without derailing the progress you've made.
With a little advance preparation, you'd be surprised how easy it can be.
- While road tripping - Before you hit the road, stock a cooler with waters and healthy snacks, like turkey sandwiches, apples, bananas and pre-cut veggies. This will save you money and officially eliminate the need to stop at a fast-food drive-thru.
- While flying - Since you're only allowed 3.4 ounces of liquid on a plane, pack solid snacks like apples, trail mix or energy bars that will easily pass through security checks. Once you're through security, look for lower-calorie meal items like salads with dressings on the side and entrees with lots of vegetables.
- While cruising - Avoid the decadent, 24-hour buffets, and stick to the main dining room, where you'll get a single, portioned plate. Ask for dishes without heavy sauces and salads with dressings on the side. Look for meals with lean meats and fish that have been grilled, broiled or roasted, instead of fried. If you don't trust yourself to consume only a healthy portion of a full meal, order a half-portion instead. If your cruise line has a spa restaurant, those usually offer healthier options.
- While lodging - Choose a room or suite with a kitchen or microwave and fridge. This enables you to control the content of your meals. You can stop at a local grocery store and purchase food to prepare in your room, or you can commit to eating at least one healthy meal a day in your room (think high-fiber cereal, berries and low-fat yogurt for breakfast). If your hotel offers a free breakfast, grab fruit to eat for healthy snacks throughout the day. Practice portion control at restaurants by eating half-portions of meals and bringing the leftovers back to your room to heat for lunches.
Did You Know There's an App for That?
There are several smartphone apps to help you find healthy food in your travel area. Veg Out and Happy Cow identify vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurant options, while Eat Out Well (an app by the American Diabetes Association) allows you to search restaurant menus and see nutrition information at chain restaurants in the U.S.
By the Staff of the Franciscan Health Weight Loss Center Indianapolis