By Laurelee Misseghers, Bellevue Club Registered Dietitian
With the holidays approaching, and our attention pulled in different directions (and locations), it’s time to hit the road and enjoy some well-deserved time off with family.
However, this can sometimes pose challenges in maintaining a healthy diet. The most important thing we can do is take some time to plan.
If it only takes a few hours to arrive to your desired destination, then perhaps you can get away with taking some healthy snacks with you. If travelling in your own vehicle, it is easy to fill a small cooler with foods that are quick and easy to eat.
You could enjoy mini, whole-grain pita bread with hummus and cucumber slices, yogurt and fruit topped with granola or you could make a wrap, with whichever ingredients you like.
If it is going to take a few days to drive to your destination, then it’s important to know what healthy food options are available at fast food restaurants. Subway is a good choice for sandwiches, as you can pile on veggies and skip the heavy condiments. Wendy’s has baked and sweet potatoes available, and soft tacos or burritos at Mexican places can be health conscious with certain substitutions.
When you finally make it to your destination, take notice of the help around you. If you are staying in a hotel, choose a room with a mini-fridge and microwave, if available. Then, you can continue to enjoy the same foods you enjoy at home.
If not, focus on eating a healthy breakfast in the room and then splurge on more calorically dense meals later in the day.
An easy, packable breakfast is oats and fruit. Soak the oats in water overnight, and then top with chopped walnuts and fruit. Both nuts and fruit are always a great stand-by, as they don’t require refrigeration.
To celebrate with friends and family, you may mostly be eating at restaurants during your trip. A quick search should allow you to find restaurants close to where you are staying, and with so many now posting their menus online, you can make healthy decisions ahead of time—some that can dictate how to eat earlier in the day.
This is especially useful for people who are trying to lose weight and are worried that while away they’ll sabotage all the good work they’ve done.
Personal rules can also be useful—a way to keep yourself in line during trips. Some rules—such as eating only one “bad” meal a day, or carving out at least an hour for exercise—can still leave room for the occasional splurge, while not ruining all the hard work done at home.
After all, this is your vacation, and to have the rare piece of pie, or extra special dessert, is not necessarily a terrible thing!
So decide how to deal with temptations ahead of time. Will you allow yourself to splurge every third day? Or treat yourself only if you got a good workout in that day?
With a little planning, you can enjoy a wonderful vacation, while still maintaining a healthy diet.