(BPT) – As vital as vacations are for our mental well-being, many of us find ourselves compromising on nutrition when we travel. Being away from our routines – and our own kitchens – can throw our weight loss efforts for a loop. Eating while traveling with limited time and restaurant choices is often the hardest part of keeping up with a healthy diet. Not to mention the challenges of finding time and a place to exercise.
All that said, you don’t have to lose your healthy habits at the next exit. Instead, consider these strategies from Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company for maintaining a healthy way of eating even on the open road.
1. Bring your own. Let’s face it: fast food snacks are typically not ideal for those looking to stick to a healthy way of life eating plan. By far, the best choice is to bring your own. With a little planning and few minutes of preparation, you can stock a snack bag full of healthy foods that will save you money and spare your healthy eating goals. Consider snacks such as chopped veggies with Greek yogurt dip or hummus, hardboiled eggs, fruit slices with almond butter, nuts, string cheese or homemade trail mix.
2. Fuel up at the gas station. You’d be surprised at what you can find if you’re willing to sift through the aisles of unhealthy items at a gas station. Look for protein bars, assorted nuts and seeds, jerky or snack sticks, canned or bagged tuna, hard boiled eggs, fruit, Greek yogurt and oatmeal. They are all good options that are readily available at most gas stations.
3. Seek out salads. While eating a greasy sandwich and fries may taste good in the moment, an hour or two later you’ll likely feel like the energy was sucked right out of you. Instead of a sandwich or burger, try a fresh salad with some kind of protein such as fish, chicken or beef, but beware of the sweet-sounding vinaigrettes. If a sandwich is a must, ditch the bun and skip the fries or chips, opting for a side salad or fresh fruit instead.
4. Check ahead for available health clubs. If you know you’re going out of town for a weekend or longer, look online for a health club in the area. Find out information like location, cost and what equipment is available to use, and ask if they offer short-term or day passes. If you are a member of a health club, such as Life Time, check to see if there are destinations in the city you’re visiting and ask if you can use their location. Even if you’re not a member, Life Time locations across the country often provide seven-day pass access. No health club? Take advantage of travel tools. A heart rate monitor and pedometer are two simple tools that will fit right inside your carry on. Also, there are many “travel specific” resistance bands which have a door attachment that allows them to be anchored on the wall for additional exercises. Otherwise, go for ultimate packing efficiency by relying on your own body weight for exercises like push-ups, crunches, lunges or squats.
5. Be good at the buffet. Many hotels offer buffet-style meals included with your stay or for an incredibly good deal. There is no reason to avoid eating at a buffet, but you do need to be cautious about how you fill your plate. The most inexpensive foods at the buffet are the breads, rolls and other starchy foods so think about getting the most value out of your meal both financially and nutritiously. Eggs, meats, cheese and vegetables will not only keep you from eating as much, they will also keep you full throughout the day.
It isn’t always easy to make the right decision when you’re traveling and the variety of pit stop options make it tempting to indulge, but the satisfaction of making healthy and nutritious choices lasts long after vacation is over.