How To Stick To Your Diet When Traveling
Whether your travel plans take you to an exotic land, across the country or somewhere closer to home, it can be challenging to stick to a healthy diet. At home, you can easily plan ahead and stock up on lots of nutritious foods, but when you’re away, you’re often limited in your choices.
On top of the limited access to making your own meals, you’re on vacation, so you naturally want to let go and indulge. After all, you deserved this time off, shouldn’t you treat yourself? Of course, but you also don’t want to go overboard. It is possible for you to eat, and enjoy some occasional splurges without going off the deep end. Unless you’ve booked an all-inclusive resort with an all-you-can-eat buffet, unlimited drinks and have your heart set on lying around the pool all day and never venturing off the property, there are ways to continue your good habits while you’re out on the road.
Before You Book
Before you even book your trip, if you’re looking at a variety of accommodation options, see if you can find a place that has a kitchen, or at least a kitchenette with appliances like a mini-frig, microwave and stovetop. These days, there are lots of apartments and homes, most with full kitchens, available on sites like Airbnb and VRBO, which means you’ll be able to cook at least some of your own meals and not have to rely on dining at restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At the Airport
Most airport restaurants aren’t exactly known for their high quality nutritious meals, which means your best bet is to bring your own food from home. While you can’t bring liquid over two ounces through security, you can bring what you need to eat. Not only will it be more nutritious, since you know exactly what you’re putting into that culinary creation, it will be a lot less expensive too. If an entire meal isn’t necessary, pack some small snack bags filled with foods like sliced carrot sticks, raw almonds or raisings to help you stay the course.
As it’s so important to stay hydrated while flying, drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight should be a consideration too. While you can’t bring a full water bottle through those security checkpoints, you can bring an empty one and fill it up once you’re on the other side at a water fountain, or purchase water, which is just about always available for sale.
Head to the Grocery Store
Before you leave home, take time to map out the nearest grocery store to the airport or to your destination, preferably one that offers plenty of fresh, organic foods. As soon as you arrive, buy healthy snacks to keep with you when hunger pangs hit so that you can resist buying junk. If you have a kitchen, stock up just like you would at home and plan to dine out for just one meal, or even less, each day. Even without a kitchen, you may be able to put together a nutritious, low-cost meal by heading to a grocery store salad bar or going to a local farmers market.
Research Restaurants with Healthy Choices
If you’re traveling outside of the country, you’ll often find that residents tend to eat more fresh, local foods as compared to what you might see at home in the U.S. While most destinations have fast food joints and unhealthy chains these days, there are almost always better choices. Keep in mind that eateries targeted toward tourists, often feature less than healthy fare, like fried foods and burgers, by avoiding those you may discover a wide range of nutritious, tasty cuisine. Do some research on the restaurants in the area before you arrive so that you’ll have an idea of what your options will be when you get there – that way you won’t be caught off guard by hunger and turn to the closest thing you can gobble down.
Limit the Alcohol
Just the word vacation often makes us think, “Anything goes!” And, often, that includes alcohol. But alcohol is the perfect ingredient for taking you off track, and sometimes, far off track. It’s not only high in calories, but it stimulates your appetite and lessens your inhibitions, frequently resulting in the impossible-to-resist urge to consume foods that you normally would never eat. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to give it up all together, just enjoy in moderate amounts and try to choose lower calorie drinks like mineral water mixed with a distilled spirit or a wine spritzer.
Squeeze in Lots of Exercise
Even when you do make good food choices, you’ll probably end on eating more when you’re on vacation. You can balance that out by aiming to exercise as much as you can, which may happen naturally anyway. When you’re exploring a city, walk to attractions instead of using public transportation or driving. You may even want to plan activities or book a tour that involves exercise like biking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or guided walks.
About the author
K.C. Dermody is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland and a freelance travel writer with hundreds of articles and guides published both online and in print. Her goal is to impart what she has learned from her many varied travel experiences to others, and to inspire more people to get out and truly explore, rather than spending their holidays in a lounge chair by the pool. When she’s not writing articles or working on her blog, www.kcsendlessadventures.com, you can be sure she’s on some adventure, swimming with sea lions in the Sea of Cortez, paddling among icebergs in Newfoundland, or perhaps hiking to the top of a volcanic crater in Iceland.