Whether you pile your family into the car for a leisurely road trip or jet off to an exotic locale, a vacation is a great escape from your everyday routine. But summer fun doesn’t have to sabotage your diet. Avoiding dieting pitfalls is easy with a little planning.
If you know where you’ll be eating, check out the restaurant’s website in advance. Most national chains have nutritional information available online. You can also purchase The Calorie King. This pocket-sized guide provides nutritional information (calories, fat, sodium, etc.) on a wide variety of food and has a special section devoted to chain restaurants. It provides easy access to nutritional information when the internet isn’t available.
Armed with nutritional information, you can avoid poor choices like a gut-busting bowl of fettuccine alfredo. Can pasta really be that bad? Yes – a dinner-sized portion of fettuccine alfredo contains 1,220 calories and 75 grams of fat. That’s about 60 percent of the calories and nearly 100 percent of the fat an average adult needs for a day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Another way to make healthy choices on vacation is to pack your own snacks. Having a picnic at a park or rest stop is less expensive than stopping for fast food and a nice way to enjoy some quality time outdoors.
Pack your picnic basket with sandwiches on whole-grain bread, baked chips, low-fat granola bars, fruit, yogurt, string cheese and calorie-free drinks like water or tea. By portioning out snacks in individual serving-sized bags, you can avoid the temptation to overeat.
Exercise Portion Control
The biggest challenge to healthy eating is portion size. Restaurants typically serve more than twice as much food as you should eat in one sitting. To avoid overeating, share a dinner entrée with someone or ask if a lunch-sized portion is available. It’s easy to continue eating long after you’re full, so avoid the temptation by putting half in a doggie bag before you dig in.
The “plate method” is another easy portion-control trick to ensure you’re eating a healthy balance of foods. Half of the plate should be a non-starchy vegetable, a quarter should be protein and the remaining quarter can be pasta, rice or a starchy vegetable.
Healthy eating while on vacation is possible – even pleasurable – when you make educated food choices.Enjoy LiveWell Online Magazine? Stay up-to-date with a free email subscription!