Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Guest Post: Maintaining Healthy Eating While on Vacation

Today, a guest post from Cole Millen, an avid traveler with some useful tips on sticking to healthy eating while on vacation (or any time you find yourself away from home). If you are like me, you like to splurge a little while you are on vacation. There is nothing wrong with a little splurge now and then but don't use your next vacation as an excuse to throw all caution to the wind, eating-wise. When I travel, I love to experience new food (hey, if you don't try the gelato when you are in Italy, you are definitely missing something), but I try to balance the splurges by really sticking to a more healthy eating pattern most of the time. Don't forget that trying new food extends to preparations for local fruits, vegetables and fish, all part of a healthy eating plan. Last summer, I traveled to Provence. The fruit there in summer is so sensational that it needs no embellishment, and I felt no need to indulge in rich sweets.
Maintaining a Healthy Eating Plan While on Vacation
Taking the time to unwind while on vacation is a necessity and can help you relax from the daily stresses of job and everyday life. However, it shouldn’t be an excuse to ditch your healthy lifestyle by consuming junk food and skipping your workouts. The following tips will help you have a memorable and exciting vacation without the added pounds.
Pack Your Own Snacks
Whether you’re flying, driving or taking another mode of transportation, you can stay ahead of the game by packing your own snacks. Portable healthy options can include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, string cheese, whole grain crackers, and trail mix and granola bars. Peanut butter and hummus are other healthy alternatives that satisfy cravings and keep hunger at bay. If you’re at an airport terminal, you can walk around and check out the various cafĂ© items until you find something that is both pleasing to the palate and good for you. 
Planning Ahead
The most important aspect of staying true to your healthy lifestyle is ensuring the area and hotel you are staying in has the options available to allow you to do so. Doing a little research before hand can go a long way in this aspect. In my extensive research I have found online reviews to be extremely helpful. I recently found a site that bundled information on restaurants, hotels, things to do, and even a travel guide for the area. With this help I was looking through the list of hotels in Las Vegas and managed to find one that had not only the amenities I desired, but a gluten free restaurant in its lobby. With a little research and the help of reviews, you will find eating healthy on vacation easier than ever.
Ordering Room Service
Just because you’re ordering room service doesn’t mean you have to make unwise choices. There are a number of safe items on the menu such as salads, turkey breast sandwiches and baked chicken breast. You can also ask for low-fat dressing and condiments to be placed on the side. When you check in, leave the min-bar key at the front desk since fattening treats will only tempt you. If you have doubts about the nutritional content on a particular meal or food item, you can ask. Most hotels have the information at the ready for their guests. 
Prepare Your Own Meals
Dining out can be costly on your pocketbook and waistline, so you don’t have to eat out for every meal. Ask for a room with a microwave and refrigerator, so you can keep groceries on hand. When you first check in, you can head to the local grocery store and stock up on some healthy necessities. This makes it easy to take healthy treats when you’re on the go too, so you won’t be tempted by fast food. 
Dining Out
Eating out can often sabotage the healthiest of eaters. Try doing a bit of research before heading out and find restaurants that offer better choices on their menu. You may also want to check out an establishment that provides nutritional information, so you can plan accordingly. Starting your meal with a salad or soup will help curb your appetite. Since restaurant portions are large enough for two or more, you can offer to split a meal with another diner at your table. The breadbasket is another area that can pack on the pounds, so you can tell your waiter ahead of time that you would like to skip it. When ordering, look for items listed as broiled and baked instead of smothered and fried. You can also trim carbs by asking for a side of streamed broccoli instead of french fries. Everyone enjoys something sweet at the end of a meal, and you can still indulge. Instead of cake loaded with a side of ice cream, you can opt for sorbet or a fresh fruit and cheese platter.
Cole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life's best memories are made through real life appreciation of legitimate "experiences." You can read about health and his travels at his personal blog.

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