It is officially summertime and you and your family and friends are likely looking forward to vacation or are already on it. Whether your trip has a lot of relaxing and sunbathing in store or you are traveling to new places booked full of sights to see and things to do, undoubtedly part of your trip will be spent dining out at various restaurants or grabbing take-out as you go on about your day. So to help you stay on track with your meal plan or at least help you not fall off completely here are a few tips to take with you on your travels. I understand it can be more difficult to eat healthy on vacation, but there is always a healthier choice to make.Do a little planning ahead so you will stay on track.
For snacks: Instead of the usual chips, cookies and processed junk foods that leave you feeling worse than before and largely unsatisfied opt for more whole food types of snacks. Pick up some fresh vegetables, wash and cut into bite size pieces and pair with a couple healthy dips. Hummus, whatever variety you desire, is made with chickpeas, olive oil and spices so it is completely plant-based with few ingredients and is a much healthier choice than French Onion Dip and other creamy dressings. If you like creamy dressings you can make a ranch dip using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. Just pick up one of the seasoning packets and you will have a choice that has far less fat and more protein, probiotics and calcium than the alternative. Not feeling ranch? Then make a Tzatziki sauce with plain Greek yogurt, fresh or dried dill, lemon juice, garlic and pepper.
For a sweeter snack, pick up fresh fruit from the farmers market and make a fruit salad to enjoy with meals or as a snack.. Fruit, in addition to being packed with nutrients and antioxidants, is also hydrating and serves as a much better “dessert” than cookies or brownies. For salty snacks make a trail mix with a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and throw in some dark chocolate pieces. Even with the chocolate this snack offers more nutrients than a pack of pretzels, just stick to a handful serving size since all ingredients are nutrient dense. For more volume eating, plain popcorn seasoned with garlic powder, pepper or oregano and a drizzle of olive oil is very low in calories and makes for a great whole grain snack you can eat in a larger serving.
For the meals you eat in, make them healthier and you can be a little more liberal with the meals you eat out while continuing to make sensible choices. For meals in- fire up the grill for fish, chicken breast or sirloin and make a medley of grilled or sautéed vegetables. Have with a salad and sweet potatoes, brown rice or over whole grain pasta. Eat most of your breakfasts in since this is such an easy and inexpensive meal to prepare for yourself. Pick up some whole grain bread or bagels, eggs, sharp cheddar cheese and fruit and you have yourself a healthy, balanced meal. Eat clean and healthy for meals in so you can enjoy dinners eaten out all the while not getting completely off track. For example if you want fried fish, have it with a side salad or steamed vegetables instead of both fries and mac and cheese.
So while you are on vacation, enjoy your relaxation time- relaxation, de-stressing and getting adequate sleep does wonders for health! Be mindful of what you eat, enjoy meals out but stay on track so that you still feel good about yourself when you come home from vacation. Aim to maintain weight, not lose it!
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012.). She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit: www.lisastollmanrd.com