We have all heard of the “Freshman 15” but what about the “Vacation 5”? After working so hard to look good in our shorts and swimsuit, we come home suntanned, relaxed and 5 pounds heavier. Vacation should be a time to enjoy, unwind and rejuvenate but that doesn’t have to mean losing sight of our health and fitness goals. Just a little pre-trip planning can go a long way. Here are a few simple ideas to maintaining healthy lifestyle away from home.
- Be Prepared: Bring your own healthy snacks for traveling. Whether traveling by car, train or plane, a bag of nuts, piece of fruit or small sandwich is easy to carry along. If at all possible avoid eating at the airport, an expensive and frequently fattening choice.
- Two out of Three: Focus on making two out of your three meals during vacation healthier choices. Most restaurants offer a selection of lighter options but if you don’t see one don’t be afraid to ask. Grilled vegetables (instead of French fries), baked or broiled chicken or fish and salad dressing on the side on the side are all easily accommodated. As for that third meal, feel free to indulge a bit after all you are on vacation!
- Plan to Move: The idea of the hotel fitness center depressing? A walk on the beach is beautiful and challenging alternative to the treadmill. For some tips on making the most out of your beach walk, check out this fitness walking guide. If beach combing is not your thing, rent a bike and take a bike tour of the area or if you are near the water try snorkeling, body surfing or go for a swim. The easiest way to maintain cardiovascular fitness: Walk don’t drive at every opportunity. Let’s not forget about maintaining muscle tone. Melissa Romero's blog offers six easy to do exercises to keep you toned without ever leaving your hotel room.
- Moderation: You are on vacation, of course you want to enjoy that tropical cocktail or decadent dessert. Think about limiting yourself to one or two. If you are getting drinks pool or beach side, make yourself get up rather and get one rather than have it brought to you. Alternate chocolate cake for fresh fruit or choose a scoop of ice cream instead of a sundae. Finally, think about portions. The average restaurant meal is more than 2 times larger the recommended by the USDA. When eating out share an entre with a friend, ask if it comes in a smaller portion size or ask for the take out carton when you are ordering and place half of your meal in it from the beginning.
Vacation is about having exploring new places, having fun with family and friends and recharging. With a little planning the only thing you will come home with is wonderful memories!