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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guest Blog- by Cole Millen-- Staying on Track While on Vacation



Vacation is usually the perfect time to kick-back, relax and ignore the regular day-to-day responsibilities. This often means sleeping in, skipping the gym, having an extra drink with dinner, and eating out for every meal. While this feels great on vacation, most people lament the few extra pounds they bring home from their trip. Fortunately, you can keep your diet on track while still enjoying your vacation by doing a little planning ahead and remembering a few simple tricks.

Depending where you are vacationing will impact how you would need to plan ahead. For trips that involve flying, it is very important to pack some healthy snacks because there are few things available past the security check that are not filled with calories, fat and sodium. Things like homemade trail mix, dried fruit or nuts are very light and easy to store in carry-on bags. Pack several options and remember to bring a second serving in your luggage for the trip home. Since current regulations do not allow any liquids past security, it is difficult to bring a drink, but getting a large bottle of water is usually worth it. It gives you something to drink on the flight other than soda or sugar-heavy juices.

Planning your trip extensively ahead of time is also very important when maintaining a healthy lifestyle on vacation. Often times we stay in an area that is very unknown to us and have no clue where the healthy alternatives are. For this reason, I have found that doing a little research prior to departure is pivotal in a nutritious week. I recently went to Vegas for a trip with a few friends of mine and realized before hand that it was not going to be easy to eat the way I wanted. What proved to be most valuable in my decision were the reviews that other travelers had given which truly allowed me to see what type of restaurants and alternatives were within the area. With a little research I was able to find a hotel in Las Vegas that had a full gluten-free menu. If I can manage to eat right in the buffet capital of the world, than anything is possible.

Once you arrive, find a local grocery or convenience store and stock up on some essentials like granola bars, instant oatmeal or even soup packets. These low-fat, low-calorie options can serve as snacks or eaten before a meal out. By eating something healthy before you leave, you may be able to avoid the tempting breadbasket or not finish the double serving of pasta. Try to always order a side salad to come out before the main course. This will increase your vegetable intake, while filling your stomach to eat less of the entree.

It is important to allow yourself to indulge while vacationing, but set limits before you go. Because alcohol has so many extra, empty calories, simply sipping a glass of water between drinks can reduce your intake for the entire night - even if you opt to get the chocolate cake for dessert. Also, instead of eating an entire dessert, get one to share. You get to enjoy the taste without wanting to eat the entire serving.

Following these simple tips will have you coming home in as great of shape as you left in!