We’re not even deep into the holidays yet, and I’m already bloated just thinking about the amount of food I’ll likely consume by the time the ball drops and it’s 2014.
Not only are food and dining options aplenty during this time of year, but to top it off, our routines are often displaced by surprise visitors, office parties, dinner parties, potluck gatherings, and of course, what we all look forward to the most—taking some time off. While I’m thankful that my work routine is put on pause to visit friends and family, I’m not quite certain how I feel about my work out routine being put on pause.
Though hardly a fitness freak, I am surely not the only one who accepts that third slice of pie with a small helping of guilt (second slice, I have no problems with). So this time of year, if you find yourself on the road, visiting relatives or taking a family vacation, be a little more mindful as to what and how you are eating. That way, you can maintain a healthful balance, so that third slice of pie isn’t so bad after all.
Tips on how to eat better while on the road:
Stay in a hotel with a kitchenette.
If you find yourself traveling but based in one place for longer than a few days, think about searching for accommodations that provide at least a small refrigerator and stovetop. While it’s exciting to dine out during every meal at first, this can get quite taxing, both on your stomach as well as your wallet. Even breaking up dining with a lunch of a light salad at home will keep you upbeat and refreshed throughout your travels.
Make a trip to the local market a family outing.
Many cities, even abroad, are home to weekend farmers market and Saturday flea markets. Scout out the ones in the city you’ll be visiting, and stock up on fresh and local fruits and snacks. Better yet, buy some to take home with you—they make excellent gifts or travel souvenirs! If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, do a bit of research prior to leaving home about the seasonal and regional produce that will be available during your stay.
Pack your own airplane food and snacks.
Security lines and unpredictable delays can make even the most optimistic individual a bit of an airport grump this holiday season. Don’t worsen it by adding hunger into the mix, and don’t find yourself at a fast food line simply because you were unprepared! Packing snacks in a carry-on is the number-one rule for mothers of young children, and should be a rule that we all follow, no matter how old. Make sure your food is pre-cut if necessary, able to be eaten utensil free, and packed in disposable or reusable containers (such as ziploc bags).
Skip the cocktail menu.
Though it’s tempting to have just one more round of drinks with your old friends, avoiding the pre-dinner cocktail or glass (or two) of wine or beer could save you hundreds of calories. A pina colada can have 500 calories or more, and a margarita between 150-200 calories. Even a regular glass of red wine carries with it 125 calories, meaning three glasses of wine equals one serving of french fries.
Take the advice of professionals.
You know that really expensive, five star hotel that you could never afford to stay in? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of its services! Contrary to belief, you don’t have to be a hotel’s guest to make use of their concierge services. The men and women working behind the desk are friendly to all, extremely knowledgeable, plus they live in the cities themselves so chances are they have personal favorites, too. You’ll get some great recommendations for special diets, regional specialties, joints that are off the beaten path, or a quick and healthy takeout option.
Stay active. Have fun.
Though it’s an obvious way to feel healthy, it’s worth a reminder that just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean you should forget what you’ve worked so hard for all year. It also doesn’t mean you have to pack a weeks’ worth of workout clothes. Staying ‘active’ while away from your usual exercise routine can simply mean exploring a city on foot rather than in a car, or walking throughout a large museum instead of sitting in a movie. It can mean going on a long walk in new neighborhoods, or even scouting out the area’s local organizations for active weekend outings.
Do you have any travel eating tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.