How to plan a vacation that won’t spell disaster for your waistline

travel2We spend lots of time planning our vacations: where we’ll go, what we’ll see, where we’ll sleep, how we’ll get there.  But do you make plans for eating healthfully and exercising on vacation?

You should.

Now, I recognize that one of the biggest pleasures of traveling is experiencing new foods (or old favorites in new places), and just taking some time to relax.

Plus, when we’re on vacation we want to do things we don’t get to do at home. We ask for that second exotic drink or order a huge appetizer in addition to a full meal.

But keep in mind that if you don’t think about healthy eating and exercise during your vacation, you’ll have to pay for it later. The last time I went on vacation with my husband I gained five pounds in three days. I’m not going to do that again!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t splurge on vacation, have fun or spend hours at the spa or sipping a fruity drink by the pool. But is important to incorporate some exercise into your vacation, and plan out how you’ll eat some healthy foods and enjoy not-so-healthy foods in moderation.

This month, I’m on a vacation that will take me to several states. I’ve come up with a few simple tricks designed to keep myself in check.

PedometerOutsidePocket-20140107-croppedKeep moving.

• Wear a pedometer to record all the steps you take pacing the airport terminal during layovers.

• Avoid the moving walkways and take the stairs whenever possible.

• Wear walking shoes. These might be a pain when going through security, but they’re worth it.

• Do in-flight stretches.

• Take walking breaks, and incorporate walking events into your day.

Eat (and drink) healthfully when possible.

•  For every alcoholic drink, drink two glasses of water. Plus, always have water with you — sip it throughout the day, especially throughout that long flight.

• Pack any meals that you can. Grab to-go foods from the supermarket. A few ideas: roasted chicken breast, cold quinoa salad, cups of fruit, almonds, low-sugar protein bars, and jerky. (If you’re packing for a flight, be sure to take plastic utensils and be aware of liquid limits.)

quinoa 5• Get up in time to have a real breakfast with plenty of protein. Don’t settle for pastries.

• Go for healthier snacks (like fruit) so that you can splurge a bit with lunch and dinner.

• When you go out to restaurants, share your meal. Split that burger and fries plate, or put the fries in the middle of the table so the whole family can enjoy. Better yet, split the burger and order a salad for the side.

How do you incorporate healthy eating and exercise into your vacation?

shawndraShawndra Holmberg writes about small things we can all do to live a healthier lifestyle. And she believes weight loss is a journey not a destination. Like any journey, weight loss has switchbacks, reduced speed zones, blind curves ahead, and a few fast lanes (yes, even on the Big Island). She also believes that a successful journey begins with small steps. Connect with Shawndra on Facebook or check out her blog.

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