Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tips for Eating Healthy on Vacation

The last day of school is upon us and that makes me think about summer traveling... Vacations.. and how I am going to keep on track during these trips. I gained 20 pounds last summer. Eating out is my number one downfall. My family really enjoys fine dining- my 10 year old even made up a rap song about it..."I like fine dining, it's so divine, Morton's, Ruth Chris and New York Prime." So most evenings we will be dining out and I need to start thinking about how I can eat on vacation and still stay on track.

There are three reasons why eating in restaurants, as we tend to do most of the time while traveling, is so dangerous for your diet.

Restaurants often serve large portions, and we tend to eat more when more food is in front of us.
Restaurant menu items are often high in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and low in fiber.

At restaurants, you usually have no idea how many calories or grams of saturated fat are in the dishes you order.

Restaurant dining makes it difficult to track points. I tend to pad what I calculate with an extra point or to for the unknown ingredients.

I have done a little research and the top 5 tips I am going to use this summer are:

1. You don't have to clean your plate.... I have always been a member of the clean plate club, I really have to analyze my portions at meals in restaurants. There is always enough food for 2 meals on each plate. I am thinking about asking to have half of it wrapped before they bring it out and then take it with us for lunch the next day. Many restaurants we go to on vacation are ala carte style dining. This makes portions easier because we all share different items.
Desserts seem to materialize after every meal on vacation. And to make it worse, all the meals are little richer, and snacks are a little more frequent. But just because the food is there doesn't mean you have to eat it all. Slow down and consider what you're eating. WW gives you 35 discretionary points (and activity points). Think of these calories as your "fun" calories to be used for treats. Before you snack, decide whether you're truly hungry or just mindlessly noshing. Keep your discretionary and activity points in check by splitting your dessert with your family. Make the healthiest choices when you can, and take small portions when the meal choices are high calorie and out of your control.

(My waiter's are never this HOTT!! IF I get this one... I may be too busy looking at him to ask any questions!!)

2. Ask Your Waiter 4 Questions

Ask how a dish is prepared and served. Then, you can request that your selection be prepared or served differently, if necessary. For example, meats that are fried can often be ordered grilled instead.

Ask for sauces, gravies, and dressings to be served on the side so you can use a modest portion.
Ask that your entree be served with fresh vegetables (no butter or sauce, please) or a side salad instead of the usual french fries.

Request whole grains whenever possible. Some restaurants offer 100% whole-wheat bread and buns, whole-grain blend pasta, tortillas, and steamed brown rice.

3. Order Fruits and Veggies Every Chance You Get
Look for opportunities to order dishes that include high-nutrient, high-fiber fruits and veggies. Entree salads or side salads made with spinach or romaine lettuce are a great way to get your vegetables. Grilled or roasted veggies with a little EVOO are a great choice too. If you're ordering something like a shrimp or chicken quesadilla, you can ask the restaurant to add some grilled or roasted veggies to it, it will be filling and leave less room for dessert.

(This is what I want to look like-- someday, someday soon!)

4. Your shoes are made for walking
Ask about safe walking routes around your hotel or rental home, then lace up your shoes and get going! There's no better way than walking to see and really experience the area you're visiting. Plus, it's handy for burning off some of last night's dinner, too. Take advantage of the gyms. The place we stay at has a state of the art gym- that I have never been in. That will change this year.

5. Pack a snack....
When you're traveling, always keep a healthy snack on hand. The best combinations contain a little protein and a high fiber carbohydrate to keep you feeling full as long as possible. A trusty PB&J on whole wheat tucked in your carry-on bag will keep you cruising by the fat-filled (and expensive!) cinnamon buns in the airport. Unsalted nuts, fruits, and whole grain crackers are great for the car, and are real aces for keeping your stomach from rumbling while you're searching for lunch from somewhere healthier than the ubiquitous fast food place. There are so many great snack choices for healthy eating, my favorites are Kind Bars, Fiber One bars and Smart Food popcorn, all are in convenient single serve portions that are super easy to throw in my purse or beach bag.

Well next week is our first trip away from home- I am going to stick to these tips and get a lot of exercise and I am hoping that I can stay on program and continue to lose all summer.

1 comment:

  1. Walk, walk, walk....That is my motto. We just got back from Vegas. I too, and a big failure when I am dining out so I try to eat light most of the day, exercise (walking, swimming, walking...:-)).
    Then splurge on one area of the meal...

    You can do it!!