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Saturday, May 14, 2016

How To Eat More Healthfully When You Travel

One of my favorite things about traveling is eating and trying new foods. This isn't always a great plan, especially when you find that none of your pants fit at the end of your trip. I am not an exerciser, but when I am on vacation, I walk a lot and climb all the stairs. Of course, I also eat more than I do at home, because...yum. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I will plan whole days around where I want to eat. More than once I've gained some weight on my trip and had trouble getting into my clothing by the end. You want to throw the rules out the window, but you also want to try to eat healthfully, if it doesn't hold you back from eating all the stuff.


Eat smaller meals
If you're always hungry on vacation, maybe don't go crazy and order a huge meal when you've also been snacking along the way. Maybe order an appetizer when you sit down for lunch. Or put some healthy snacks (nuts, granola bars, fruit, veggies) in your day bag to munch on in between meals so you aren't stopping and getting a hot dog or other crap from a street vendor before heading to lunch or dinner.


Say no to the free bread (or chips and salsa)
I love carbs. And I love, love, love bread. It might be difficult to tell your server to not bring that delicious bread basket, especially when you feel like you're starving. Unfortunately, it's easy to eat the whole loaf of bread they bring you and then eat your entire meal before realizing that it was a bad idea and being overstuffed. If you don't have it, you can't eat it.

lobster sandwich with fries that we split, but we also had a stuffed mushrooms app

Split an entree with a friend
Eric and I do this a lot. Sometimes we're hungry, but not hungry enough to eat a whole meal, so we choose something that we both want on the menu and share. You are full, but not super full when you're done, so you don't want to lay down and take a nap or feel sluggish the rest of the day. If we can't decide if splitting something would be enough, we ask the server about the portion size. If they seem iffy about it, or we do, we also order an app. This is a good budget dining tip as well. 

Don't order everything on the menu, unless there's a lot more than 2 of you

Share some tapas
Instead of splitting a main meal, split 2 or 3 apps or small plates. This gives you a variety, so it satisfies your need to try more, but also doesn't give you enough food to stuff yourself before the meal is over. In fact, you may feel like you've gotten more than if you just ordered a regular entree, and you save money!


Don't forget your fruits/veggies
It's hard to get in your fruits and veggies every day when you're eating out all your meals. I always keep it in the back of my head to look for something that has sides that are good for me that I actually like. If nothing on the menu seems to fall into that category, ask your server if they have something that works. Or skip the fries and get a fruit cup instead. I always aim for at least a serving of fruits or veggies for two of my three meals. If you find you aren't getting enough, hit up the local grocery store or market and get some things you like and eat for breakfast or while you're out walking around.


Skip dessert
Am I a horrible person for suggesting this? I feel like it. If I see a funky dessert on a menu, I want to try it (this might also be a time when we plan to split and entree). I'm not saying to say no to all desserts, just many of them. Try not to have more than one per day and, when you do, make it count.


Scale back on the alcohol
Okay, some of you probably feel like this is as bad or worse than skipping dessert. I like a good cocktail as much as the next person, but those are extra calories that can add up quickly. It can also make me feel sleepy before it's even bedtime, and then my sleep is not great when I do go. If you must have a drink, limit it to one per meal. I figure an ice tea will end up being more refreshing, hydrating and affordable. Think of all the other stuff you can do with the money you aren't spending on alcohol!


Get a salad sometimes and go light on the dressing
Yeah, yeah. Blech. After having a bunch of rich or carb-loaded meals, I just crave something light and fresh. If you see a really yummy sounding salad on a menu, order it. It'll probably be healthier for you, gets your veggies in and gives your body a break from the heavier meals you've been putting into it.


Avoid fried foods
I'll never turn down fried chicken, but when on vacation I look to order fewer fried things (fries, chicken strips, fried pickles) and try to sub in something a little better for me. Maybe order the fish or grilled meat instead. Get a cup of soup or a side salad instead of onion rings. You'll feel better, your pants will still fit and you'll have more energy.

So, there you have it. There are a few ways to maintain your weight when traveling. If you want to do more, then walk as much as possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator or get a quick workout in. How do you eat more healthfully when you're on vacation?
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