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Destination: Healthy Travel

Bridget Swinney, MS RD
By Bridget Swinney, MS RD

I love to travel, but I don’t love the idea of gaining weight after I’ve indulged a little too much! So over the years, I’ve developed some healthy travel tips that I’m sure have saved me pounds.

  • Plan your trip around some activity. Luckily, I’m also our family’s “travel agent”, which means I research where to stay that is close to pedestrian areas, beaches or hiking trails to explore. When possible, I avoid a renting a car, instead using a combination of public transportation and Uber—which is both convenient and encourages more walking. You can rent a bike in many cities, which is a fun way to see the sights! If you’re really active, you can plan a whole trip around fitness—such as visiting the top golf courses around the country, hiking all the 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, or taking a ski trip.
  • Eat Healthy at the Airport. It used to be that the food options in an airport would make it impossible to find healthy choices. Now, not only are there many options, but you can find out the calories of each choice. That’s one way to dial down your appetite!
    • Deli style sandwiches
    • Entrée salads with dressing on the side
    • Healthy snack options like boiled egg, hummus with crackers, fruit and cheese
    • Veggie soup, bean soup or chili
  • Drink Smart and Responsibly
    • Another way to indulge on vacation is of course with alcohol. But if you go for the fanciest drink on the menu—the super colorful ones often served with an umbrella or fruit garnish? That one also has the most calories. But shockingly, a margarita is also pretty high on the calorie chart—about 450 for 8 oz. and almost 700 for 12 oz.! The simplest drinks have classic spirits like scotch, tequila etc. and weigh in at only 65 calories per ounce. The best calorie choices would be scotch and soda, a “skinny” margarita, a glass of wine, champagne, or light beer.
    • On a hot day, alcoholic drinks can go down so easily to quench thirst. But hydrating with alcohol really doesn’t work! Instead, always order a glass of water with your drink and sip on both.
  • Eat a high protein, high fiber breakfast. This sets the stage for feeling full most of the day, especially if you make it brunch. The problem I’ve found with this strategy is, if you get hungry around 3 or 4, it’s too early for dinner and too late for lunch. Here’s where smart snacking comes in. Pick up some fruit, nuts, a snack bar or trail mix for in-between munchies. Or get a salad to take the edge off until dinner.
  • Don’t go Too Hungry for Dinner! Remember that bowl of fruit in your hotel lobby? Snag one on your way back to your room for a pre-dinner snack. (A side effect of travel is often constipation—eating an apple a day can help you avoid that!) If you don’t go to dinner starving, you won’t be tempted to eat a whole bowl of chips or a thousand calorie appetizer before dinner!
  • Order Small. Think about ordering appetizer portions or sides for dinner to avoid huge dinner portions you may feel pressured to eat, for example, dinner salad with crab cakes or shrimp cocktail and a side of veggies. An entrée salad is a perfectly fine choice for dinner—and then, you won’t feel guilty about splitting a little dessert! Or share entrees with your travel partners. That’s a win-win.

Photo courtesy of eatrightmama.com

  • Think Veggies and Seafood. Vegetarian offerings are often (but not always) good options. You also can’t go wrong with grilled seafood options. Have a balance of starchy and veggie sides.

Bon Appetit and Bon Voyage!

Find more of my favorite healthy travel tips here:

http://eatrightmama.com/top-twelve-healthytraveltips/

 

Bridget Swinney, MS RD
Bridget Swinney is a health communicator, award-winning author and well-regarded nutrition expert specializing in teaching people to embrace a healthier diet and lifestyle. In her 25 years as a registered dietitian, she has worked in public health, as a clinical...Read More
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