Summer’s here, and that means not only is it time to shake out those “Bikini Bodies” from their winter overcoats, but also summer vacations.
I’m no “Road Hog,” but I do know just how tough it can be to keep to your diet and fitness regimen when traveling. It doesn’t matter if you are going over the mountains and through the woods to visit grandma’s for the holidays, or taking a business trip, I know that being “a road warrior” can throw your diet plans off track.
But the good news is, even for you regular business travelers who face the fast food temptation of a quick bite between meetings or presentations, there are ways to take your diet along with you. It just takes some planning.
Here are a few tips to avoid landing in “fat city” no matter where you are traveling to.
Pack Your Own
One of the best things you can do to avoid the wrong foods on the road is to take a variety of your own healthy snacks with you. Fill a few small ziplock bags with dried fruit, nuts, soy nuts, fresh fruit, and cut veggies. Other portable snacks could include:
- Bagel chips
- Low-sugar granola bars
- Low-fat/low sugar energy bars
- Mini carrots
- Bottled water
Don’t Skip Out on Breakfast
This is important at home, of course, but it’s even more important to start your day with a healthy breakfast when you are on the road. If you start your day with a lean, healthy breakfast, you will be less likely to snack or overeat at lunch. If your hotel offers a breakfast bar, you know better than to chow down on the bacon and eggs, no matter how tempting they smell!
Also pass on the donuts, pastries, or sugary muffins. Instead go for whole-wheat toast, non-sugared cereal, fresh fruit, and a hard-boiled egg. Those carb-laden breakfast treats may be tastily tempting, but they are no way to start your day!
Try to Do Your Own Cooking
Most hotels today at least have a microwave. Extended stay hotels, or suites, usually have that plus a small range top. Try to do your own cooking of the same healthy foods you would at home, rather than eating out for every meal. Get some fresh fruit, veggies, low-fat cheese and crackers and maybe some oatmeal packets at the local grocery. You can also look for “healthy” microwavable meals, but be sure to check the sodium content on any frozen food, even ones with “healthy” in the name!
Keep Your Exercise Routine Going Too
Most hotels have some type of fitness center–at least a treadmill and/or stationary bike. You can find 20 minutes to put in a quick run or ride while catching up on the TV news, and this also keeps you in shape and your energy moving.
More Tips for Healthy Trips
WebMD Wellness Coach Larina Kase, PsyD, MBA, had this to say about traveling lean, “When you reach your destination, look for healthy food options in or near your hotel. When you’re pressed for time, you’ll be less likely to run to the closest fast-food restaurant if you know there’s a cafe with healthy salads and sandwiches right around the corner.” She adds that you cannot think of a vacation or even a business trip as an excuse to break from your regular life and healthy eating habits. “Calories count whether they are consumed in the air, on the road, or in a hotel,” says Kase.
I know that it may seem impossible between jet lag, changing time zones, juggling meetings, and conference calls that are then followed by happy hours and dinners, to even attempt to keep up with your fitness and diet goals when on the road.
However, the bottom line is you can do it. It just takes some planning and perseverance, and that is something required to reach your fitness goals, whether you are home or away.