How to travel without bringing home extra pounds

Healthy travel

With one billion tourists, 2012 was a record breaking year for international tourism.  Each day, the world becomes more connected.  For many of us, travel has become a frequent part of our life.

No matter what the occasion – conference, wedding, business trip or family vacation – traveling takes us away from our stocked kitchen and gym routine and somehow makes us feel entitled to abnormally large portions and skipped workouts.  After all, it’s vacation!  Unfortunately, weight put on in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.  So how can we avoid bringing home extra pounds every time we leave town?

Drink water:  Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, all your body really wants is more water.   Not only can drinking water before meals help fill you up so you eat smaller portions, but it can also boost your body’s ability to burn fat.  Every time you get the urge to grab a high-calorie drink or what I like to refer to as a “boredom snack,” those snacks you only eat because you have nothing better to do while waiting for your flight, reach for a water instead.  This simple swap will make a huge difference on your body during vacation.

Pack snacks:   Having snacks on hand helps avoid temptation to grab expensive and typically unhealthy meals offered in the airport, at a rest stop, or in the hotel.  For ideas, check out these seven healthy snacks or healthy snacks to keep in your car.   Traveling with kids?  Try these 25 healthy, kid-friendly snacks that won’t pack on the pounds.

Choose restaurants wisely:  Look up restaurant menus before making your selection to ensure there are healthy options.  If you’re crunched for time and fast food seems to be your only option, learn how to make healthier choices at fast food restaurants.

Control your portions:  We all know that restaurant portions in America tend to be oversized.  Of America’s chain restaurant entrees, 96 percent fall outside the range of the USDA’s recommendations for fat, saturated fat and sodium per meal.  At restaurants, don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach.  Skip the entrée and order a soup and salad. Split a dish.  Order a smaller portion.  Start your meal with water.  Try to incorporate fiber into every meal to keep you feeling full for much longer.

Plan to exercise:  If you don’t build activity into your travel plans, it’s not going to happen.  Consider starting your days out with a walk to explore the area.   Be sure to pack workout clothes and tennis shoes and check if your hotel has a fitness center or pool.  If there’s no gym, try this 30-minute hotel workout in your room.

How do you stay healthy when you travel?

Photo Credit: Tonya Staab

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