Nov. 10, 2008 -- Seasoned travelers know to embrace the unexpected. But when it comes to food, eating the unknown can set you perilously off course.
"It's possible to enjoy your vacation without letting it derail your diet as long as you plan ahead," said Erin Hobday, Nutrition and Diet Editor for SELF Magazine. Before you head off on your next trip, take the following advice for planning ahead, snacking smart and enjoying your getaway, without letting yourself go.
"At a convenience store, grab a Luna bar, bag of soy chips or small handful of nuts. They all contain a mix of carbs and protein, so they'll keep your blood-sugar steady and keep you feeling full," Hobday said. Not all snack or "energy" bars are created equal, though. In addition to the Luna Bars (her favorite is the Sunrise flavor), Avanti also recommends Cliff Builder Bars and Go Organic Bars (available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's). "If you are not suffering from high-blood pressure, turkey and salmon jerky are fantastic low-fat 'packaged' proteins. ... If you are vegetarian you can enjoy veggie jerky or seitan strips [both available at most Whole Foods and Wild Oats markets]," Avanti said. Yogurt can be another excellent source of low-fat protein. Check the label before you buy though because some are drowning in sugary syrup. Zero or 2-percent fat Greek Yogurt is best. Lastly, if you must do fast food, "choose a salad with low-fat dressing -- beware high-calorie add-ins like cheese -- a baked potato with chili, yogurt with fruit and granola, or even a [plain] burger. A McDonald's hamburger has just 250 calories, not bad for fast food," Hobday said. You can find a full "Fast Food Guide" on Avanti's Web site www.christineavanti.com, which outlines the healthiest (and worst) fast-food meals at most major chains. To view click here.
Beware of Traps
"Keep an eye on portion size," Hobday warned. "When you travel you tend to eat out more and restaurants tend to serve up enormous helpings." She suggests working around this by sharing entrees, asking for to-go containers and ordering appetizers as main courses. For more information on how to dine out and maintain your diet click here. "Don't be afraid to ask [your server] questions. ... That way you can avoid choosing seemingly healthy veggies or fish that are covered in butter or a sugary sauce," she added. Also beware of calorie-heavy alcohol intake, which tends to increase on vacation. "Choose a 100- to 120-calorie beverage, such as a glass of wine or a vodka and soda, and sip a glass of seltzer water for every alcoholic drink you enjoy to slow your consumption," Hobday said. Learn how to lose weight without dieting by clicking here. It's also important to choose nutritious options to keep you going strong. For this, Avanti suggested "taking a potent probiotic ... a great way to strengthen the immunity of the GI [gastrointestinal] tract." Her favorite is Biogia, which is available in most pharmacies in the United States.
Super Snack Ideas