How to Have Fun without Gains and Guilt
For many of us, vacation is a time to relax by sitting around, napping, sipping cocktails, eating indulgent foods, and leaving our worries behind. Unfortunately, all that "sitting around" and comfort food could cause vacation weight gain and bloat. Here's how to have fun on vacation—and eat the foods you want while making sure your figure is still in tip-top shape when you return.
Rent a condo or an apartment
Studies show that the more frequently you eat out, the more likely you are to have weight gain, because restaurants load you up with hidden calories. If possible, book accommodations with a kitchen; it may cost slightly more, but you'll save a bundle by cooking. Aim to prepare all your breakfasts, plus either lunch or dinner each day. With that in mind, make a grocery list on the plane. Tear off a section for each family member so that you can stop at the store, and divide and conquer, on the way to your vacation destination.
Plan your meals ahead
Pack (or pick up) a sandwich on whole wheat, always carry some nuts, and toss an orange in your purse. With their healthy fats and fiber, the nuts will keep hunger at bay. At restaurants, plan in advance to just eat half. Ask your server when you order to bag up the other half, and savor it for lunch the next day. Finally, when you're on the road, skip the drive-thru and hit a deli. Get turkey on whole wheat, an apple and fat-free yogurt for less than 350 calories!
Be wise about your food choices
Waffles and pancakes look tempting, but think of them as set decorations. Instead, greet the sunrise with a protein-rich shake or an egg-white omelet to kick-start your metabolism and keep you satisfied. Later in the day, enjoy your favorite fruity concoction with lunch or a glass of wine with dinner, but when you're lounging by the pool, strolling the deck, or playing a midnight game of poker, order an alcohol-free fruit smoothie in a 5-ounce glass for about 90 calories, or opt for a seltzer spiked with juice and lime for around 30 calories. Green tea, which revs your metabolism, is another great option. By night, avoid drinks with cocktail umbrellas and fruit juice (there are 350 calories for a pina colada!) and for for red wine, instead. And if you hit a buffet—common at hotels and on cruise ships—always use the salad plate. Be it for the breakfast bar, lunch buffet, or dinner entrée, this tried-and-true trick will help keep your portions in control. Use it to eat a salad before each meal, too--another way to cut your total calories.
Put exercise on your itinerary
Trust us: You’ll be happier and feel healthier if you squeeze in some activity while you’re away—and exploring a new city on foot definitely counts. If you’re in more of a resort-type setting, take advantage of the hotel gym or swimming pool (even most small hotels have fitness centers now). If you don't want to spend precious vacation time in your hotel gym, get out and try something new. Depending on where you're staying, you might want to try inline skating or kayaking, or do bike tours or nature hikes. Even 20 minutes a day will help boost your energy levels (essential for all-day sightseeing) and take away some of the guilt from those indulgent vacation dinners.