Nutrition Tip of the Week
5 Steps to Maintaining Your Weight on Vacation
Written By: Samantha McCarthy, MS, RD/LDN
The weather is nice, the kids are out of school, and life is a little more relaxed. It must be summer. If you are like the majority of families, the summer is time for vacation. Many of you are packing up the cars and heading to the lake, beach, or mountains for a family getaway.
Vacations are a much needed break from reality. Itís good for your health and your body to take some to destress. Often, though, this means being sedentary, eating loads of unhealthy foods, and drinking more alcohol. This is not so good for your health and body. To avoid the usual, ďIíll start after vacationĒ excuse, follow the five tips below to maintain your weight while still enjoying yourself:
Step One: Plan Ahead
If you have the convenience of a kitchen on vacation, plan at least half of your meals ahead of time. Pick healthy breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and a few dinners. This will help balance out your week so you arenít overindulging every meal. Keep it simple. You donít want to be spending all of your vacation preparing meals. Hereís a sample day of meals:
- Breakfast: scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, 1 cup of fruit
- Snack: ľ cup nuts
- Lunch: salad made with mixed greens, vegetables of your choice, a few slices of deli turkey and cheese, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing
- Snack: hummus with vegetables and a few whole grain crackers
- Dinner: grilled chicken breast with asparagus and corn on the cob
Step Two: Indulge in a Controlled Way
You donít want to overindulge on vacation to stay healthy and maintain your weight, but you donít want to over-restrict yourself either. Allow yourself to have a few of your favorite foods in small portions. For example: a handful of chips, a kiddie size ice cream, Ĺ a dessert. Controlling your portions keeps you in control of the food while also allowing yourself to indulge.
Step Three: Stay Hydrated, the Right Way
A summer vacation means warm weather (hopefully, right?). When itís warmer and you are spending more time outdoors, your hydration needs increase. This means you need to drink more water throughout the day. Add an extra 20-30 oz. per day if you are out in the summer heat. Also, be careful with alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can dehydrate you putting you at a higher risk for heat stroke or exhaustion. It also adds tons of extra calories. A typical glass of wine, beer, or basic mixed drink can be about 100-150 calories. If you have several throughout the day, it adds up quickly. Try to limit the alcohol as much as possible and follow each drink with a cup of water.
Step Four: Exercise Daily
No, I donít mean find a gym while you are away and getting your butt there every day. I mean move on a daily basis. Go for walks on the beach or on the boardwalk, go for a hike with the family, swim, play sports games with your kids, or go for a bike ride. Try to incorporate at least one hour of physical activity with the family each day.
Step Five: Donít Forget to Rest on Vacation!
Vacation is meant for you to distress and relax. As best you can, sleep in, go to bed early, take naps, and take it easy most of the day. Lowering your stress levels can do wonders for your body and help you maintain your weight during your vacation and after.
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Debunking Nutrition Myths: Skipping Meals
Debunking Nutrition Myths: Carbs are Bad for You
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