There can be a variety of challenges associated with traveling with children and maintaining a healthy diet on the road is top on the list. Temptations are abound at almost every vacation hotspot but there are lots of ways to avoid unhealthy habits when you are away from home. Here are some tips to avoid a nutritional meltdown.
Breakfast: Experts all agree – don’t skip breakfast, it really is the most important meal of the day! Instead of eating high-carb morning meals such as pancakes, waffles and muffins, opt for protein, fresh fruit, and yogurt. Many hotels offering continental breakfasts will have those options, but, if not, visit a local store or market and experience local flavor along with your meal.
Restaurants: Eating out is inevitable while on vacation, but on today’s restaurant menus there are almost always healthy options. The primary concern is portion size. Ask for a box when your meal arrives and pack half of your meal before you begin eating to avoid temptation. Stay away from fried foods, eliminate heavy sauces and condiments, pass on the bread, and drink water instead of sodas or juices. This will not only save you from the calories, but help keep your energy levels high for activities!
Eating in the Air: Meals served on-board airplanes are not known for their nutritional value – or their taste – and now, they cost travelers extra money as well. Try packing your own snacks to stay healthy and save money. Trail mix, protein bars, and granola all make good, healthier alternatives to airline food and they don’t require refrigeration. Make sure you drink plenty of water, as staying hydrated while flying is very important.
No Mini Bars: Those tempting displays of candy and snacks in hotel rooms can be a minefield of poor eating choices as well as an unnecessary expense. Pack your own light snacks for the room for added convenience for those late-night treats. Light and easily digestible options are best. Some good examples include popcorn, multi-grain crackers and hummus or a light cheese like Laughing Cow, or blueberries and yogurt.
Car Trips: Although you are inevitably going to want to stop at a roadside restaurant to stretch your legs every once in a while, packing a cooler for the car will avoid junk food mishaps. Sandwiches and wraps, squeezable yogurt, nuts, and fruits are easy to pack and easy to eat while driving. Pack lots of water so that everyone stays hydrated. The easiest way to pack your food is in zip-lock bags so they can be passed around the car without spilling. Remember to take some extra plastic garbage bags with you so trash is easy to control.
Don’t Deprive Yourself Completely: It is vacation, after all! Don’t get discouraged with these tips if your idea of a vacation is filled with flavorful indulgence! Enjoy yourself and allow yourself to indulge in a few of your favorite treats – especially if you are in a place with a specialty you just can’t pass up. It’s hard to imagine going to New Orleans without having a beignet or traveling to Italy without indulging in a local pasta dish. The key is moderation and coupling the indulgence with extra walking, taking another swim in the pool or using the hotel’s gym equipment before dinner. Sightseeing is an easy and fun way to burn calories so many vacationers can have their proverbial cake and eat it too!!
Here’s a Travel Tip from a Mann Travels Vacation Specialist: Cruise Lines, once known for too much food and midnight buffets, have in recent years changed to accommodate the traveler interested in a healthier lifestyle. Check with your travel agent about which cruises offer spa cuisine, enhanced workout areas and emphasize a healthy lifestyle.
Share your healthy travel eating tips in the comments!