Are you making progress with your diet and nutrition, but concerned because you’re going on vacation soon? On vacation, you’ll likely find yourself eating out three times a day for a week or more, so you need to find ways to work healthy choices into your trip. Elizabeth Schaub, R.D., dietitian at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, offers these 12 tips for maintaining your diet on vacation:
1. Order from the appetizer menu, where portions are the right size.
2. Limit the amount of bread and chips you eat before the meal.
3. Look at the menu online before you go out and decide ahead of time what you want. You’re more likely to make healthy choices if you make a decision before you’re hungry.
4. Choose baked, broiled or grilled options instead of fried or breaded.
5. Estimate your portions to track how much you are eating – an ounce is about the size of four dice and 3 ounces of meat is similar to the size of a deck of cards.
6. Ask for dressings, toppings and sauces on the side.
7. On your salad, choose vinaigrette-based salad dressings over creamy.
8. Drink low- or no-calorie water, iced tea or black coffee rather than soft drinks. It’s easy to drink a lot of calories without realizing it.
9. Avoid the high-carbohydrate continental breakfast. Pack nuts, fruits and yogurt for breakfast instead.
10. Be realistic – don’t plan to lose weight on vacation. Maintaining your weight is a better goal.
11. Don’t give up. If you have an unhealthy breakfast, you can still make healthier choices at lunch and dinner.
12. If you want a treat, go for it. Share it with one or more people if possible. Often, how much you’re eating is a bigger problem than what you’re eating (Newswise).
Editorial note: Regarding tip number 8, seriously consider freshly brewed tea (white, green, oolong, or black) without milk as a great vacation beverage. The L-theanine in tea has anti-stress effects, the tea polyphenols are very good dietary antioxidants, and the deoxysappanone in green tea turns on mitochondrial function to provide an anti-diabetic effect, according to recent research out of Harvard Medical School. To get full health benefits from tea, however, don’t use milk in it – some casein-related proteins in the milk bind the polyphenols – but instead acidify it with a little lemon (or even take your vitamin C with the tea) to enhance absorption of the tea polyphenols. Have a great vacation! – Dr. Z.