Independence Day Travel Prep Edition
The #GoodMeasureLife is about eating healthy, exercising regularly, doing good for others, and getting support each step of the way.
For those of us trying to watch our weight or develop healthy habits, holidays and travel are often a HUGE trigger to de-rail all of our hard efforts.
So, in the spirit of the #goodmeasurelife, our registered dietitian nutrition coaches have pulled together the top essential tips for Independence Day weekend traveling, so that you don’t have to dread a setback and mentally sabotage yourself before you even step foot out the door.
1. Pack food for your travels. Traveling is not an excuse to throw your health goals out the window! First of all, airport food is sold at a premium and selection may be limited. If meal time, bring a sandwich that you make at home on whole wheat and for snacks, pack single servings of nuts and a piece of fruit. For a car trip, bring a small cooler with nutritious snacks so you don’t end up with processed snacks from the gas station. Even just a little prep before you travel can help prevent that “hangry” feeling (hungry + angry) when you’re stuck in traffic or delayed at the airport, and keep you from making impulsive (and unhealthy) choices!
RD-approved snacks to pack in a cooler:
– Low-fat Greek yogurt, which is high in protein to keep you feeling full
– String cheese with an apple
– Half of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat
– Half of a PB&J with natural peanut butter, 100% fruit preserves, and whole wheat bread.
Non-perishable snacks to pack for grab-and-go options anytime, anywhere:
– Raw almonds or other nuts (these make great snacks because they’re packed with healthy fat, fiber and protein- the perfect combo to keep you full)
– Trail mix: make your own with raw nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain, high fiber cereal (like Kashi) – you’re better off taking a few minutes to make your own and pre-portion it ahead of time, because the trail mixes you often find in gas stations and airport convenience stores tend to be high in added salt, sugar and saturated fat, and they usually contain multiple servings and are VERY easy to overeat (been there, done that too many times)!
– Fresh fruit such as apples and oranges
– Raw veggies such as baby carrots, sugar snap peas, celery sticks and a container of natural peanut or almond butter
– Energy bars (look for bars with around 200 calories, at least 3 grams of fiber and protein each, and made with whole food ingredients you recognize such as Kind or Lara bars)
2. Stay hydrated! Traveling (especially on planes) can be dehydrating and it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Avoid those high-calorie sugar sweetened beverages, and bring a reusable water bottle, keep it filled, and carry it with you everywhere! Fill it up once you pass security to avoid paying $5 for bottled water at the airport – and avoid over-sized soft drinks at gas stations.
3. Make Smart choices at road-side restaurants. If you must stop for meals, avoid fried options. If you are limited with selections and can’t avoid fried food, order your chicken sandwich or burger but skip the fries (so hard, but so worth working on this habit! Remember, your waistline will thank you for these small choices that end up making a big impact). Instead of those fries, make sure you have fruit or veggies on hand to add that crunch to your meal, the healthy way.
4. Research your hotel before you book. Find one with a gym and don’t forget to pack your sneakers (common mistake)! If a gym is not an option, try to stay in a location with walking paths or safe sidewalks and get out for a walk or jog first thing in the morning before your day’s activities begin. Or, plan an active vacation — exploration of a city, town, beach, or countryside can add in enjoyable exercise to your planned vacation. Remember to get in your 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day, and ride out the endorphins for the remaining 23 hours you have to do whatever you like on your vacation!
5. Make the most of your dining experiences. Eat delicious meals and enjoy every minute of them, but don’t derail your diet in the meantime!
RD-approved restaurant guidelines:
– Plan ahead! Most restaurants have their menus available online now. If you know where you will be dining out, check out the menu ahead of time, identify the lighter options (using guidelines below), and plan out what you’ll order so you’re not tempted by the menu when you arrive (being the first person in your party to order can also help with this!)
– Add volume with veggies: start with a salad and order extra veggies to pair with your entrée.
– Skip the bread basket (if you do indulge in bread, then skip the potatoes/rice/pasta and stick to lean protein and veggies for your main meal).
– Decode the menu: choose preparation methods like steamed, roasted or grilled; stay away from fried, breaded or creamy.
– Order sauces or dressing on the side, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and make special requests!
– Sip on water throughout the meal and limit your alcohol intake (1 drink for women, 2 for men).
– Split dessert with at least 1 other person, or better yet, the whole table! The first couple of bites are the best anyway.
– No, you don’t need to be a member of the Clean Plate Club! Restaurant portions are almost always 2 or 3 times what you need!
6. Plan to rest! This is huge. Literally keep rest and sleep in mind as you are planning your activities. Remember the flippant saying “You can sleep when you’re dead?” Do not apply this principle on vacation, no matter how much you are trying to do and see. It’s vacation after all, and people who sleep more, eat less and weigh less. Use this time to catch up on much needed sleep and enjoy treating yourself well with healthy indulgences like fresh fruit and massages. Then when you come back from your travels, you’ll actually feel like you’re returning from a vacation, and not a whirlwind. Such a novel idea!
7. Get right back into the groove. When you return home from vacation, the last thing on your mind is shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Don’t undermine your goals by not having a plan of action for when you return. Good Measure Meals is offering 10% off any weekly plans* until 4 p.m. Thursday, July 7, 2016. Use code HOLIDAY10 at checkout! Order a plan and have it ready to pick up so that you can sit back and enjoy nourishing, healthy meals without the work, and the vacation mindset just a little longer — OR give us a call when you get back from your long weekend, and we can set something up for you the week after. (*Offer valid one time only; not for customers currently receiving meal plans.)
Today’s article contributed by Good Measure Meals registered dietitian nutrition coaches Sarah Shanahan and Alissa Palladino.