An eating vacation?


  • Health
  • Sunday, 09 Oct 2005

WHEN you go on vacation, you may feel less restrained about eating and your weight-loss efforts may take a break along with everything else. That’s natural.  

“Any deviation from your typical routine may cause you to overeat,” says Dr Catherine Champagne, a registered dietitian with Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge.  

But if you don’t want to gain weight while you’re kicking back, you probably need to change your habits, say nutrition experts.  

“People who are on vacation may think it’s all right to let their guard down,” says Lola O’Rourke, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and a nutrition consultant in Bainbridge Island, Washington.  

Your challenge is to plan the food part of your respite so you enjoy yourself without wrecking your diet.  

Here are some scenarios you’re likely to face and tips on handling them:  

 

Cars 

There’s nothing like being strapped in a car seat for five hours at a stretch to bring on the munchies.  

And if you travel with children you know how quickly “Mom, I’m hungry” becomes the refrain. It’s very easy to toss a few candy bars into the back seat to quiet your kids, while nibbling on one yourself. Again, you have to determine whether you or your children are truly hungry.  

“Maybe you just need a break from the monotony of the trip, and not necessarily with food,” O’Rourke says.  

Play a word game, listen to a story on tape, or pull over at a roadside stop and stretch.  

Children do need small, frequent snacks and you can be ready by packing whole-grain crackers, cheese sticks and easy-to-eat fruit, such as grapes.  

You can also take advantage of farm stands if you’re traveling back roads. You can enjoy local fresh specialties and find fresh fruits that are ripe for immediate snacking.  

 

Restaurants  

Dining out may be one of your favourite activities while vacationing. But if you’re assuming you can eat whatever you want because you’re not at home, you’re bound to gain weight.  

You don’t have to give up this pleasurable experience if you give some thought to what you’re going to eat, says Champagne.  

“Don’t waste your calories with the same fast food you can eat anywhere. Eat the local food as an adventure,” Champagne says.  

For example, if you’re in an area known for its seafood, find a great fish restaurant.  

As you browse the menu, look for grilled, broiled or baked foods. Split entrees with your partner and skip the breadbasket.  

 

Accommodations  

Most hotel menus aren’t designed for the dieter. Typical fare is rich and indulgent. But you have other options by booking a hotel room or condo with a kitchenette. Shop at a nearby grocery store and do some basic food preparation, such as making entree salads with low-fat dressing, so you won’t be at the mercy of restaurants for three meals a day. You can trim your expenses and put that restaurant waiting time to more enjoyable pursuits while you save calories. – Health and Fitness News Service/TMSI  

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