5 Rules for Healthy Holiday Travel

by  Trish Friesen | Dec 18, 2012
Family at the beach
Family at the beach / petrenkod/iStock

We typically associate vacations with indulgence. While most of us maintain some form of dietary restraint at home, sitting on a beach or skiing on a slope is another story altogether, starring extra drinks, Parisian pastries, and sugary snacks. Factor in a vacation during the holidays– fraught with even more treats at every turn – and suddenly our calorie count is stuck circling the Bermuda Triangle (with no end in sight!). To make sure you start 2013 off on the right foot, we’ve assembled five tips for keeping your body shipshape during your holiday vacation, channeling Elle Macpherson’s restraint with a side of Gordon Ramsay's zest.

1. Sip Nature's Nectar
Water is your friend at the airport, in the cab, out and about, and at the beach. Nursing nature’s nectar not only ensures you’re alert, but it keeps you hydrated (which is important because people often mistake thirst for hunger). It also counterbalances the consumption of beach cocktails. In practice, this means gulping a glass of water for every bevvy.

2. Color your Plate
Aside from chicken, most beige foods should be eaten in mega-moderation! It’s true, carbs are oh-so-tempting on vacation, yet a simple strategy for nutritionally balanced meals is to color your plate in a rainbow of hues filling at least half of it with vegetables or a smaller amount of fruit, and the other two quarters with protein and whole grains. By the way, ruby red and sapphire blue umbrella drinks don’t count toward your color quotient!

3. Sugar Shack
Sugar sneaks into almost everything we eat from the sweets we add to tea or coffee to the sauces that cover our plates. Sugar is so sneaky, sometimes we don’t even know we’re ingesting it. To take back control of your calorie consumption, simply being aware of where sugar might hang out is a great first step. Then, to top it off, practice the 80/20 rule. Over the course of a week, eat well 80 percent of the time and let yourself be a little naughty the remaining 20 percent.

4. Sharing Meals
Like we mentioned above, a little splurging is okay – we know, you’re on vacation – just not at every meal. Aside from making sure there’s a rainbow coloring your plate, we also suggest adjusting the quantity of your consumption, often through sharing. To put this in perspective, two people could share two appetizers and one main dish. You can always order more if you’re famished. Think about sharing this way: try more, spend less, and control the waistline!

5. Sneaking in Exercise
Even if your getaway is completely relaxation-focused, there are still more opportunities than you think to keep fit between your daily sun-sip-repeat routine. First off, travel days provide an endless walking track at giant airport terminals (if you avoid using the people movers). Then, while you’re at the resort, why not cool off in the water with a few daily laps, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or go for a sunset stroll? Finally, simply bringing your exercise gear will provide a constant reminder to use it.

Rather than returning home with a mile-long list of diet and exercise resolutions, get a jump-start on the New Year without thousands of extra calories weighing you down.

Bonus tip: don't forget about choosing smart foods to munch between meals with our tips for healthier vacation snacking.

Now that you know how to eat healthy on the road, try our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.

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