Hello, vacation! You’re ready to kick back and relax, maybe sip a few margaritas by the pool. Heaven, right? Until you step on a scale and realize you’ve toted home more than just kitschy souvenirs. About two-thirds of frequent travelers say that exercising and eating healthy while on the road is stressful, according to a TripIt survey. So what’s a weight-conscious jetsetter to do? Follow these 10 simple strategies when you’re planning your next getaway.
Book accommodations with a kitchen.
Rent a condo or hotel room with a kitchen, mini-kitchen or at least a mini-fridge (which may cost a small fee), so you can stock healthy foods. “Then, you can eat some of your meals in, which can be healthier since restaurant meals tend to be larger and higher in calories," says Molly Morgan, a sports specialist dietitian in Vestal, NY, and author of The Skinny Rules. Since dining out’s part of the fun, Morgan suggests eating breakfasts and lunches in your room and heading out for an occasional dinner.
Do some restaurant research.
If you know where to get good-for-you eats before you go, you won’t be stuck with the first (inevitably unhealthy) place you see when hunger strikes. “Often, you can review nutrition data and determine if a particular restaurant offers menu items that fit your healthy intentions,” Morgan says. Check airport restaurants too, and if you’re traveling by car, guesstimate where you’ll be stopping for gas and search online for nearby restaurants with healthy options, like Subway and Panera. To find other healthy eateries, download apps like HealthyOut and Restaurant Nutrition to your smartphone; they're free on iTunes.
Pack resistance bands.
A treadmill in your suitcase isn’t going to fly, so carry these lightweight and easy-to-pack items. They allow you to strengthen your whole body from the convenience of your hotel room or condo. Need help figuring out what moves to do? Find free resistance band workouts on SparkPeople.com or YouTube.
Treat yourself to new sounds.
Getting motivated to move may be your biggest travel challenge. So give yourself something to look forward to, like new music and audiobooks you can listen to as you sweat, says Nikki Glor, personal trainer in New York City and creator of the Fit Travel Workout DVD. And if you’re torn between exercising or reading that book you haven’t had time to open, listening to an audiobook while moving can address both desires. Check out Last.fm for free music downloads and BooksShouldBeFree.com for audiobooks.
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