Archive for the tag - vacation

7 Tips: Healthy Vacation Eating.

HealthWatch-06_10For the last 31 days, I’ve been jet-setting around the globe on a world tour to meet fans and to film content. Incredible as the tour was, from a health perspective, 31 days of eating in restaurants, planes, food courts and cafes posed a real challenge for my body.

So, I created a strategy. And spoiler alert, it worked.

Here are the 7 rules that I created for myself:

  1. Drink lots and lots and lots of water. I can’t stress this enough. Water has so many amazing and wonderful benefits including clearer skin, increased productivity, decreased cancer risk – and even a metabolic boost. Drink more. Weigh less.
  2. Eat for fuel, not pleasure. Okay, this one is a bit tricky. I don’t like the idea that eating healthy means forgoing flavor. There are tons of healthy, delicious and nutritious meals – especially if you’re cooking at home. When traveling, it’s a bit more difficult. So I prioritize the nutritional value of food over its flavor. Sure, pizza would be delicious. But a colorful salad topped with grilled chicken is what my body reallt needs. You don’t have to love the way every meal tastes. But you’ll certainly love the way it makes you feel – and that counts for a whole lot more.
  3. Look for the 12 unhealthy restaurant menu words. Anything that says Alfredo, pan-fried, crispy, battered, au gratin, etc. doesn’t belong in your stomach. Instead, clue into words like steamed, grilled, broiled or baked. In general, they’ll point your toward healthier food choices.
  4. Stock up on high-fiber fruit. When we traveled for my tour, we really didn’t stay in any one city long enough to go grocery shopping or to prepare meals on our own. But I did find a few minutes to sneak out to a local convenience or grocery store and buy some high-fiber fruits like apples. Because fiber is slow to digest, an apple snack is a great way to curb your hunger. When you do go out to eat, you’re much less likely to overeat.
  5. Don’t drink your calories. Okay, you’ve heard this one before. But consider how many more calories are packed into restaurant meals versus what you’d be cooking at home. All the extra butter, cheese and grease doesn’t help – not to mention extra large portion size. It’s possible to offset some of those additional calories by sticking to water as a beverage of choice. The only exception would be a nutrition-packed drink, such as a real fruit smoothie made with an unsweetened almond milk base (versus an apple juice base which is loaded in sugar and calories).
  6. Customize your meals. Don’t order exactly as it is from the menu. Most restaurants are happy to make substitutions. Cut out the mayo. Ask for the dressing on the side. Get a sandwich without cheese. Ask for dry toast. Substitute a side item for salad or steamed vegetables. Get brown rice instead of white. While small, each of these substitutions will instantly upgrade your meal.
  7. Pay attention. It’s not about starving yourself or going crazy, but it is about paying attention to the food that goes into your body. Make each food decision consciously and deliberately. This doesn’t mean avoiding gelato in Italy, but it might mean enjoying a few spoonfuls rather than a whole container.

As a bonus tip, it’s important to be realistic. Traveling and eating healthy are real challenges, and so it’s not a good time to embark on a diet or weight loss plan. It’s more about minimizing the damage or trying to maintain your current level. And good nutritional habits should be complemented with good exercise habits. Even while traveling – or, especially while you’re traveling – go to the gym to prevent muscle mass loss and to burn off those extra calories.

How to Stay Fit While Traveling.

My 6-day trip to Park City, Utah (and blogging hiatus) has finally come to an end. I’m finally back in Rhode Island! There’s no place like home.

Staying healthy and fit while traveling is always a challenge. But here are my top 6 tips for making it happen:

  1. Remember that there’s no such thing as “vacation” calories. You’ve probably heard people try to justify an unhealthy meal by saying, “It’s okay. I’m on vacation.” While there is nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, it’s important to remember the obvious: Your body doesn’t process food differently when you’re on a vacation. Calories are calories, plain and simple.
  2. Stay at a hotel with a gym, or buy day passes. Before I left on my trip, I was excited to discover that my hotel had a fitness center. When I arrived, I realized the so-called fitness center consisted of two old treadmills, a yoga mat and one piece of equipment. Since the hotel booking was beyond my control, I called the concierge and found an actual gym 10 minutes down the road. I purchased a few day passes – which was a bit pricey – but splurging on your body is always a good thing.
  3. Use your feet. One of the best ways to explore a new city is on foot, and it’s also great exercise. Opting to walk (instead of buses, cabs and the like) will help counteract some of those extra calories we tend to consume while traveling.
  4. Stock the mini-fridge. I made use of the mini-fridge by stocking it with my own food. I hit up a local grocery store and purchased some fresh fruit and sandwiches. Using the mini-fridge for your own food is a great way to cut down on restaurant meals.
  5. Be flexible. Exercise doesn’t need to be “all or nothing.” Maybe your typical gym routine is 60 minutes, and you only have 30 minutes of free time. As Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work.” Do what you can with what you’ve got! 30 minutes of exercise is better than zero minutes of exercise.
  6. Beat the rush. Though this tip isn’t for everyone, I’d recommend getting up an hour before your friends, family or coworkers. Before your busy vacation schedule starts, dedicate this early morning time to exercise. At the end of the day, after hours of traveling and exploring, you’re probably not going to have the energy to exercise.

Those are my six tips but I’d love to hear some of yours! Let me know in the comments below!