Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vacation and Restaurant Savvy

I'm just back from vacation, a family reunion, and two weddings all rolled into a two week long extravaganza. I stepped on the scale this morning, peeking at the result of two weeks without my own stealthy and healthy eating, and exhaled one big sigh of relief. Not bad - I feel great, with no weight change, even though I've eaten at more restaurants than I can count. What's the strategy? Don't think I missed out on a single piece of wedding cake, made the martyr by skipping meals, or had teeny, tiny pieces of just this and that. Here's some guidelines for vacations, eating out, and continuing healthy eating habits even when it's not convenient.

Staying in a condo, or renting an apartment for a few days or a week, is becoming more and more popular. If this is one of your vacation plans, take advantage of the kitchen and prepare some of your own meals. When you shop, think like a local. For example, I like fruit and yogurt for breakfast. When I travel, I look for locally produced yogurts and locally grown fruits. Think melons or papaya in Mexico, have apples for trips to the States and Canada, or enjoy kiwi in Australia.

Going out to eat? Look for menu items that echo the healthy strategies you practice at home, but with a local flair or restaurant speciality. If you like to eat salad at lunch, look for an unusual salad or the house speciality salad and order that. Next, check out portion size by looking at the plates that are coming out of the kitchen. It's okay to order an appertizer size for your entree, to split an entree, or take half your entree home. Also, if you order dessert, check dessert size. Some desserts are large enough for a table of 4. If that's the case, consider choosing one that everyone likes, then requesting silverware for all.

Get up early ... and exercise! If you don't regularly exercise in the morning, try to do so when on vacation. This suggestion serves multiple purposes. First, you'll get the exercise you need for optimum digestion, and you'll increase your energy levels. Second, getting up early will lead you to bed early, and hopefully help you get the sleep you need to really enjoy your days. Third, you won't be staying up late taking in extra calories with evening drinks and snacks.

Speaking of exercise, walk and move! If it's possible, find active activities for your vacation days. Walking means more than a hike in the woods. Consider a walk through long city blocks for window shopping, or walking from the hotel to the restaurant across town (if you're in a town where you feel comfortable walking). Try new things. Snowshoe? Climb a mountain? River raft? The list is endless. The results are the same, you'll work up a great appetite to enjoy those restaurant meals.

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