With summer vacation plans underway, it’s time to pack away the bulky sweaters and start thinking about exposing our pasty legs to the world.  If you’ve worked hard  to get your body ready for the beach, you don’t want to blow it with travel fare.  No one wants to come home a few pounds heavier, feeling bloated and unhealthy. But, it’s hard, isn’t it?!  

Having a plan helps.

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To tame the travel bulge, pack a cooler of sandwiches, containers of raw veggies with dip, easy to peel oranges, small apples, low-fat squeeze yogurt, low-fat string cheese, individually packaged humus and guacamole. Pack a separate bag of pretzels, dry cereal, whole grain crackers, almonds, and dried fruit.  If you have little ones, pre-chop or slice any foods that could be a choking hazard the night before.

If convenience stores can’t be avoided,  healthy items to grab include sunflower seeds, plain popcorn, trail mix, V8 vegetable juice, and bananas.  For energy bars, look for 3 or more grams of protein, 3 or more grams of fiber, whole grains, and less than 20 grams of sugar. 

When eating breakfast out, choose eggs for protein and avoid bacon and sausage. Grab fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt.  Instead of whipped cream or syrup, top your waffle with peanut butter or fruit.  Choose fat-free milk, water or coffee instead of sugary, fruit beverages.  Be cautious when ordering your cup of joe.  Frappuccinos often contain more than 75% of the recommended daily intake of fat and greater than 700 calories.  Drink it black or ask that it be made with skim milk, sans the whip.

For lunch and dinner, check out the menu online ahead of time.  Choose tomato and broth based soups and pasta dishes.  Opt for veggie sides.  Pick grilled or steamed meats and seafood.  Share your meal with a family member or friend.  Avoid menu items labeled as crispy or creamy.  Salads with grilled chicken or shrimp are excellent choices, but croutons, bacon, crispy noodles, cheese, and creamy dressings can turn your healthy salad into a double cheeseburger you didn’t even get to enjoy.

Not only does pre-planning allow you to save time, money, and caloric overload from the drive-through, you’ll also be ready for whining, hangry children…or husbands, when activities force meals to be later than usual. 

Most importantly, don’t stress!  You’re on vacation and you should enjoy yourself.  Making so many healthy choices will allow you to splurge on your favorite treats, guilt-free!


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