Vacations and diets never seem to mix well, with good reason. Who would want to miss out on cinnamon rolls in Shipshewana? Or funnel cakes at the state fair? Would Chicago be the same without Chicago deep dish pizza?
Even when travel food isn’t part of the destination, it can still be a big part of the budget. Fast food is almost always cheaper than healthier food and, or course….it’s fast.
If your diet has been going well, and you don’t want all your hard work to be lost while traveling, the best solution is probably compromise. Instead of trying to lose weight on vacation, why not shoot for weighing the same at the end of your trip as you do at the beginning? If your goals match up better with the level of temptation you’re going to have, you may enjoy your trip, and your homecoming, a lot more. Here are a few tips to guide you:
- Avoid big hotel breakfasts. Most of them have food you can easily prepare at home. Save your calories for food that is special to your trip.
- Instead of spending all your money and calories on restaurant food, hit up some local grocery stores. You’ll be amazed at how different regional cuisines can be. Buy some spices, condiments and other local specialties to take home with you. That way you’ll get to enjoy the flavors of your vacation long after you get home instead of packing on the pounds trying to eat them all in the short span of one vacation.
- Prevent “car grazing”. Leave the snacks at home. Don’t buy gas station food.
- When eating out, it’ll be easier on your waist, and your budget, if you split entrees with someone. This gives you 100% of the eating experience with only 50% of the calories.
- At least once a day, instead of ordering an entire meal, order a couple of appetizers. Make sure at least one of them is low calorie.
- Take a bite of everything but only eat the things you really enjoy. It’s rare to find a meal where every dish is something you love. Leave the “okay” foods on your plate.
- Almost every restaurant meal has high calorie “fillers”. This could be French fries, rolls on the table or dressing-filled coleslaw on the side of a barbecue sandwich. Ask if you can order a healthier substitute for the fillers.
- Don’t drink your calories. Water with lemon is cheaper and unlike soda pop, it won’t interfere with the taste of your food.
- When ordering fast food, get fish or chicken and skip the beef, bacon and fries.
- Look for kiddie sizes in high calorie treats.
- Choose one meal a day for your “splurge meal” and try to cut back at the other two meals.
- Vacation often gives us the opportunity to try new and delicious foods that are not available at home. Some of these foods may be a “once in a lifetime” part of the experience. When this happens, create your own buffet by ordering a large selection of foods to split among the family. This gives everyone a taste without loading anyone up with all the calories.
- Most hotels have a microwave and a refrigerator. Put half of your main meal in a take home container and save it for lunch or dinner the next day.