December brings travel plans for many of us – whether we’re visiting family this season or taking advantage of time off from work But with a little planning and organization, you can stay on track with eating right and exercising.
- Pack healthy snacks. On long car trips, take a cooler loaded with healthy snacks such as hummus and carrots, sliced apples and peanut butter, and string cheese with whole-grain crackers. No cooler? Stock pretzels, nuts, and home-made trail mix.
- Lighten up fast food. You can eat at convenient fast-food restaurants without blowing your diet. Choose grilled chicken, vegetables, and salads, but without lots of cheese and dressing. Skip fried foods, bacon, cheese, and heavy sauces.
- Exercise. On long car trips, use rest-stop breaks to take walks, run laps, play tag, or do stretches or push-ups. On plane trips, explore the airport terminal during wait time. At your destination, take advantage of hotel pools and gyms, exercise in your room each day, or explore your new surroundings on foot.
- Take control. Don’t be afraid to ask for food to be prepared the way you want it in a restaurant. Order dressings and sauces on the side, ask for half portions, or split a full one. Make smart substitutions, such as vegetables or salad for fries. And shop at the supermarket for some of your meals. Many supermarkets sell low-fat meal options such as boxed salads and rotisserie chickens.
- Party with a plan. If your plans involve parties or family celebrations, snack on healthy foods before you go, so you’re not starving when you get to the event. When you do arrive, drink a glass of water and mingle with the other guests before heading for the food. Fill most of your plate with fruits and vegetables, leaving just a small space for that special treat. Then, turn your back to the food table and focus on having fun, not having food.
Eating well and remaining active can lower the risk for conditions such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.