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Nutritionist Advice

5 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain on Vacation

Traveling can take a toll on your weight-loss goals: you're eating out and on the run, indulging in unfamiliar local cuisine and struggling to maintain your normal routine. Here are some nutritionist-tested tips to avoid packing on the pounds while on vacation.

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Whether you are traveling for work or fun, staying on track on the road can be challenging. Your schedule is different, you’re sleeping in a strange place, and food is either everywhere you look or nowhere to be found. Because travel is stressful enough without worrying about maintaining your healthy eating and exercise habits, here are 5 easy ways to enjoy your trip and stay on the right path!

1. Prepare Ahead of Time 

As cliché as it may sound, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. You probably know where you’re headed at least a week or two in advance (and where your hotel will be located), so look around for grocery stores with good produce sections, and screen local restaurant menus for healthy options. It’ll be much easier to not eat fast food for every meal when you know there’s a juice bar or grocery store a few blocks away.

2. Make Smart Swaps

Communicate your nutritional needs with your waiter or waitress when dining out. Asking for salad dressing on the side or substituting steamed vegetables for the usual sides like mashed potatoes are great ways to slash calories. Substitute marinara for creamy sauces. Always order grilled dishes (such as grilled vegetable fajitas) rather than fried dishes (onion rings). If every dish on the menu is fried, ask your waiter whether you can get get the same dish grilled. And don’t feel bad about requesting modifications! Most restaurants want to make their customers happy, and if enough patrons request lighter fare, the restaurant might make menu changes that benefit health-conscious diners in the future.

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3. Don’t Skip Meals 

Whether you’re in meetings all day or kicking back on the beach for a full afternoon, it’s easy to lose track of time and skip a meal while traveling. This might seem harmless, but skipping a meal can easily lead to consuming too many calories at your next meal. Keeping your hunger in check is key, so pack a few of your favorite snacks whenever you head out.

4. Stay Hydrated 

Traveling can dehydrate you. It can be tempting, especially when you’re taking long road trips or long flights to skip out on that extra sip of water to save yourself a trip to the bathroom. Don’t do it! It’s worth it to drink more water and stop more often (or use the airplane restroom) because it will help you curb your cravings for those unhealthy foods offered so frequently in airports and gas stations. When you don’t take in enough fluids, it’s easy to mistake dehydration for hunger.

5. Stay Active

Find a way to get in a workout. Most hotels have gyms or swimming pools, making it easy to squeeze in a workout before you head to a meeting or park it on your beach towel. If you prefer to get outside, explore a new park or beach during a walk or run. You can also bring workout DVDs or stream workouts to your mobile device to keep up with your exercise routine right in your hotel room. Sticking to your healthy eating and exercise plan isn’t easy when you’re traveling. But with planning and determination, you can hold the line on weight gain even away from home.