By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., The EatingWell Diet (2007)
One of the pleasures (and perils) of travel is depending on your meals being prepared by someone else, and a pretty unavoidable change in your exercise routine. As always, it helps to plan ahead (and never be without a good pair of walking shoes).
1. Incorporate activity into your trip. Maybe your idea of a great vacation is lying on a beach for a week, but even that plan can accommodate a little movement, as long as it’s fun. The next time you plan a vacation or business trip, think about how you can work in some pleasurable activity. Book a walking or bike tour to introduce you to your destination—or use your vacation to try a new sport you’ve always wondered about, like sea kayaking. Walk the beach each morning and/or evening or amble downtown from your hotel, rather than taking a taxi. Choose entertainment options that keep you moving, like playing mini golf or bowling rather than watching a movie.
2. Choose the hotel. Seek out hotels that have health clubs or safe walking routes nearby; call ahead to make sure the “fitness room” isn’t just a few ancient exercise bikes. (Pack a jump rope just in case.) If your budget allows, ask for a room with a mini fridge and/or microwave, so you can have some of your meals en suite instead of depending on restaurants or room service. The front-desk staff can point you to the nearest grocery store.
3. If you’re driving, pack a picnic lunch or dinner to eat at a rest stop (save the roadside restaurants for coffee and bathroom stops). For longer trips, take a cooler and stock it with meal-ready nutritious staples—carrots and celery sticks, fresh fruit, bottled water, string cheese, whole-grain crackers. Go over the route ahead of time and plan stopping points for meals: surf the Internet to locate chain restaurants that have healthy menu options. Further browsing can locate alternative road-food sources, like farmers’ markets and grocery stores.
4. On planes, trains and buses, tuck emergency rations in your carry-on bag, if regulations permit, in case of layovers or delays. Use layover/delay time to your advantage: walk around the airport, train or bus station (check your carry-on bag in a locker, if you need to); you might just find an out-of-the-way eatery with healthier offerings that won’t blow your calorie budget. But even in the most Spartan of venues you can probably scare up something decent to eat.