A Guest Post by Cole Millen

Going on vacation is a wonderful thing.  But going on vacation does not need to be synonymous with weight gain.  While it can be easy to let the experience overcome common sense regarding healthy eating, there are ways you can savor the smells and tastes of your vacation destination without putting on the pounds.

Want the Cause? Eating out!

The number one reason people gain weight on vacation is eating out at restaurants.  We are often shocked at just how calories are in our favorite restaurant meals (due to the salt, sugar and fat that unfortunately make them delicious), but this knowledge often disappears when travelling.  APPLEAfter all, vacations are about relaxing and changing your routine for a few days.

The desire to try new things or relax also has people order items they would never normally consider, like Eggs Benedict, fried catfish, or mud pie; three great items, but laden with rich sauces, grease, and sugar.  Increased consumption of alcohol is also common, and bad for the diet.

The trouble is when this attitude is repeated thrice a day.  In their normal routines at home very few people eat out three times a day, yet because of hotel living, eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the norm for most vacationers. That means the heightened calorie count from unique foods or liquor is tripled.

Moderation Is Key

Just like in the rest of life, moderation is necessary for healthy vacation eating.  It is not necessary to count every calorie or order nothing but baked chicken and brown rice while wistfully wishing for a burger.  Instead, choose one meal per day that you can indulge in without feeling guilty, and make sensible choices for the other two meals and snacks.  Perhaps that means you stop at a grocery store in town and buy healthy snacks or breakfast items, such as carrots or apples, to stock in your room instead of going out for pancakes and bacon every morning. When you head out to the restaurants, try and find places that have a wide variety of options which will better allow you to find something healthy.  Look for keywords on the menu that tell you that a certain food is low in fat or cholesterol. “Baked,” “heart healthy,” “fresh,” and “grilled” are all great words to hear. Words that are not so great include “fried,” “battered,” “endless” and “stuffed.” Stay away from value items as well, as they will give you a lot of food, which in turn makes portion control a lot harder.

Pick Your Hotel Well

If you truly want to avoid temptation, choose a hotel that is health conscious or in a health conscious area by doing a little research before hand. I have found that the best way to determine whether a hotel will fit your lifestyle is by reading traveler reviews. I was recently able to find a Las Vegas hotel with a vegetarian restaurant by taking the tips of some reviews. Check the availability of healthy alternatives at the hotel’s restaurant, and if there is a health food store nearby.  This can tell you a lot about the other restaurants in the vicinity, and provide peace of mind that you will have healthy options regardless.

These tips may seem simple and manageable but they are very often overlooked. If you make these necessary changes on your vacation you will come back looking just as fit and feeling just as great as when you left.