Summer Travel- Keeping It Healthy & Fun!
By Tara Snow, RD, LD, GAND State Media Representative
Summer is that much anticipated time of year where we break out the shorts and flip flops, and hit the road! It is a time of year when our clients are also traveling, and whether taking a plane, train, or automobile, it is easy to get sidetracked during the busy summer travel months. Be sure to think ahead when talking to your clients.
Provide them with the encouragement and tools to stay on course regarding their personal health goals.
No matter where travels takes us, a little planning from the start can be a huge benefit for staying on track! It may be tempting for our clients to let “everything go” while on vacation. Even a few days of splurging could have negative effects on not only the waistline, but also incur that feeling of guilt when returning home! A few tips to keep in mind and share with your clients:
Stick to the routine- Plan out your meals and snacks for the day as much as possible so that your vacation is not an excuse for an all-day feeding frenzy.
• Be mindful of portion control. While measuring cups are not likely to be packed in your overnight bags, MyPlate is still a good rule of thumb to focus on healthier food portions.
• Convenience stores, airports, and fast food establishments have come a long way in providing more options of fruits and vegetables so take advantage and choose those first!
• Research restaurants along the route and at your destination so that you can choose healthy meals or snacks. Check out HealthyDiningFinder.com to research dietitian-recommended menu options from restaurants nationwide.
• Include treats in your vacation, but make sure to prioritize the ones that are worth it! Tasting local cuisines can be a very enjoyable part of travel, as long as we do not over-indulge on everything that presents the opportunity.
Pack your own snacks/lunches. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, nut butters, whole-grain crackers, homemade trail mix, raw veggies, or fruit. Fresh produce is abundant during the summer months and travels well!
• Measure out snacks into single-servings-sized containers or bags.
• Pack a small cooler with ice and your favorite perishable items and/or beverages.
• Don’t forget to hydrate! Taking bottled water along with you reduces the temptation to grab a soda or other sugary beverages. Reusable water bottles are a great option as they can be refilled most anywhere- airports, hotel fitness centers, amusement parks, etc.
Stay active and don’t forget the sunscreen. There is no better way to experience a new location than by walking! No gym necessary.
• Try renting bikes for the family to explore your vacation destination.
• Swimming in a pool, lake, or ocean is also a great way to burn calories and stay active.
Lastly, one of the most popular and simplest ways to manage your health and wellness expectations while traveling is through a nutrition-related app. Included in every issue of the Food & Nutrition Magazine, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a section called “Click”. It provides reviews of common nutrition-related apps, which are great for dietitians and our clients! A few of my favorites in supporting a busy travel schedule are:
• Lose It! Tracks food, exercise, weight and a variety of nutrients.
• Locate Special Diet. Helps find gluten-free, organic, local, paleo, vegan and vegetarian-friendly food and drink options.
• Sworkit. Allows you to customize and play personalized video workout. Choose from strength, cardio, yoga or stretching and set allotted time.
Check out additional app reviews at FoodandNutrition.org/Nutrition-Apps.
- Tara Snow, RDN, LD is the State Media Spokesperson for the Georgia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and is the Corporate Health & Wellness Manager for Morrison Healthcare.