With the kids soon-to-be out of school, vacation days to use up, and warm weather ahead, most of us likely have some vacation plans set for the summer. Even though vacation may throw off routines, it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to make healthy choices. Whether headed camping, to the beach, or on a road trip, here are a few tips to stay healthy this summer.
- It is inevitable that vacationing or road trips are synonymous with fast food or eating out. When doing so, try to share portions with a friend or family member, save half for later, or order a “child-size” meal to help control portions.
- Pack shelf-stable items such as trail mix, nuts, apples, bananas, granola bars, raisins, whole-wheat crackers, popcorn, peanut butter sandwiches, or vegetables for healthy snack options while on the way to your destination.
- If you plan to travel with items that need to be kept cool, make sure to keep them at 40 degrees to keep food from spoiling. The best way to do this is make sure you keep plenty of ice stocked in the cooler and replenish as needed. Also, keeping the cooler in cool places such as the shade or in the vehicle instead of the trunk can help.
- Grilling can be a healthy and easy way to enjoy foods however try to stick to items with fewer calories and fat such as turkey dogs instead of regular or cheese hot dogs, burgers made from the leanest meat possible or turkey burgers. Grilled fish is a great option as well or try kabobs with vegetables to keep fiber intake up.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Most people need on average about 8-8 ounce glasses of water per day however these needs can increase the longer one is out in the sun. Water is the best option to stay hydrated however if water is “boring”, try adding a low- or zero-calorie flavoring or add fresh fruit or veggies to infuse flavor. Prepackaged 100% fruit juice can be another good option.
- Try to stick to set meal or snack times to avoid grazing all day long; the calories can add up quicker this way than just with regular meal times.
- Vacation is the perfect time to walk! Whether camping, at the beach, or at a tropical destination, walking is the easiest way to get exercise. Go for a walk sightseeing or in the sand on the beach. Taking a bike ride or swimming are also great ways to incorporate exercise.
- Do not let perishable foods sit out longer than 2 hours. If unsure how long something has set out, err on the side of caution and throw it out as this increases the risk of getting a foodborne illness.
- Watch alcohol intake as the calories can add up quickly. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and are considered “empty” calories as they do not help nourish our bodies. Consuming alcohol usually increases to risk of overeating or making poor food choices as well.
- Last but not least, make sure to sanitize or wash hands before and after eating. If a restroom is unavailable, pack moist towelettes or use hand sanitizer instead.
Summer is a great time of the year for vacation but does not necessarily mean we have to throw our usual healthy eating and exercise habits out the car door on the way to our destination. By following these tips you can stay safe, healthy, and have a happy summer.