Staying on a diet is hard. Staying on a diet while traveling can be even more difficult. By using various tricks and strategies, a traveler can remain faithful to a diet even if the trip includes all-you-can-eat dining options. With some simple planning, anyone can travel and be confident their nutritional plans will not be derailed.
Diets and weight management programs often concentrate on reducing the amount of daily calories consumed and increasing the amount of physical activity performed. Travel plans that include several hours daily of sitting or limited movement can play havoc with a diet plan. To keep on track, dieters will need to eat fewer calories during these periods of minimal activity.
If traveling for several hours by plane, avoid packing sugary, high fat snacks like chocolate bars or cookies. Choose snacks like bags of almonds and dried fruit. For those long road trips, avoid grabbing candy, chips and donuts during your fuel stops. If the gas station candy counter is too tempting, purchase sugar-free mints and a pack of sugar-free gum. Pack plenty of healthy snacks for the car including apples, homemade trail mix, granola and low-salt pretzels.
When stopping at a fast food restaurant, choose healthier sides like apple slices, yogurt or baked potatoes. Substitute diet soda for a shake and omit the cheese on your burger. Many fast food and sit-down restaurants post their nutritional information online. Before traveling, research some of your favorite or most likely dining stops and learn which menu selections will be diet-friendly.
Most travelers find themselves dining out several times during a typical one-week trip. Diets can be followed even when dining out. If tracking calories is a mainstay of your diet plan, consider investing in a calorie counter book or app for your cell phone. A fast food calorie counter app can be purchased for about $5 with a database of more than 40 major fast food restaurants and about 4,700 food items. For travelers who own a Blackberry phone, a free calorie counter app is available at FatSecret.com.
If staying with family or friends, let them know beforehand about your diet and ask for their support and understanding during your stay. Offer to shop for your own diet-friendly foods and even prepare a healthy meal for the entire household to show your appreciation for their hospitality.
Travelers that stay at hotels or resorts face different challenges. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfasts that do include several diet-friendly options. Avoid the biscuits and gravy and choose a yogurt and low-fat muffin. Skip the Belgium waffles, donuts and pastries. Choose a bowl of hot oatmeal and fresh fruit or a high-fiber cereal and serving of scrambled eggs.
Dieters can even enjoy the delectable cuisine offered on a cruise by simply making a few smart choices. Take advantage of the high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables first and then choose lean proteins like grilled chicken and salmon. Avoid fried foods, heavy gravies or cream sauces. If the temptations are too great, indulge but in moderation. If you cannot resist the double chocolate layer cake, then skip the four-cheese lasagna. It is important to remember that when dieting, on the road or at home, moderation is the key to success.
To continue to keep a diet on track when traveling, limit alcohol intake and drink plenty of water. The average bottle of beer contains about 102 calories, a margarita has about 150 calories and an apple martini has as many as 230. Limiting your cocktails can save you hundreds of calories per day. If that second apple martini is your great desire, make sure to get active and burn away those extra calories. Go dancing, take a long stroll along the beach, walk instead of taking a taxi or take the stairs instead of the elevator to your hotel room.
Incorporating physical activity into your day during a trip will burn calories allowing a dieter to feel good about their efforts. If the hotel or resort has a fitness room, spend at least 30 minutes a day using the treadmill or other equipment. Swim in the hotel pool or ocean if possible. Take daily walks. Visit parks and museums or go play miniature golf. Even on a cruise ship, there are many activities available for all physical levels. Relaxing on a trip is important but being a complete coach or lounge chair lump all week is a sure way to sabotage any diet plan.
Most importantly, dieters should not beat themselves up if they fall off track when traveling. Never throw in the towel and declare a diet over because of one indulgence. Remember that tomorrow is a new day and you can and will get back on track.