By Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
Over the river and through the woods or wherever else you plan to go this year, traveling for the holidays can throw a wrench into your healthy lifestyle efforts. From impulse snack buys to big sit-down dinners, it is true many Americans gain about a pound each holiday season that sticks and accumulates over the years. Despite hectic holiday travel, you can avoid that pound or more by following a few easy steps.
Packing healthy snacks is always a smart decision when you are on the go. If there is a chance you may get stuck in an airport or in traffic, plan ahead to stave off your hunger with an easy-to-pack snack like trail mix, a protein bar, fresh fruit, a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread, or any other non-perishable snack. With nutritious, tasty options at your fingertips, you will not be as tempted by less-than-ideal snacks for sale and will be less likely to show up at your destination ravenous, ready to overeat. In addition, waiting many hours between meals can contribute to a slower metabolism. So if you think you should skip the snack and save the calories for later, think again.
Dine Out Smart
During the holidays, many of us may find ourselves at big, pre-planned dinners and cocktail parties with family and friends that offer a lot of temptations but not a lot of options. Therefore, when do you have a choice for your meal when dining out, be mindful of what you eat. To hold yourself accountable, use the CalorieCount.com app to plan your meal, log your intake by voice, and discover nutrition information for any restaurant dish. Stick to meals that are balanced with complex carbohydrates, lean protein and heart-healthy fats so that you feel satisfied and not desperate for dessert at the next pit stop.
While you are on the move this holiday season, consider adding some exercise into the mix. Holiday travel workouts don’t have to be as intense as the ones you do at home, but anything you do – from taking a walk post-dinner to having a personal dance party in your hotel room – counts. Nowadays, you can download workouts such as strength training and yoga that can be done anywhere using your MP3 player or Smartphone. And remember, getting some exercise during this time is not only good for your body, it can also help burn stress and ease your mind from the holiday travel mayhem.
Whether traveling by automobile, train, plane, or one-horse-open-sleigh this year, how do you plan to make healthy choices on the go?