Today, I’m collaborating with Kendra Thornton (@KendraThornton) to offer you tips on staying fit while on vacation. With the summer months just around the corner, we thought it would be helpful to give you some ideas to not lose your fitness level when traveling. While being on the road sometimes poses some difficulty because you are out of your norm, it is possible to keep up with exercising and eating right.
Kids can make it difficult to eat right. That’s what I always though, but really it became easier when I started eating healthier food. My kids followed along for the most part, but it can still be pretty difficult to get them to eat spinach. I’ve found the best way to stay healthy when traveling is by planning out what I’m going to eat and also including a few activities where I know I’ll get all of the exercise that I need to stay in shape. Whether I’m at home or on vacation, I have a few tips that I’ve developed that I think can help out anyone struggling with their diet this summer break.
What to Eat When Traveling
I think one of the worst experiences is to look for dinner with your family and find that everything is too expensive or too commercial. My favorite restaurants are always locally owned and provide ingredients from local farmers. Sometimes these are also organic, which is a bigger bonus because I’d rather not eat food with pesticides. Eating vegetables is always better knowing that it’s incredibly fresh and locally grown.
How to Avoid Buffet Foods
Buffets are probably the biggest temptation on vacation. They offer a great value for families because you can fill your plate up multiple times. However, I’ve learned that this can be bad for anyone’s health, and it certainly didn’t do me any favors. When my family wants to go to the buffet, I only fill my plate up once and try to avoid some of the richer foods. I know that I can treat myself, but I also want to balance it out with a lighter meal the next day.
Always Drink Water
I try to always bring a lot of water with us when we travel. It can be difficult to stop on the highway especially when you’re trying to arrive for a reservation at a hotel. That’s why I always pack water beforehand or pick up a case once we’ve reached out destination. It’s just cheaper this way.
Pick Health-Friendly Hotels
Hotels have changed their attitudes towards food and working out. A number of hotels are providing healthier menus, organic meals and even have fitness equipment to make it easy to exercise whenever you want on vacation. I always try to pick these hotels first whenever I go anywhere with my family.
My family and I always love going on vacations, however we try not to totally abandon our healthy eating habits when we’re away from home. For our upcoming trip to Orlando, I even booked a hotel with a quality gym in case of rain and for convenience. This can be a difficult process at times as there are so many hotels in Orlando. You can always check out sites like Gogobot as these types of sites make it easier to learn about what hotel is right for you.
Plan vacations around a race
I love planning a vacation around a race. What better way to enjoy a new area than to run around and see the cool sights? Having locals cheer you on as you go is always a fun incentive as well. My family and I have a beach trip planned soon. We knew we wanted to go to a beach and I looked for a race and found out there is a half marathon on the weekend that works for us at a beach 3 hours from our house. I thought what better way to experience the beach and to get a good workout in than to sign up to run the half marathon while we are there?
Take a cooler full of healthy snacks
Usually convenience store snacks are full of unhealthy ingredients and also cost much more than pre-made snacks from home. Every time my family travels, we take along two small coolers. One with ice in it to keep the necessary foods chilled, and the other for regular snacks. Because we have two young girls, they are constantly asking for something to eat. We always bring along homemade wheat bread (pre-sliced) with peanut butter, fruits and veggies already cut up and other organic snacks that I had previously had on hand. This helps make the trip go by much quicker (less stops), and also we are able to eat lunch in the car instead of stop for fast food which as we all know can be very full of sodium and not so healthy foods.
Use rest stops or layovers for moving
When you stop to get gas during a long trip, take advantage and get moving! I love to get the girls out while my husband fills up the car at the pump. We usually run a few laps around the buildings on the sidewalks or run on a near by patch of grass. This gets the blood flowing and helps with all that pent up energy. The same works while flying. If you have a layover and time to kill, take that time to walk around. Get a good 20-30 minute walk in. It will help pass the time and burn some calories while you’re at it.
Always take your running shoes along
No matter what trip we have planned, I always take my running shoes along. I don’t necessarily get a run in every day (although, I try to as much as I can!) but it’s always good to walk as much as possible. If you are staying within a city, you can usually walk to most of places which allows you to see the sights better than if you were driving by them. My husband and I have taken some pretty cools trips and logged in 8-10 miles a day sometimes just by walking everywhere. This saves you on taxi cab prices and also you get a good workout in. If you have small kids that won’t be able to talk everywhere, take along an Ergo or a Kelty hiking backpack to carry them in.
Eat off the lighter menu
While eating out on vacation, try to order off of their healthier menu. If these options aren’t marked clearly, ask if they have a separate healthier menu or what options are healthier than others. Try to order grilled instead of fried and salads instead of pasta. These options will be much healthier for you and won’t add those extra vacation pounds. And, always order water!! Any other drink adds calories. If you want a little extra flavor, get a slice of lemon with your water.
Stay at hotels that include breakfast
This is a must for our family. We usually look for a Hampton Inn. They have great service and also have a rewards system you can use. I highly recommend them. You know you will get a great hot breakfast in the morning, which saves our family quite a bit of money and also you can choose healthier options than if you went out to eat at a restaurant.
Also, try to get a suite if possible that has a kitchenette. This allows you to cook (minimally) and keep snacks and food in a refrigerator (such as yogurt, apples, left over food, lunch meats, etc) that you can grab for a quick lunch. Our rule of thumb is to eat breakfast and lunch at the hotel (or from our cooler while we are out) and eat at a restaurant for dinner. This allows us to save money and eat much healthier.
Also, every Hampton Inn I have been to has a pool and a nice workout room. Take advantage of those on down time.
We hope these tips help to keep you on track!