How to Stay Healthy for Holiday Travel

November 20, 2013

Family at the dinner table at the Thanksgiving day.

Warning: Not My Family

If you’re planning on getting out of town this holiday season and don’t want to fall victim to unhealthy choices and unplanned weight gain, check out these tips to stay the course this holiday season!

Usually, I’m in town for the holidays because most of my family is right here in New York.  It makes it a bit easier to handle the holiday temptation, because after 1 day it’s back to reality.  But this year we are actually headed overseas for 9 days which include the mega holiday Thanskgivikah!  We’ll be out of our element for the whole time.  I definitely don’t want to derail all my progress for 2013, so I wanted to come up with some tips for those of us who want to stay the course during this holiday season.

                       How to Feel Good and Choose Wisely This Holiday Season

1)      Prepare food ahead of time – It’s not the sexiest tip in the world, but it works!  Plan snacks for the car like trail mix or sliced veggies.  I love sliced bell peppers with hummus.  If you have a small cooler bag, fill it up with snacks so that you don’t have the urge to stop at the rest area quite as often.  I use my cooler bag all the time for car trips because we can also keep our water bottles chilled.  But it’s also great for packing snacks that are elevated beyond pretzels and chips.  Take the time, you will be glad you did when you don’t have cheesy powder all over your hands from Cheetos.

2)      Avoid the “Meal Deal” – You may be forced to stop at a rest area if your trip is long enough and if you’re flying you’ll definitely be faced with fast food in the airport.  Since I’m one of the dozen people on the planet who don’t like French fries, I usually avoid the “meal deal” at fast food restaurants naturally.  I encourage you to do the same.  Get the sandwich of your choice and then opt for water or seltzer and a side salad.  Wendy’s has some of the best side salads that I’ve tasted, but they are becoming ubiquitous in the fast food world to offer you more healthy options.  By steering clear of the “soda, burger, fries” routine, you’ll feel lighter and be happy you got in a serving of vegetables from your side salad.

3)      Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated is key to feeling satisfied.  If you are hydrated, you are less likely to overeat.  Sometimes our body is thirsty but we interpret that as hunger and eat calories we don’t need.  Especially if you are flying, make sure to drink water as often as you can.  Airplanes are known for dehydrating us both inside and out (ladies may want to put on extra moisturizer), so plan accordingly.  Bring your reusable water bottles and don’t be afraid to ask for refills.  Having your own water bottles on hand is also eco-friendly and cost-friendly (no more paying for bottled water!).

4)      Get Active! – If getting to the gym isn’t in the cards while you’re away consider adding in some activities that get you up and moving.  Take a walk, go hiking, or play hide and go seek with the kids.  Any activity that gets you off the couch will help you feel better once it’s time to sit down and eat that third serving of stuffing.  If you can get to the gym, do it!  Bring sneakers and go for a new class.  I’m planning to go to a Bikram yoga class while I’m out of town to see how they do it overseas as part of my “touristy activities”.  Last but not least, cue up any number of the DIY workouts on you tube and do it in your hotel room or host’s basement.  Even 10 minutes a day will be worth it.  Remember working out not only burns calories, but it also de-stressed you and raises your endorphin levels which might be just what the doctor ordered if your family is like the family in any holiday movie (read: crazy but lovable).

5)      Cook When You Can – If you’re at a family member’s house for the holidays maybe they’d be happy to turn over the kitchen responsibilities to you for 1 or 2 meals.  Cook up meals that you can easily double, like Turkey Chili, so you can have plenty of leftovers in the fridge.  This way you can avoid eating out for 3 meals a day and have some healthy meals among the pumpkin pie ala mode.  Just be prepared to also tackle the clean up!

Enjoy your holiday season!

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