How do you maintain your weight when you’re traveling, especially during the holiday season? It’s the toughest time of the year for anyone who’s trying to
maintain a diet or battling with an expanding waistline. Three experts — the author of The South Beach Diet, a nutritionist for Jenny Craig and a doctor — weigh in on these matters:
Talamini, RD, Chief Nutritionist and Program Director for Jenny Craig,
Inc., says that “Just because you’re on vacation or a business trip
doesn’t mean you need to leave your healthy eating and exercise habits
behind. All it takes is a little preplanning — probably less than you
spent organizing your trip — and a lot of motivation.”
1. Pack a few non-perishable, low-fat snacks to tide you over while traveling or in-between meetings.
2. Pick up some fresh fruits, vegetables and bottles of water from
the local market to carry with you or keep in your hotel room. Having
healthy snacks available will decrease your risk of turning to the
mini-bar or vending machines.
3. Walk to nearby restaurants for meals, rather than taking a cab or ordering room service.
4. Pack your exercise clothes and swimsuit so you can work out in
your hotel’s health club. If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness room,
find some stairs and go up and down as many flights as you can. Or ask
your hotel’s concierge to recommend a good walking path near or around
5. Use your time at the airport to get in some extra walking. After
checking in, power walk around the terminal rather than sitting at the
Dr. Arthur Agatston, MD, Miami-based cardiologist, Professor of
Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Board
Member the American Dietetic Association Foundation, and bestselling
author of The South Beach Diet, says that
“You can break your daily routine and still be sensible about food and fitness.”
Dr. Agatston suggests:
6. Look beyond the menu. Better restaurants accommodate requests for
lighter meals. Any food that can be fried or creamed can also be
steamed, baked or grilled. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side.
Pass the bread and order a salad or hearty soup appetizer.
7. Don’t miss meals. It’s challenging to eat enough (and eat well)
in this day of meal-less air travel. Pack portable, nutritious, and
satisfying foods such as nuts, fruit or chopped vegetables (great with
non-fat dressing for dipping).
8. Keep hydrated. Thirst is easily mistaken for hunger. Carry
bottled water and steer clear of sugary soft drinks, sweetened teas,
fruit juices, and alcohol.
9. Ban the mini bar. Arrive at your hotel room with a healthy snack
already in hand, such as non-fat yogurt, fruit, or a “to-go” grilled
chicken salad or wrap. Keep a handy stash of dried fruit, almonds, and
nutrition bars, for healthy snacking. Low-fat milk in sealed boxes
doesn’t need a fridge and a box of your favorite whole grain cereal
offers a fast and waist-friendly alternative to heavy (and expensive)
10. Portion Wisely. An appetizer or half-entree with a salad can be
a balanced and satisfying meal. Share an indulgent entree. Send half of
a heaping plate back for wrapping to go.
11. Reach for foods that satisfy hunger longer. Fiber-rich foods
such as apples, broccoli, and oatmeal help fill you up and then burn
off slowly. So does lean protein, low-fat cheese, broiled or baked
chicken, lean beef, steamed or sauteed shrimp, and legumes
And Dr. Susan Spear, SVP of Medical Affairs at Executive Health
Exams International, the leading preventive healthcare company in the
US. Dr. Spear provides travelers with the following guidelines for
staying healthy on the road:
12. If fast food is truly your only option, ordering the grilled
chicken sandwich (no mayo) is a safe bet. Many salad options are also
healthful- just make sure the chicken is grilled instead of fried, and
request a low-calorie or low-fat dressing.
13. Keep alcohol to a minimum (men should not exceed two drinks/day,
women should not exceed one drink/day). Overdoing it on alcohol not
only exacerbates the dehydration that flying can cause, but it is also
an easy way to add hundreds of empty calories to your daily intake.
14. If you’re on a flight providing meal service, request the vegetarian meal option.
15. Try “scheduling a meeting with yourself” to carve out time for
physical activity. Treat this meeting just like any other appointment
to which you must be committed. Use this to avoid getting distracted or
pulled away from your intent to exercise.