How do you keep the pounds off when you’re on the road? Traveling is arguably one of the most difficult times for anyone who’s trying to maintain a diet or simply continue the fight with a waistline that wants to expand. So I’ve gathered 15 tips from three experts on the best ways to win the battle of the bulge when you’re on the road.

(Photo courtesy of Continental Airlines)

Lisa 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.”

Talamini recommends:

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 the hotel.

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 gate.

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) hotel breakfasts.

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.

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