Eating Healthy while on Vacation
by Cole Millen (visiting writer)
Eating in a healthy way while on vacation may prove to be quite a challenge for some people. This is especially true if you are visiting an area of the country or world that tends to favor very rich, high calorie dishes. For example, when you are sampling the local cuisine, eating a grilled fish dish at a restaurant off of the coast of Maine will net a much lower calorie count than Texas barbecue ribs with a full side of fries. The same is true when you are travelling internationally. Eating a rich, gravy-laden pot roast in England will be much higher in calories and fat than a grilled chicken dish with grape leaves and fresh vegetables in Greece.
If you do choose to travel to a destination that favors rich foods, bringing and/or buying some staple items when you arrive is critical to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet while you are on vacation. When you arrive at your hotel, the very first step to maintaining a healthy diet is to ask the desk clerk to lock the minibar in your hotel room, so that you are not tempted to snack on high calorie foods. Also, if the hotel offers a continental breakfast, making sure to eat a healthy breakfast of fruit, high fiber cereal or oatmeal will nourish you for the day ahead and prevent binges later in the day.
When you arrive at your hotel, it is also helpful to ask the concierge if he or she knows where the nearest health food store is located and to have a small refrigerator placed in your room. If you go and stock up on healthy snack and meal items as soon as you arrive at your hotel, you are more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan while you are on vacation. Additionally, bringing a small crockpot to the hotel with you will enable you to cook some simple, nutritious meals.
A few meals that are quite easy to prepare in a crockpot are chicken, mushrooms and rice, jambalaya and a variety of soups. Bringing a few staple items with you to the hotel will also help to offset food cravings. Whole wheat bread, nuts, energy bars, peanut butter, fruit and vegetables all fit this bill. Hard boiled eggs are also very transportable and lovely to eat for breakfast with a croissant and a piece of fresh fruit. Most hotels will offer rooms with microwave ovens, which will further enhance your in-room cooking options.
It is very important that prior to booking your vacation you do a little research to ensure that the hotels offer these amenities that are so helpful in your healthy lifestyle. I have found that the best way to do this is to look up reviews regarding the hotels in the area that you are staying. Consumer reviews tend to give you the best insight regarding these types of things because they are unbiased facts based on personal experiences. I recently took a trip west and found a great site that listed the top hotels in Las Vegas and it offered reviews regarding all the amenities, restaurants, and even things to do. This made it so much easier to plan ahead and maintain a healthy week.
When you are ready to go out for dinner, asking the hotel concierge for recommendations of local restaurants that specialize in regional cuisine will often steer you in the direction of a healthy, freshly prepared meal. Chain restaurants that advertise family-size portions, county-style and so on will usually be very high in calories and fat. If you stick to local restaurants that are recommended to you by the hotel staff, you will usually be delighted with a wonderful meal that showcases local cuisine in a healthy way. Of course, ordering the entrees that are prepared by grilling or baking will ensure the meals you are eating are healthy and nourishing, without all of the extra fat and calories.
If you can follow these simple yet strategic steps, you will find yourself having a blast on your vacation and ensuring that you feel like a blast as well.
Visiting author Cole Millen