Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vacation Dilemmas

It is the season for getting away from your day-to-day. A time to take a plane or a road trip to a place you love to be or a place you've never been. You get to try new foods and old favorites. You escape your 9-5 and your regular routines go out the window.

How does this translate for those of us who are trying to change our lifestyle? It tends to end in a mini disaster- like it did for me this past week.

For me, I was traveling with someone who was on a limited budget. We ate at a lot of food courts and fast food places. How do you eat well while frequenting McDonald's or Taco John's and a carby continental buffet at the hotel? You may think it is impossible, but it isn't.

Before I left home, I downloaded a very useful app- Fast Food Calories.  This app is free on smart phones and allows you to check out the calories of your desired meal before ordering. There are tons of restaurants on this app, some I have never heard of or seen. There are fast food restaurants and some sit down chain restaurants like Olive Garden. The app also allows you to add up your calories if you happened to order more than one item- like in the case of combo meals.

Food Courts- there is always a healthy option, you just have to look. I went to a Taco John's for the first time on this trip and ordered a taco salad with chicken. You get a choice of grilled or crispy chicken. The grilled will have less calories, obviously- my choice. Next, it comes with ranch dressing. You can skip that and just use the salsa and sour cream that is already on it. I also used some mild hot sauce to substitute as dressing. As for the taco bowl- it looks harmless, but that is where most of the calories are coming from because it is a deep fried tortilla. You can skip it all together or do what I did and eat half! It isn't a taco salad without the chip, right?

Rest Stops- vending machines galore! Not likely to be anything healthy in there. You can opt for water or diet drinks. As for the snacks- some trail mix may be a good option, but check the serving size and the calories and maybe share with your road mate.
Road Snacks- we stopped at a local grocery store to grab a snack- the benefit of this is that it is cheap and you can get any healthy option you can think of. We stopped at Trader Joe's and I picked out a greek yogurt and a Kid's CLIF Bar. I also noshed on an apple that I grabbed from the continental breakfast.

Continental Buffet- I like to choose hotels that include breakfast, you save a few bucks and it is convenient. This hotel's buffet was a little disappointing. Talk about carb-laden! Waffles, donuts, bagels, cereals. Almost no fruit or protein in sight. I found a sad bowl of mealy apples as I left the room. I won't lie, I had some waffles!

But I also had some single serve oatmeal with peanut butter- this should help you feel full longer and it was the only bit of protein in sight.

While staying in hotels, try to stay away from these bad boys. I didn't...

Some hotels are equipped with a fitness room. If that is important to you, you may want to spend a few extra bucks in order to work off those extravagant vacation meals. Our hotel had one, I had every intention to use it, but I didn't. It was kind of a sad little room...
Only a treadmill and a bike. I knew that I would be walking a lot while out and about on the town, so I didn't see the point of using the treadmill. I also had a very sore foot. I could have used the bike, but... hey! I'm on vacation. :-P

When I got home, I dove right back into healthy eating... I made a spicy rice dish with chickpeas, turkey sausage, and lots of veggies. I was so yummy!

Hope some of these tips help out those of you who are headed for vacations and holiday!

What are your vacation tips for staying on track?


  1. Mmmmm... your spicy rice dish with chickpeas, turkey sausage and veggies looks great! Looks like you used curry? Mmmmm... can I have the recipe? Hope you had a fun vacation, mine is the first week of August.

  2. Cool app! I'm downloading it now.

    I agree with CJ, the spicy rice dish looks amazing!