Managing your calorie intake while on vacation

Jul 10, 2010 at 5:38 p.m. ET

Vacation is rewarding, just as food is rewarding. Danger comes into play when vacation eating turns into vacation binging. It’s amazing how eating can become an unconscious act -- one that can cause us all to gain unwanted pounds with mindless munching and poor food choices. Here are some healthy tips to manage calorie intake while you enjoy a little R&R in paradise!

Woman sharing fruit on vacation

Watching Your calories while on Vacation

Mindless munching

Watch those snack attacks. I know, I know: When you open the fridge or pantry, the first thing you want to grab is the food and beverages that are heavy in flavor -- and typically, fat and calories -- such as greasy potato chips and cold beer. By replacing these unhealthy snacks with nutritious ones, however, your body will thank you when the vacation is over. So if you're looking for something salty, grab a handful of nuts. If you want something sweet, try healthy sugars like fruits -- dried or fresh. Keep these items where you would normally keep the junk food. That way, when you begin that mindless roaming, you will see the "good stuff," triggering some rational part of your brain.

Watch what you drink

Don't forget to monitor liquid calories, too. Sodas and alcohol have plenty, so make sure you keep an eye on what you're drinking when you're out by the pool, fishing or just sitting on the patio with friends. It's OK to indulge, but alternate a high-calorie drink or cocktail with a glass of water throughout the night.

Half and half rule

When you go out to dinner on vacation, order as nutritiously as you can. Instead of a fatty hamburger and fries, try a grilled chicken sandwich, salad or entree. Go with the half and half rule: Half of your plate should be protein, while the other half should be a fruit or vegetable and a healthy carbohydrate such as whole-grain or brown rice.

Satisfy your sweet tooth

When you want to wrap up your night with a sweet snack, skip the sundae or piece of cake; instead, snack on a few dark chocolate chips. They're sweet, relatively low in fat and will satisfy that craving -- especially paired with some fresh strawberries! You will thank yourself in the morning when you have to get that body into your swimsuit.


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