5 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

As the holiday season approaches, you may be traveling to visit family and friends, or even jetting off to enjoy a winter getaway. But that doesn’t mean your daily routine of eating nutritious meals and snacks and exercising should take a break too! When you contemplate the sugary, starchy, high-fat foods at the airport, train station, or roadside stop, the unlimited food and drinks on cruises and at all-inclusive resorts, along with the vacation-time luxury of sleeping in and lounging around for hours at a time, it may seem almost impossible to stick to your healthy habits. We feel for you! Fortunately, with some advance planning and preparation, you can stay on track with your weight-loss goals and still enjoy your getaway. Before you venture off, add these tips to your travel checklist.

  1. Fuel up on a healthy meal before you leave. If you eat a wholesome and satisfying meal before you start your trip, you’ll be less tempted to buy a bag of potato chips or a candy bar at the airport or hit up a drive-thru window for a burger and fries. If you’re traveling in the morning, prepare a hearty on-the-go breakfast, like our Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Cups (Phase 1), which are a healthy alternative to the “egg muffin” sandwiches you can find at fast-food restaurants. If you’re leaving in the afternoon or evening, enjoy a salad or sandwich at home, like this California Turkey Salad with Fresh Tomato-Lime Dressing (Phase 1) or this Poached Chicken Sandwich with Lemon-Caper Mayo (Phase 2).


  2. Pack South Beach Diet-friendly foods. As much fun as it is to travel, getting from place to place can sometimes be a drag. A tiring or stressful journey could also set off your emotional eating triggers and cause you to reach for a triple-scoop ice cream cone or a sugary piña colada against your better judgment. If you expect to be traveling for long periods of time, be sure to bring your own food, or order a specialty meal, like a vegetarian dinner, a fruit and cheese plate, or hummus and crackers on the plane if it’s available (you may have to preorder at the time you make your reservation, and it may be expensive). If you’re taking a car or train trip, pack a cooler with a South Beach Diet-friendly lunch and snacks to eat along the way. No time to prepare a meal or snack? No worries — stock up on South Beach Diet Meal, 100-Calorie Snack, or Protein Fit Cereal Bars to have on hand.


  3. Don’t skip meals and snacks. It’s no big surprise that traveling can easily play havoc with your eating plan, but it’s important to stay on schedule and not miss any of your meals or snacks. Skipping a meal or snack can leave you hungry and trigger cravings for sugary and starchy carbs. Again, pack foods like whole-wheat crackers, reduced-fat cheese, baby carrots, celery sticks, fat-free or low-fat yogurt, nuts, and perhaps some lean reduced-sodium ham or turkey slices, to keep your blood-sugar levels balanced and stave off hunger.


  4. Make time to exercise. Whether you’re on a road trip, hanging poolside, or cruising in the Caribbean, be sure to squeeze in a workout when you can. Many major hotels and motel chains now have gyms equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines, weights, and/or a pool. Cruiselines offer workout rooms and classes and often a walking track on an upper deck as well. If there are no gym facilities where you’re vacationing, simply head outside and take a walk around the neighborhood, if it’s safe. You can also climb the hotel stairs or exercise in your room (just bring portable exercise bands or your own workout DVDs).


  5. Be choosy when dining out. If there’s a time to be picky with your meals, it’s when you’re on vacation. There are plenty of restaurants that serve South Beach Diet–friendly meals. When ordering, skip the bread basket, ask to have salad dressings and sauces on the side, opt for grilled, sautéed, or baked items over fried foods; substitute steamed vegetables for white potatoes or white rice; and ask if the chef would be willing to prepare your meal without butter, using extra-virgin olive oil instead. On Phase 2, you can enjoy your meal with a glass of red or white wine. You can also enjoy a light beer or sugar-free cocktail made with flavored waters, club soda, seltzer, or diet tonic water. Apply these same tips when ordering room service. And do enjoy dessert — you’re on vacation after all! Use our Three-Bite Rule (take three bites of a decadent dessert and share the rest with your table mates). You’ll come home as trim and fit as when you left.

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