Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Post: Eating Healthy on Vacation

I was recently contacted by reader Cole asking if I was interested in featuring his article about eating healthy while on vacation. I said 'yes' even though I've turned down a couple of other guest post requests recently mainly because I personally needed a reminder that going on vacation is not a free pass to eat whatever I want. I know when I am not careful, I will return from a vacation feeling bloated and lethargic for days. Don't get me wrong, vacations are meant for enjoying oneself and exploring new foods and places but with a little bit of preparation you can have your vacation and be healthy too!  

Eating Healthy on Vacation: How Not to Break Your Diet at the Hotel
You've survived the airport madness and the flight. You did a great job. You packed healthy snacks, you walked all over the terminal and you avoided the overpriced comfort food enticing you from every corner. You've also spent the better part of a day traveling, dealing with various hassles and too many annoying people. You're exhausted, and you're probably hungry. Lunch consisted of nuts and granola bars. Maybe your flight was late or delayed, so you've missed dinner. Now you've arrived at diet buster zone number two: the hotel.
Most hotels have gotten smart over the years. They understand that the vast majority of visitors are exhausted and hungry. Hotels have answered this need by providing full-service dining establishments in the hotel itself. Of course, there is also room service and other amenities. These establishments are usually open very late, and some may even operate room service on a 24-hour schedule. They make it as easy and tempting as possible to get healthy food, and it's not nearly as overpriced as the airport was.
Your first defense against that arrival craving is to be prepared. The hotel counts on you being too worn out to leave the hotel and get healthy alternatives at a nearby grocery store. The bed and room service call button can be irresistible. Don't let it get that far. Stop at the store to pickup some food for your stay right after you leave the airport. Buy at least get enough for dinner and snacking. Your other meals may already be planned out on a vacation, and your hotel probably serves free breakfast. Don't pay for what you don't have to. You're just investing in diet protection here. Nine times out of ten your hotel will have a mini fridge and microwave in the room. You can feel free to buy yogurt and other healthy snacks that will need refrigeration. Normally you will want to avoid microwave foods, but these can be desperate times, and not everything microwavable is terrible. Some frozen meals, like Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine, are okay in a pinch if you want something that actually feels like a meal. Just don't go overboard. Instant soups or oatmeal are also great choices for hot food. They can easily be prepared with a microwave or coffeemaker to heat the water.
It is extremely important that you find the hotel that appropriately meets your needs for you to maintain your healthy lifestyle. Do a little research to ensure that all the necessary amenities are offered at your hotel. I recently took a trip out west and found a great site that listed reviews for hotels in Las Vegas regarding not only all of their amenities but also regarding restaurants nearby! This allowed me to not only have a great and healthy stay in my hotel but to also plan out where I can eat both nutritiously and deliciously.
Higher-class hotels may also be equipped with a minibar in the room. These are usually locked to prevent minors from accessing them. The hotel will relinquish a key to an adult guest. Alcohol may not seem all that heavy, but drinking calories is one of the surest ways to bust your diet. Minibars are also equipped with non-alcoholic sugary drinks and sodas. These are even worse. Your best defense here is to just not get the key. You can't succumb to the temptation of the door is still locked up.
Just because you are in a hotel doesn't mean you are barred from cooking. A small crock-pot can be saving grace in the hotel room, especially for longer stays. A crock-pot allows you to prepare hot and wholesome rice, chicken or vegetable dishes with ease and little hassle. Simply load up the pot before you leave for the day and return to a ready meal. Well-prepared hotel guests are healthier and happier.

No comments: