It’s no surprise that the number one New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to lose weight. Here’s the bottom line: diet and lifestyle changes often go out the window when you’re on the road. So the key is to learn how to adopt new travel behaviors that just might improve your wellness on the road and at home. Contributor Darra Stone shares 13 healthy travel behaviors to help you keep you lose (or maintain) weight, get active and become healthier.
1. Don’t Eat Out Every Meal
Starting your morning with a healthy breakfast is a simple way to save calories and money. If your hotel rooms comes with a fridge, use it! Don’t be afraid to ask the hotel to remove their minibar selection before you arrive so you have less temptation and more space for your yogurt, granola, fruits, and other healthy options. A whole grain bagel with reduced-fat spread and latte from Panera will run you about 600 calories. Choosing a Yoplait Greek 100, half a a cup of Quaker granola, half a banana, and a Starbuck’s Vanilla Lite drink will only cost you 460 calories.
2. Travel with Healthy Options
The best way to stay on track with your diet is to be prepared. Every meal doesn’t have to be an indulgence. Packing healthy foods gives lets you opt out of heavy restaurant. Throw a Corazona Blueberry Oatmeal Square in your bag for breakfast (180 calories), pack a Bumble Bee Tuna Fish Lunch-On-The-Go (420 calories), and try the Spice Hunter Curry Lentil Vegetarian Soup for dinner (190 calories). The best part is that they don’t require any refrigeration and the most you’ll need is hot water, which you can get from the coffee maker.
This is a no-brainer, but choose a hotel with a gym…and ask what equipment that gyms comes with, and whether there’s a fee to use it. Already have a gym membership? Ask it can be extended to where you’re traveling. Otherwise, turn on Youtube. Check out Frugal Fitness TV for a workout option that doesn’t require equipment.
4. Stay Hydrated
Not only is water a necessity, but it will help you from quenching your thirst with sugary substitutes. Bring your own reusable water bottles like Klean Kanteen or filtered bottles from Hydros. According to Dr. Brenda Davy and her fellow researchers, those who drink a glass of water before a meal consumer on average 75 fewer calories. That can equal a weight loss of almost 15 pounds over the course of the year. It also staves off dehydration, which even at 1 percent can dramatically lower the metabolism.
Instead of renting a car, use the public transportation system and stick with walking as much as possible. Just walking 15 minutes to and from public transportation will help you burn an additional 60 calories. Use HopStop for instructions on how to get from point A to point B, and filter the results by choosing to walk more and transfer less.
6. Watch your Beverages
It’s easy to spoil yourself with additional trips to coffeehouses or the bar. Limiting the amount of calorie-packed drinks you have and choosing lower calorie options can be better for your waistline and wallet. Coffee with skim milk and sugar equals around 70 calories whereas a caffe latte with nonfat milk from Starbucks is 130 calories. Reduce your alcoholic beverage intake by drinking a glass of sparkling water in between rounds. Choosing lower-calorie options like light beer or diet tonic or soda for mixers will also dramatically cut down your intake. Do your research and you might be surprised: Sierra Nevada Big Foot has a whopping 330 calories per 12 ounce bottle, but Guinness Stout has only 125 calories.
7. Take Extra Vitamins
During your travels you will come into contact with many people and many more germs. Taking extra vitamins or supplements can decrease your risk of picking up someone else’s disease. Some travelers swear by Emergen-C packets for an extra vitamin C boost. Others take extra magnesium to their boost immune system and metabolism.
8. Choose Active Tourism
Work out while discovering the place you are visiting. Many cities offer healthy ways to view landmarks. If you are traveling through Minneapolis, take a bike tour through the Grand Rounds, where there is more than 50 miles of interconnecting bike paths all through the city. Or if you find yourself in areas like Philadelphia or Boston, check City Running Tours for guided running tour options.
Just because you are eating out doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy. Most menus now offer lighter fare options and in some cities, they now show the calorie counts on menus. Look at the menu online before going out so you can make your decision ahead of time, instead of making an impulsive decision at the table. Consider ordering two appetizers instead of an app and a main course, and remember that steamed vegetables only contain 30 to 60 calories–just make sure to specify no butter or oil in the preparation.
10. Don’t forget your SPF
Protect the skin you’re in and don’t let sun concerns prevent you from a morning jog. If you’re worried about getting your bottle of sunscreen on the plane, try the dry option instead. Grandma Bea’s sunscreen bars provide all of the protection without any of the mess.
11. Get up and move!
If you have a layover, make sure you take advantage of the time to move around. Don’t be afraid to get up during the flight and stretch your legs. If you are on a road trip make frequent stops. Not only will you burn a few extra calories by taking short walks, you’ll also reduce the chances of blood clots. Stand up at least ever 20 minutes for a couple of minutes at a time.
Monitoring the amount of steps you take per day isn’t just a trend, it’s a great way to set and meet your weight loss goals while away from home. Devices like the Nike Fuel Band and the Jawbone Up track the number of steps you take, calories burned, sleep patterns and so much more. You don’t need a fancy gadget to monitor your steps though and a simple pedometer will do. Walking 10,000 steps a day for the average person roughly burns an additional pound per week. Those that wear a pedometer burn on average 100 calories more a day than those who do not wear one.
13. Research Healthier Options
Take time to learn what healthy options are around the place you are traveling and the airport you use to get there. You’ll find lighter and more interesting options for mealtimes. If you don’t get to do pre-trip planning, using an app like Healthy Dining Finder. This app lets you find the healthiest food in your area by the number of healthy options they have, their sodium levels, prices, and more.
For more healthy travel behaviors, check out:
- Travel Diet, Balancing Your Calorie Checkbook on the Road
- Protecting Yourself from Germ Season
- Bike Share Programs in the US
- DVT Awareness
By Darra Stone for PeterGreenberg.com
Feature image credit: BigStock