Have a Diet-Friendly Fourth: 10 Healthy Travel Tips to Keep You on Track!

The Fourth of July is finally here, and it is estimated that 40 million Americans have travel plans this weekend. If you’re among the many Americans getting away this holiday, you’re likely looking forward to kicking back, relaxing with a drink or two, and indulging a little more than you typically do (as you should!). But while relaxing on your diet and enjoying some Fourth of July fare is perfectly ok, you don’t want to overdo it and end up having to pack away that bikini long before Labor Day. To avoid overindulging on vacation this week, here are 10 helpful hints to keep you healthy while away from home.

1. Just One Treat a Day Will Help Keep the Fat Away.

Everyone deserves to treat themselves while on vacation. After all; how do you pass up an ice cream cone on a hot day, a fruity drink while on the beach, or a juicy burger at a July Fourth barbecue? The answer? You don’t! Just limit yourself to one treat per day, and opt for healthier choices the rest of the time.

What’s summer vacation without a little ice cream?

2. Walk the Weight Off.

People underestimate the effectiveness of walking for weight loss. While walking won’t burn the calories that an intense gym session will, it will still help to counteract some of those extra calories consumed on vacation. So while out of town this week, remind yourself to walk. Go for a hike, go shopping or sightseeing on foot, or just walk along the beach. Every little bit of physical activity counts, so make sure you’re getting in a little exercise each day.

A moderate walk can burn up to 300 calories per hour!

3. Hydrate for Health

It’s easy to forget to drink enough water while away on vacation, but it’s extra important to stay hydrated when spending time under the sun. Be sure to keep a bottle of water with you while engaging in outdoor activities, and have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.

Don’t forget to toss a couple of these into the cooler!

4. Sip Smart

If you plan on kicking back with a few drinks this weekend, choosing what you drink can have a major impact on the number of calories you consume. If the specialty cocktail at the swim-up bar sounds just too good to pass up, go ahead and order one, but just one. Opt for a lower calorie option such as a light beer or a liquor and diet soda for your second round. And as always, remember that all alcohol has calories, so the more you drink, the more calories you’re clocking in.

It may look harmless, but this can pack a meals’ worth of calories!!!

5. Beware the Buffet!

No matter where you’re vacationing this summer, the one thing you can count on running into is an “all you can eat” buffet. While it makes mealtime easier on restaurant and resort staffs during peak travel times, it can do major damage to your diet. The key to eating smart when dining at a buffet is to choose mainly healthy options, and not take the term “all you can eat” literally. Consider starting your meal with a salad to help fill you up a bit before hitting the main courses. Then, stick to one dinner plate and load up on healthier items that are grilled, steamed, or baked rather than breaded or fried, along with plenty of veggies. If you’re craving a menu item that’s less than figure-friendly, let yourself have it, but have just a small taste.

Decisions, decisions…

6. Be Snack Savvy on the Road.

Road trips can be exhausting, and gas/food stops become much-needed breaks from a long, dull drive. Unfortunately, they can also become a danger-zone for dieters. Between the fast food joints and the endless supply of chips and candy at the gas station, it’s easy to let healthy habits go before you even reach your destination. Avoid this calorie conundrum by packing healthy snacks before you hit the road. Choose snacks with fiber and protein that will fill you up without filling you out, such as mixed nuts, whole wheat crackers with low-fat cheddar, or whole wheat wraps with almond butter and banana slices.

Stay outta here!

7. Choose One Active Activity.

Sure, the idea behind a break is rest and relaxation, but being active at least one day while on vacation can boost your metabolism, burn some extra calories, as well as open you up to a new experience. So whether it be a nature walk, kayaking, zip-lining, or surf lessons, book at least one active excursion to get you up and moving.

Sure beats just sitting on the beach!

8. Don’t Forget Your Fruits and Veggies!

While on vacation, remind yourself to aim for five servings of fruit and veggies per day. Not only will this help you to maintain proper nutrition while away from home, but it will make you more aware of what you’re eating throughout the day. When dining out, order meals that include veggies and/or fruit, and bring portable snacks such as apples, bananas, or carrot sticks and hummus with you while on the go.

Don’t forget to pack these in your beach bag!

9. Split Your Servings

We already know that restaurant portions are grossly oversized, so instead of devouring a giant dinner and dessert, then washing it down with a side of guilt, consider sharing meals with whomever is traveling with you. You’ll still get to have what you want, just less of it. Also, restaurant appetizers are usually much smaller than entrees, so consider ordering an appetizer as your meal, or splitting two appetizers between you and a friend. You’ll get to sample more than one food without destroying your diet.

1/2 the plate=1/2 the calories

10. Go Local

Instead of dining out at large chain restaurants, seek out local spots that use local products in their menu items. Restaurants that pride themselves on providing fresh, local foods will likely provide healthier options and use less fatty food additions such as butter and heavy sauces that will cover up the natural flavors in the food. The less distance your food travels before it hits your plate, the more nutrients it retains, so you can also reap the benefit of healthy vitamins and minerals in your meal.

Who says fresh and healthy can’t be tasty too?!

*Whatever your plans this weekend, the Firefighter Fitness team wishes you a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday!!!!!

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