December brings travel plans for many of us – whether we’re visiting family this season or vacationing during time off from work. But with a little planning and organization, you don’t have to take a vacation from eating right and exercising.
- Pack healthy snacks. Take a cooler on family car trips, and include healthy snacks such as hummus and carrots, sliced apples and peanut butter, and string cheese with whole-grain crackers. If a cooler is not an option, stock pretzels, nuts, and home-made trail mix.
- Lighten up fast food. You can eat at convenient fast-food restaurants without blowing your diet. Skip fried foods, bacon, cheese, and heavy sauces, and choose grilled chicken, vegetables, and salads, but without lots of cheese and dressing.
- Exercise. On long car trips, use rest-stop breaks to take walks, run laps, play tag, or do stretches or push-ups. Explore the airport terminal during a long flight layover. At your destination, take advantage of hotel pools and gyms, exercise in your room each day, or explore your new surroundings on foot.
- Take control. Don’t be afraid to ask for food to be prepared the way you want it in a restaurant. Order dressings and sauces on the side, ask for half portions, or share a full one. Make smart substitutions, like vegetables or salad for fries. And shop at the supermarket for some of your meals. Many supermarkets have prepared low-fat meal options such as boxed salads and rotisserie chickens.
- Party with a plan. If your plans involve holiday parties or family celebrations, snack on healthy foods beforehand, so you’re not starving when you get to the event. When you do arrive, drink a glass of water and mingle with the other guests before heading for the food. Fill most of your plate with fruits and vegetables, leaving just a small space for that special treat. Then, turn your back to the buffet table and focus on having fun, not having food. Don’t forget to go easy on the alcohol. Not only are alcoholic drinks loaded with calories, they also tend to weaken your resolve to eat better.
Eating well and remaining active can lower the risk for conditions like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Read the complete American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.