Eating Healthy on Vacation

Written by: Cole Millen (see bio below)

Vacations aren’t supposed to be a time for challenges. The whole reason we undertake them is so we can escape the stressors of everyday life and relax. Unfortunately, there is usually one problem that many vacationers face, and that’s trying to maintain a healthy diet. Many of us tend to eat fairly well when we can control our food options. Yet when we go on vacation, sometimes our options can be rather limited. Fortunately, there are ways for us to still enjoy ourselves without our stomachs hating us later. Here are a few tips for eating well while on vacation:

At the Airport:

The airport is often cited as the most frustrating aspect of traveling – and it certainly doesn’t help anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet. Most airport restaurants tend to offer fast foods or other high-fat, high-sodium options. You can counteract this by seeking out healthier alternatives like sandwich shacks and salad bars. Some food stands also offer items like fresh fruit and veggies, pita and hummus, and smoothies.

Unfortunately, once you’re airborne your food options become even more limited. There are a lot of airlines that offer healthier options, so be sure to ask your steward/stewardess. Worst-case scenario: bring along healthy snacks to munch on during long flights (as long as you don’t mind paying airport prices!).

At the Hotel:

Hotels are absolutely critical for maintaining a healthy diet on vacation. After all, this is the place that you essentially “live” at, for all intents and purposes. For this reason it is important to ensure that you are staying somewhere that can cater to your healthy needs. Taking the time do to a little research beforehand is a great way to ensure you find the right place. Reading reviews from consumers can provide the most unbiased and honest form of information. In a recent trip of mine, I found a great site that listed reviews for amenities and restaurants at Las Vegas hotels. This was extremely helpful and assisted me with finding a hotel with a fitness center as well as a gluten-free restaurant!

As another option, you’re more than welcome to bring in outside food items to store in your hotel room. Buying things like soup, oatmeal, or fresh veggies will help keep you on a healthy track. If you want to indulge in a continental breakfast, don’t forget the fruit! Fruits are high in fiber and a healthier alternative to doughnuts and pastries.

Eating Out:

Most people end up eating out at some (or a series) of restaurants when they’re on vacation. There’s nothing wrong with this, but be sure to remain focused on eating well. For starters, try to gravitate towards restaurants that serve fresh and locally sourced foods. Check the menu beforehand so that you can avoid last minute temptations and surprises. Seafood restaurants and salad bars can be great options. As well, eat a healthy snack before dining out to help prevent over-eating.

Once you’ve arrived at the restaurant, resist the urge to order appetizers. Try to stick to boiled, broiled, fat free and grilled food. Remember, fat-free does not necessarily mean low calorie or low sugar. Use caution and better judgment when ordering your meals. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress if they have nutritional information available for their menu items! Another helpful tip – a colorful meal is more likely to be high in nutrients and fiber. Order a side of vegetables to bulk up your entrée rather than getting fries or onion rings. Finally, customize your meals to include lower amounts of fat and sauces. For example, when ordering a salad, ask for less dressing or for the dressing to be on the side.

Staying healthy on your vacation is absolutely possible; it just takes a little discipline. If you follow these tips you can find yourself coming home looking just as great as when you left!

About the Author:

Cole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Check out his blog for more fitness and nutrition tips at http://colemill.blogspot.com/.

Be Well xo

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Meatless Monday: Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This recipe is nothing but a whole lot of ooey, gooey, warm, cheesy goodness.

I’ve made eggplant parmesan before, but it was the traditional way where you slice the eggplant into discs and bread each piece.

This is a much simpler, quicker version and oh-so yummy. I enjoyed my eggplant with a whole wheat roll, which I used to dip into the ooey, gooey, warm, cheesy goodness. Fantastic. Hope you all enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget to enter my SlimKicker giveaway contest to win a FREE slow cooker!

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, sliced in half vertically
Olive oil
Salt
1/3 cup light ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp each dried basil and parsley (or fresh, if you have some handy)
1/3 cup low-sodium marinara sauce
1 small tomato, sliced
Whole wheat bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Sprinkle the eggplant halves with a little bit of salt and place on a baking sheet, flesh side down. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and broil on high for 20 minutes. While the eggplant is in the oven, combine the ricotta cheese, basil, and parsley in a small bowl.

2. When the eggplant is done, remove it from the oven and carefully turn over each half. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on each piece of eggplant. Do the same with the marinara sauce. Top each half with a few slices of tomato; sprinkle with some bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

3. Bake at 400 degrees until the bread crumbs are toasted (about 5-10 minutes). You can also use mozzarella instead of ricotta if you like, or even sprinkle some feta cheese on top. Yum!

Happy Meatless Monday!

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

Be Well xo