Though there’s nothing wrong with a bit of overindulgence every so often, those who spend significant time on the road know that making wise choices while traveling can make or break your healthy habits. Eating rich foods and enjoying too many sips of your favorite vino can not only pack on the pounds, but will leave you feeling sluggish during your stay.
But making smart decisions doesn’t mean deprivation. Finding the right balance is the key to keeping things under control. To gain more insight on how to juggle eating, drinking and exercising on the road, we chatted with Stephanie De Ortiz, who travels more than most as Auberge Resorts Collection’s national sales director.
Across the board, Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated establishments are known for top-notch cuisine, but these mouthwatering morsels typically include a higher dose of salt, butter or fat than you might cook with at home. It should go without saying to be conscious of your choices while dining out: hold the mayo; request light oil whenever possible; ask for gravies on the side.
One of the easiest ways to curb your cravings is to order the smaller-portion option. Go for the vegetable sides and salads with your meal. And as tempting as they may be, skip the deep-fried dishes.
“I always make sure to eat colorful foods and drink lots of water and avoid processed meats and bready sandwiches at the airport,” says De Ortiz, a former dancer. “Instead, I pack my own peanut butter and jelly sandwich for some healthy protein along with a baggie with a sliced apple.” Her message: Always be prepared.
You also want to avoid snack attacks by packing healthy bites that you can take on the road. Fresh or dried fruits, nuts, boiled eggs, light cheeses and granola are great grab-and-go selections that will hold you over until your next proper meal so you won’t be tempted to munch on something unhealthy.
When visiting a new city, don’t skip the local cuisine — it’s okay to splurge, just be strategic. Be selective by choosing one or two special dishes that you really want to try.
When you’re in Austin, for example, go for the barbecue, but only eat half of the Texas-sized portion — leftovers mean that you’ll get to enjoy the meal twice. If you visit Paris, you can’t help but try a fresh croissant or a single petite pastry. And we wouldn’t dare suggest going to Cabo without sampling fresh guacamole. Just avoid overdoing it on the chips.
Tasty tipples and non-alcoholic sweet drinks can be packed with sugar. Be mindful of this and refrain from ordering sodas, sweet teas and lemonades — these can have 600-plus calories per serving. A refreshing alternative can be found in flavored seltzer water or a light juice spritzer (fresh juice mixed with soda water).
When you do feel like hitting the bar, go for light spirits such as vodka, gin and tequila. Skip the sugary mixers and request your cocktail with club soda and a lemon wedge or a splash of juice. If you’d like a vino pairing with dinner, opt for a single glass of red wine, which has been found to be a tasty source of antioxidants.
Whichever drinking route you go, pay attention to your body and consume in moderation. The last thing you want is to get sick during your travels.
On your next trip, don’t forget to pack activewear and sneakers you actually enjoy wearing — having workout outfits that you look good in keeps you motivated.
A good workout can help you feel more alert while you’re on the road. Getting your heart rate up is especially useful for combating jet lag, too. When booking your stay, see if your hotel offers any classes or personal training. If so, sign up in advance to set yourself up for success.
If you find yourself on a property without a gym, purchase a pass at a local health club or ask the concierge about nearby parks or hiking trails. You also can get creative in your room with your own workout — push-ups, sit-ups, yoga poses and jumping jacks require no equipment and easily get the job done.
If you need a little push, look for one of the dozens of fitness apps that offer workouts. De Ortiz loads exercise tracks from iTrain.com onto her phone to keep her inspired.
No matter how you choose to stay fit, the most important thing is to have a schedule and stick to it. Try to do something active every day and remember that just walking around town is great exercise, too.
Donna Wong is the owner of allureplus travel, a premier travel provider and destination specialist. Her dedicated and trusted team offers travel services worldwide for individuals and groups.