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How to Stay Healthy on Vacation Without Missing Out

How to Stay Healthy on Vacation Without Missing Out

It is vacation after all, so don't be afraid to eat and drink

Shutterstock / John M Anderson

Vacation. We count how many vacation days we have remaining at the office. We carefully select our companions and our destinations. We labor over packing and our wardrobes. We plan our excursions and beach reads and sun hats. (Are you a fedora or a giant sun hat or a simple baseball cap person?) We change our Facebook profile photos and make everyone horribly jealous.

How to Stay Healthy on Vacation Without Missing Out

Shutterstock / John M Anderson

Vacation. (Are you a fedora or a giant sun hat or a simple baseball cap person?) We change our Facebook profile photos and make everyone horribly jealous.

Book a Hotel with a Gym, and Use it

Shutterstock / Duct

Yes, it's vacation, but 30 minutes in the gym before breakfast won't kill all the fun. In addition to the gym, see if your hotel offers any activities. Many hotels and resorts offer morning yoga, fitness classes, or free water sports.

Choose Low-Sugar Alcoholic Beverages

The calories, carbs and sugars in a few too many cocktails can counteract all of the other healthy choices you make and lead to alcohol-induced overeating. "Choose a beverage that is low in sugar and drink it slowly," clinical nutritionist Amanda Hayes Morgan suggests. "The slower you drink, the less likely you are to continue eating after you’re full. Look for drink options with no added sugar or craft your own." High-quality vodka with soda water and fresh fruit is Morgan's choice. Also, try alternating a cocktail with a glass of water to slow your pace.

Choose Protein-Based Appetizers

"Has there ever been a time when you left dinner and said, 'I’m so glad I ate half the bread basket?'" asks Morgan. Unlikely. Her rule of thumb: Skip the bread and "instead choose a protein-based appetizer to feel more satiated and avoid overeating later in the meal." Some appetizer ideas include sashimi, lettuce wraps with chicken, tuna carpaccio and grilled shrimp.

Do Something Active Every Day

Istock / Thinkstock

There are so many options with this one! Do your regular workouts, but kick them up a notch: Go for your usual morning jog...but across the Golden Gate Bridge. Take your yoga class on the beach in Cozumel. Swim laps in the ocean or find a local hiking trail to a scenic destination. If you'd prefer, plan something out of the norm that seems more like a vacation activity. Maybe a stand-up paddleboard tour around your favorite island or a sunset kayak. Try something you've never done but always thought sounded fun. Bonus points if it's free!

Do Your Research

Istock / Thinkstock

Before you head out on your fabulous vacation, take the time to Google as much as you can about the area you're traveling to. "Look for healthy restaurants that source locally, and organic juice/smoothie spots for when you need a snack," recommends Morgan. Menus can be perused online ahead of time to help make better choices. "That being said," she continues, "experiencing a new culture is half the fun on vacation, so make sure to give yourself the flexibility to enjoy what the locals have to offer. Balance is key."

Make Healthy (But Delicious!) Food Choices

Thinkstock / rez-art

Eating out is a fact of vacation for many, but "The Healthy Chef" and fitness trainer Teresa Cutter recommends not filling up on "stodge food" — nutritionally empty, high-carb foods (such as bread and pasta) that stuff you but leave you feeling lousy. Instead, opt for more nutritious choices. "Choose grilled fish and a side salad instead of deep-fried fish and chips. You’ll only be consuming a third of the calories and a fifth of the fat," says Cutter. "If you're going to have a pizza, make it a good one! Woodfired, thin-crust, and whole-grain if they have it. Top it with as many veggies as you can...Choose tomato-based soups, burritos with lean chicken or fish, salad, or vegetables." Cutter also recommends eating a leafy green salad with meals, citing a Pennsylvania State University study that found that people consumed 12 percent fewer calories when they ate the salad than when they didn't.

Skip the All-Inclusive

Shutterstock / John M Anderson

All-inclusive resorts often sacrifice food quality for quantity. They also create a difficult environment for controlling your food and beverage intake. Instead book a less expensive vacation rental or boutique hotel. You'll save money on accommodations and get to explore more of your destination, including the regional cuisine. Local dives, farm-to-table restaurants, and fresh-caught seafood shacks are a great way to get the flavor of a city. And they beat the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet any day.

Take a Morning Jog

Thinkstock / Andreas Zierhut

Jog, run, walk...just get moving around the beautiful, interesting, exotic place you’ve chosen to visit! Incorporate exercise into your plans to explore the area. Take a stroll for your morning coffee to scout out restaurants, bars and shops for later. Jog to some of the local sites — you’ll create your own free, on-foot city tour and stay active in the process. Teresa Cutter believes in the 10,000 Steps Program: "If you walk 10,000 steps a day...you will be walking towards improving your health."

Vacation Doesn't Need to Start at the Airport

Thinkstock / pojoslaw

There will be plenty of time to indulge on your trip, so don't start eating junk at the airport or on the plane when it's not even worth it. The airport food court, vending-machine candy bags, and cans of soda on the plane can set you off-track before you've even left the tarmac. Instead, make smarter airport choices like fresh fruit, nuts, salads, and bottles of water. Or, even better, pack healthy snacks or a sandwich to bring for your travels.


How To Cut Your Vacation Food Budget In Half!

Summer is in full swing and here at Deals to Meals we are excited to help all of you save money on your vacation food budgets. If you are like my family, we love to vacation! With a family of 7 however, the food portion of our vacations can sometimes price our trips out of our reach. Besides the hotel costs, the food expenses can be the next highest cost of a trip. I am excited to share several tips that will help you cut your vacation food budget in half (or more) and help you save money so you can do all of the fun things you are hoping to do this summer.

Going green is often thought of as being expensive:it can feel like living an eco-friendly lifestyle is a huge commitment, as well as an expensive . Continue Reading

1-Have a food budget before you go on your vacation.

If you don’t have an idea of what you want to spend on food, it is easy to way over spend. Food can add up quickly and be a hefty part of your total vacation cost. Know what you can afford and how much you want to spend and try to stick to those figures. Knowing your budget will help you determine where you should and shouldn’t eat.

2-Do some research and have a plan before you leave.

Before going on your trip do a little research and put together a plan of where you will be eating for each meal (whether in the hotel or out to eat). Find what food options are in the areas you will be visiting and find places to go that have discount coupons or specials. By simply doing a Google search you can find discounts on many of your favorite places to eat. An example of this is restaurant.com where you can get up to 50% off many restaurants in the areas you will be visiting. Whether you are eating out each meal or cooking from your hotel it is good to know where you are going and know a rough estimate of how much you will be spending on food.

3-Stock up on snacks, treats and vacation items throughout the year when
they go on sale.

Many times people do their last minute vacation shopping right before they leave on their trip. They buy snacks, treats, chips, fruit drinks, soda, crackers, fruit snacks, etc. and find they have to pay full price for these ‘vacation’ items. These items are great to keep kids quiet and happy while traveling, but can break the bank if you pay full price. The best time to stock up on these snack items are the first and last week in July (as well as the week of Thanksgiving). These are the times when snack items go on sale for their lowest prices. Instead of buying one box of crackers, stock up and buy several so you can keep them in your own ‘grocery store’ in your pantry, and have them on hand for several months to come. Having bought these items on sale can save big throughout the rest of the year. If you have not had time to stock up, remember to check Deals to Meals before you go shopping to find the best deals in your area.

4- Plan your vacation around the ability to make homemade meals where you will be staying.

Families, depending on the size, can easily spend anywhere from $30-$100 on one meal. This can add up quickly if you are needing to eat out three meals a day. That can be as much as $100-$250 a day spent just on food, depending where you choose to eat. Could you eat at Taco Bell for less, yes, but who wants fast food three times a day? So, the better option is to find ways to eat homemade meals where you will be staying. Whether you are sleeping in a hotel, a rented home/cabin, camping in the outdoors, or in a condo, you can easily cook homemade meals and cut your food budget in half.

My family has made nearly 20 week long trips to Disneyland (I know, my husband is a Mickey-fanatic). In the beginning we were spending nearly $800 on food for a week at Disneyland. Food in Disneyland is not cheap and with a family of 7 eating outside the park wasn’t a great option either. We found we could eat homemade breakfasts, lunch, and dinner meals from our own hotel and spent less than $150 for the entire week. How did we do it? Here are a few tips of how to cook simple meals and save hundreds of dollars for the week.

a. Book a hotel with a microwave and/or a mini fridge.

If they offer free ice, you could even do without a fridge. Many times a hotel with a mini kitchen or microwave is only a few extra dollars a night but can save you big on your food budget. Having a microwave can make meal prep easy in your hotel.

b. Bring the right tools.

When I travel and plan on cooking in our hotel there are a few must-haves that make it much easier for me. I always bring an electric skillet. Not a flat griddle, but the skillets with the two inch sides. It is amazing what you can cook or warm up in these skillets. I can cook nearly every breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe I want between a microwave and a skillet. The skillet can be easily packed and is large enough to cook food for a large family of 7 like my own. It is also smart to bring paper products, plastic utensils, a kitchen scrubber, paper towels, and a small container of dish soap to make clean up a cinch.

c. Choose hotel (or accommodations) that allow you to prepare homemade meals in your room.

Booking a hotel with a continental breakfast is not always the least expensive way to go. Most of us can eat a pretty simple breakfast and be fine (toast, bagels, cereal, fruit, yogurt, etc.). Many times the hotels that offer the free breakfast will charge you more than it would cost for your family to eat your own breakfast in the hotel room. If you can find a hotel with a reasonable continental breakfast and the price is not more than you could feed your own family breakfast then that is a good option.

Below are several meal options for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are easy to prepare and serve in a hurry. If you are flying to your destination you could easily make a quick shopping trip for some of these meals to make in your hotel without a lot of effort. Preparing homemade meals and serving in your hotel will save $100’s on your vacation budget.

BREAKFAST MEALS:

*Cereal and milk
*Bagels, cream cheese and fruit
*Yogurt and granola
*Pancakes (can be cooked on an electric skillet brought from home)–bring a box mix or put the dry ingredients for a homemade pancake mix in a Ziploc bag and bring the wet ingredients separate.
*Eggs (can be fried on an electric skillet or in the microwave)–add some cheese and hashbrowns and you could make breakfast burritos without a lot of effort.

LUNCH MEALS:

Lunch meals are easy to pack and can be brought around easily on the road as you are traveling. You can feed a family a healthy lunch for under $10, where as going out for lunch (even at a fast food chain) would cost most families over $25-$40. Here are a few of my favorite lunch options that can be brought from home. Add a bag of chips, some veggies or fruit and you have a complete meal at a low price.

*PB&J sandwiches
*Chicken Salad Sandwiches
*Lunchmeat sandwiches (Monte Cristo’s, Cubans, deli sandwiches, etc.)
*Tuna fish sandwiches
*Simple Salads (Rumbi’s, Golden Gate Chicken Salad, Sesame Salad, etc.)

DINNER MEALS:

Here are a few of my favorite simple dinner meals I pack from home when going on an extended vacation. One time saving tip is to make a few of these meals 1-2 weeks prior to your vacation. Double the recipe and eat one batch for dinner the week you make them and then freeze the second half for your vacation. It takes a little more thought and prep, but makes cooking on the vacation simple and hassle free.

*Tacos (cook up the taco meat ahead of time, freeze and warm in the microwave or skillet for a quick meal). Pack along shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce and taco shells and you have a quick and inexpensive dinner. I usually bring extra taco meat and serve the rest in a taco salad later in the week (just bring more lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, ranch dressing, chips and a can of kidney beans).

*Soups or Stews–soups can easily be made ahead of time and frozen for your vacation. Warm up in the microwave and serve with store bought rolls for a quick dinner. If you are in a hurry you could even just use canned soups or stews.

*Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches–crock pot a large pork loin, shred and freeze the meat for your vacation. Frozen pork thaws perfectly. You can add some bbq sauce for a nice sandwich or serve in a burrito as a wrap. Serve with fresh fruit and chips and you won’t be disappointed.

*Shredded Pork Tacos or Carne Asada Tacos-these tacos are my favorites and are simple to make on the go. Just cook and shred the pork ahead of time and all you have to pack is some salsa, corn tortillas and cheese. Make these tacos on your skillet to melt the cheese and you have a simple dinner.

*Quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches are simple and inexpensive to make. Add some refried beans to the quesadillas to help fill your family up or some ham to your grilled cheese for extra flavor.

*Breakfast for dinner is another simple approach to dinner. A good old pancake dinner never hurt anyone for dinner and is much less expensive to make than most meat-heavy dinners.

*Potato Bar – this is simple to make away from home if you just microwave the potatoes and cut up the toppings ahead of time at home. When ready to serve just open up the potatoes, place the toppings on top and you have a dinner ready in just a few minutes.

*BLT Sandwiches – Buy the precooked bacon that can be warmed in the microwave, throw on a piece of toast with lettuce and tomatoes and dinner is done! Serve with a side pasta salad made from home or a store bought salad to share

If you don’t have room to pack all of the ingredients for these meals, I often pack the frozen meat and dairy items (usually the most expensive parts to a recipe) in our cooler and then shop for the produce and bread at a grocery store on vacation. With a membership to Deals to Meals you can login to our website anywhere in the U.S. and know what the best grocery deals are in your area.

I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I've been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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Bring These 30 Healthy Snacks On Your Next Road Trip

As tempting as it may be to grab that Snickers bar when you stop to fill up on gas for your road trip, you will definitely regret that decision.

Not only does a Snickers bar have absolutely no nutritional value to help your body get what it needs, it will actually put harmful chemicals in your body such as high fructose corn syrup.

By making sure that you pack good, healthy snacks for your road trip, you’ll find that you won’t be tempted to grab that Snickers bar because you know something better is waiting for you in your car.

Here are our top picks for healthy road trip snacks.

1. Beef jerky

This road trip snack is packed full of protein, which is one of the best ways to satisfy your hunger.

However, don’t opt for jerky from the gas station that comes loaded with preservatives, and whose sodium levels are off the charts.

Instead, pick up an organic, grass-fed one from your local natural foods store.

2. Popcorn

Popcorn is a great source of fiber and complex carbs that will help your body stay regular, and provide you with energy while on the road.

Make sure you’re not getting the microwave popcorn that is filled with chemicals. Instead, grab one from the natural foods store that has ingredients of just corn, salt, and oil.

Even better yet, pop some on the stove at home using olive oil or butter and just salt. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting.

3. Hard-boiled eggs

These little eggs are not only easy to prepare, they are easy to store, and easy to eat on the road. They’re fairly mess-free, and are packed full of protein that your body will need while on the road.

For some extra crunch and the perks of some quality complex carbs, add some whole wheat crackers to your egg snack for the perfect pick-me-up.

4. Protein bars

Be wise with your choice of protein bars.

There are countless protein bars out there that are full of nothing but sugar and crazy additives and preservatives that you’ve never heard of.

Instead, look for a protein bar full of natural ingredients that will give you the nutrients your body needs and wants, without the sugar crash.

5. String cheese

You’re never too old to eat string cheese, especially when you know the nutritional benefits it provides.

Pair your string cheese with apple slices, and you’ll have a snack that perfectly covers healthy fat, good protein, and complex carbs.

With this trio of nutrients, you won’t be hungry again for a while, and you’ll also feel your energy levels increase.

6. Carrots

Though carrots do have fiber in them and other great nutritional value, one of the reasons we suggest this as a road trip snack is because oftentimes when on the road, you find yourself wanting to eat simply because you’re bored.

So, rather than fill that boredom with unhealthy snacks, munch on some carrots that will take you a while to eat, and will keep you busy without making a mess.

7. Grapes

Similar to carrots, grapes are a great option for when you’re bored and want to eat something on the road.

Healthy, clean, and easy to eat, grapes will help stave off the boredom. Just don’t go overboard with the grapes — they do have a lot of sugar in them.

8. Hummus and celery

Hummus is another great protein-packed snack that will help keep your belly full and happy.

In addition, hummus is full of B vitamins.

And celery is the perfect dipping stick. Low in calories, but high in water content, your body will love this hummus-celery combo.

9. Greek yogurt

Protein all the way with Greek yogurt. This little snack is full of it, and will help keep you full until your next meal.

Top your Greek yogurt with some nuts or fruit for some added fiber and energy.

10. PB sandwich (skip the J)

Though we love jelly, it usually doesn’t offer up anything but loads of added sugar.

Instead, grab for quality peanut butter (be sure to check your ingredients and say “no” to peanut butter with sugar added to it) for a healthy dose of protein and fat.

Slather that peanut butter on some whole wheat bread, and you’ve covered your complex carbs, your protein, and your fat.

If you’re feeling extra hungry, grab a banana, slice it up, and throw it in between the bread and have yourself a PB&B.

11. Pistachios

The protein from these nuts is plant-based, and they’re also packed full of unsaturated fats and fiber.

Not to mention, they’re much lower in terms of calories than other nuts. Pistachios weigh in at just 4 calories per nut, while Brazil nuts are 33 calories each.

12. Walnuts

Pistachios aren’t the only great nuts on the block — walnuts are great for their own reasons.

They have the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids when compared with all other nuts, which will help you feel full for a longer amount of time.

13. Baked chickpeas

These snacks are easy to make at home, and will give you great fiber without having to stuff yourself full of a bag of chips.

Simply drain and dry your chickpeas, then toss them with olive oil. Season with salt and other spices of your choosing and bake for 30-40 minutes at 450F.

14. Ham and cream cheese wheels

Ham is a great source of protein, and the cream cheese offers up some healthy fat. The two combined will help keep you full, and keep additional cravings from kicking in.

Ham and cream cheese wheels are also great because they’re easy to make ahead of time. Simply lay out a piece of ham, spoon some cream cheese into the middle, roll the ham up into a tube, and slice it into small pieces to eat.

15. Trail mix

Though there are plenty of options for trail mix at the store, we always prefer to make our own.

And this recipe is almost too simple not to make: ½ cup whole-grain cereal, 2 T pecans, 1 T unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 T dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs.

16. Almond butter and strawberries

We don’t know about you, but we are fine just eating almond butter by the spoonful.

However, the idea of dunking a strawberry in the almond butter sounds even better.

This protein-filled snack will also satisfy your sweet tooth.

17. No-bake protein balls

You can get really creative with the options for your no-bake protein balls, but here is an example to get you started:

Combine rolled oats, nut butter, dried fruit, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, protein powder, and chocolate chips. Roll into small balls and put in the cooler.

18. Dried fruits

Before you buy any dried fruits, be sure you check the label.

You do not want to get any that have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Find the ones that simply have ingredients listed as just the fruit, and nothing else.

19. Tuna and crackers

Tuna is a great way to get a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the crackers are a great way to round out the snack with some complex carbs.

20. Guacamole with sliced bell peppers

Though we do love ourselves some chips and guac, we know that chips aren’t the healthiest snack.

Guacamole (especially if you make it at home) can be quite nutritious and full of good, healthy fats from the avocado.

By eating it with bell peppers instead of chips, you’re getting additional nutrients that chips just can’t offer.

21. Sunflower seeds

You really can’t go wrong with any type of nuts or seeds while on the road, but sunflower seeds are particularly great because they are full of healthy fats and well as magnesium, which helps support your heart health.

22. Peanut butter pretzels

Not only is this snack a great way to satisfy your desire for crunch (yes, that really is a thing), it will also provide you with protein and fat to help fill your stomach until the next meal.

Make sure you opt for natural versions that are not loaded with extra sugar, and try to stick to the serving size so you don’t end up eating the whole bag.

23. Pita pocket sandwiches

This can be a great snack or a small lunch, and is super easy to put together.

All you’ve got to do is stuff your pita pocket with mozzarella, tomato, basil, turkey, cheese, hummus, cucumber, and/or tuna salad.

Simply store in a cooler until you’re ready to eat.

24. Coconut chips

When you’re craving something sweet, grab for some coconut chips. These are simply slices of coconut that have been baked in oil until they become crunchy.

You can stick with plain, or go with other flavors from a variety of brands that step of the flavor.

25. Dark chocolate

Yes, you read that right: dark chocolate.

While we don’t recommend chowing down an entire bar in one sitting (and you probably wouldn’t want to with the really dark stuff), there are some benefits from eating a bit of dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is known to lower the risk of heart disease while also increasing brain function.

As if we weren’t on board already!

26. Homemade vegetable chips

Rather than potato chips, make your own veggie chips at home that are guilt-free.

Kale is among the most popular types of vegetable chips to make at home, and they are quite easy to put together.

Simply rip the washed kale into pieces, toss the leaves with olive oil, spread onto a baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 F, and let cool.

27. Fruit with vanilla-honey yogurt dip

Grab any kind of fruit you like — apples, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and dip them in some vanilla-honey yogurt.

You’ll get your fill of protein and fiber, with a healthy dose of sugar.

28. Cereal

Now don’t think you can just get any cereal and it will be healthy.

Unfortunately, most cereals out there today are full of sugar and tons of other junk your body doesn’t want or need.

So, when choosing a cereal to bring as your road trip snack, make sure you choose one that is high in fiber and low in sugar.

29. Applesauce cups

This snack is perfect for kids. Just the right amount of applesauce to satisfy their sweet tooth without jacking them up on tons of sugar.

The ones that come in little cups are much easier to deal with than a giant messy jar.

30. Bubbly water

Many time, when we think we are hungry, we are actually just thirsty.

If you don’t feel like grabbing for some “boring” regular water, instead try some carbonated water that makes your drink feel a bit more exciting, and more like a treat.

You can opt for some flavored ones as well, just be sure they don’t have a bunch of added sugar.

See — snacking healthy while on the road doesn’t have to be boring.

In fact, the healthier you snack, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your trip. When you’re giving your body the nutrients it wants and needs, it will give you the energy and happiness you want and need in order to enjoy your trip to its fullest.

With a bit of planning ahead, and practicing some self-restraint when going into the gas stations along the way, you will be on the way to a healthy road trip that’s guaranteed to be a blast.

Ready to hit the open road? KOA has you covered along the way to your destination. Check out our trip planner tool to find KOA Campgrounds along your route!

Leslie, a.k.a. Copy Girl, is a copywriter who gets butterflies from telling stories through words.

Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.

With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie love the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.

Everywhere she goes, she takes this advice with her:

“Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

To see what Leslie’s up to in the writing world, visit her website here.


37 Travel Essentials Travel Experts Never Go on Vacation Without

Whenever I pack, mistakes are made. Though I'm a meticulous list-maker, I always manage to forget something vital—pads and tampons, deodorant, you name it. For one thing, I've never remembered to bring an outlet adapter on an international trip with me. Never. I've forgotten toothpaste on more occasions than Iɽ like to admit. And in one particularly horrifying slip-up, I went on a weekend trip without packing any underwear at all. While adapters and toothpaste are share-able items, underwear isn't something you can borrow from a travel companion. Thankfully, the underwear I was already wearing was able to tide me over for the three days I was gone. But still. Ick.

I've come to realize that the most efficient way for me to pack is to keep a running list of travel essentials—things I know I'll need for literally any trip I'm taking. I have one list in my phone for domestic travel, and one for international travel both keep me from experiencing the apparently inevitable oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-I-forgot-to-pack-that slip-up.

To make sure I wasn't missing anything (as I am clearly wont to do), I reached out to self-proclaimed travel experts to find out what their go-to travel essentials are—and they had a ton. While some of their recommendations were pretty straightforward (books, noise-cancelling headphones, outlet adapters), others were expert-level life hacks Iɽ never considered before (an on-the-go WiFi hotspot, a mini steamer, a portable luggage scale).

Needless to say, both of my packing lists ended up longer—and better—after writing this story.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


How to Eat Healthy without “Dieting”

Eating healthy can be easy, affordable and delicious. It&rsquos all about making smart choices to build an overall healthy dietary pattern.

After all, a healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and lots of other things you&rsquod rather avoid. The good news is, eating right doesn&rsquot have to be hard or require you to give up all of the foods you love.

Here are some tips to help you and your family adopt a healthier eating style:

INCLUDE

LIMIT

  • Sweetened drinks and dietary cholesterol
  • Fatty or processed red meats &ndash if you choose to eat meat, select leaner cuts
  • Refined carbohydrates like added sugars and processed grain foods
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil

AVOID

We can help you make healthier choices:

  • Choose mindfully, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot.
  • Read labels. Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Watch your calories. To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories.
  • Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out.
  • Cook and eat at home. You&rsquoll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.
  • Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy eating pattern.

More Tips

    - Healthy home cooking and smart shopping puts you in control of what goes into your recipes and your body. Follow these healthy guidelines to update your eating style and improve your nutrition profile. - Try these daily tips that will help your family take a step-by-step approach to eating healthy. - Learn how to keep track of what you eat in order to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. - So-called &ldquosuperfoods&rdquo alone won&rsquot make you healthier &ndash but adding these nutritious foods to an already balanced diet can bring health benefits. - Eating healthy on a budget can seem difficult but it can be done! Being creative can help you stick to your budget and incorporate nutritious foods into your diet. Try these tips to incorporate some of these inexpensive foods into your weekly menu. - All too often, kids are rewarded with unhealthy foods and sugary drinks and desserts, but there are lots of healthy choices that taste great! - Chef for NBC's Biggest Loser and author, Devin Alexander shares her personal perspective as a chef in this blog entry with great ideas for healthy snacks for the whole family to bring on their summer vacation or anywhere! - Part of being Healthy for Good&trade is creating simple daily habits you can stick with. One important habit that can help kick-start your day is eating a healthy breakfast. Think outside the (cereal) box with these quick and easy ideas. - The number of meals you eat may not be so important. How you eat those meals is what matters most when it comes to decreasing the risk of heart disease and other health problems that come along with being overweight. - Many shoppers assume organic products are more nutritious and safer to eat, but these perceptions are based more on hype than hard science. - Picky eaters can miss out on a lot of good food! Not only can it be challenging cooking for folks who refuse to eat some foods, but they can also miss out on important nutrients found in foods often on the I-Don&rsquot-Eat list. - Don&rsquot let excuses get in the way of eating healthy! Check out our tips on breaking out of the scarfing cycle. - While you may be familiar with brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread, there are lots of other tasty whole grain options.

Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.


Considerations

Make sure you check with the hotel before you use any small appliances of your own. It may discourage, or even ban, the use of a kettle or slow cooker. Keep in mind your options for cleaning up probably are limited to the room’s small sink or the bathtub. Use slow cooker liners, and minimize the number of dishes you dirty while you’re cooking. Some hotels allow their guests to use the microwave in the breakfast room at off times. If you’re planning an extended stay at one hotel, visit the local thrift store and pick up a cheap slow cooker or electric griddle. Donate it back to the thrift store when you leave.

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.


Travel Snacks: What to Eat While Travelling

We're talking about food here. Once you are on a move, usually it is the 'getting there' that requires some effort and can easily take a toll on your body. Whether you are on a road trip or on a flight, what you consume in-between two destinations matters a lot. It is this period where one is devoid of proper food and is likely to fall prey to food poisoning, dehydration, indigestion and so on. Keeping in mind the extreme weather conditions of an Indian summer, one needs to watch what he or she eats, and should stay hydrated enough to travel in the heat.

Snacking on the Way

Be extremely watchful of the kind of food items that are taken along and consumed on the way. Many items can easily get spoilt and can trigger serious health troubles when consumed. On the other hand relying on packaged and processed food throughout your travel is also not a good idea.

(4 Health Tips to Keep in Mind While on a Holiday)So, what is the catch? How do you eat healthy, snack smart and ward off falling sick on your vacation? Home cooked food is certainly an option. You can cook and take along a few items that can last longer and have the properties to stay fresh. A few packaged tidbits picked up from the market can also be an ideal match for your on-the-go munching. ( The Three Secrets to Snack Smart)

According to Dr. Simran Saini, dietician, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, dry snacks are probably the best thing that you can take long when on a long vacation. These include very little oil and are generally baked or are in the form of a mixture. Storing and carrying your snacks wrapped in aluminum foil or air-tight containers will help manifold in preserving the quality of the food item and keeping it fresh for long.9Diet Tips: How to Stay Healthy on Your Vacation)

Another dietician, Dr. Anita Lamba stresses on the efficacy of snacking as a habit. In her opinion, periodical snacking has refreshing effects on your mood and can also help in fighting those in-between meals hunger pangs. Nuts and dry fruits are probably the best snacking options that can help keep up the energy levels, aid in digestion and help you fuel up for the rest of the day. Dr. Lamba emphasizes the importance of well portioned, nutritive, light and hydrating meals during traveling.

Snack Right

Here's presenting a well thought-out list of snacks that is a balanced combination of what can be cooked at home and what can be picked up from the nearest store.

Banana chips

Banana chips are easily available in the market and are simply fabulous on the taste buds. These make as a great snacking option and can also be cooked at home. All you have to do is to get some slice raw bananas into thin, fine chips and deep fry them. You can sprinkle some salt, red chilli powder or pepper atop and store them in an air-tight container for up to days altogether.

Every 100 grams of raw banana chips contain 400 calories and 2.3 grams of protein. Though this lip-smacking delight is great to munch on, one should be careful as it is very easy to get addicted to these. Banana chips are deep fried, hence eating too many of these at a time may cause health issues.

Wheat flakes nut mix

While traveling many of us resort to buying snacks sold by local pushcart vendors. You can skip those and replace them with the ones made at home. Take a fistful of almonds, peanuts, pistachios, roasted Bengal gram and nuts of your choice and toss these together with some cornflakes, lemon juice, mustard/olive oil and local spices.

While traveling probably one of the best things to rely upon would be fruits. These are readily available and can be brought from almost anywhere. However, be very sure that you are not consuming cut fruits from anywhere. Fruits when kept cut for longer period of time and not stored properly may get contaminated and carry bacteria that may cause severe health issues. You can carry seasonal whole fruits with you and eat it on your way. They are light on stomach, easily digestible and can provide much required instant energy.

Mix Seed Power Punch

Sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds and a lot more - these days snacking on these storehouses of energy is a raging fitness trend. Most of them are energy dense - that means they have properties to satiate your hunger and keep you feeling full for longer - and serve as a great option for untimely snacking. You can make a healthy mix of different kinds of seeds yourself throw in a few dry fruits or nuts of your choice as well as a little coconut shavings. Every time you snack on these you are assured of soaking in the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron, antioxidants and many other essential nutrients.

Muffin and Cookies

Just in case you are fond of baking, don't hesitate, put on your baking cap and bake away. Baked items are extremely travel friendly. From snacks like biscuits, cookies to muffins and a lot more, you can try your hand or just pick some from the store if time is a constraint. These goodies don't get spoilt easily and can last for up to a week when stored properly.

In case you are one of those who keep a strict watch on every calorie consumed, here's a calorific breakup - a small muffin will have approximately 20 calories and 4 grams of protein. Every 100 gms of cookies will give you 450 calories.

Indian snacks

Local travellers have long been relying on some of the desi snacks to give them a tasteful company while traveling. They are tried and tested over the years and can easily be stacked and taken along on a journey. Matthi with achaar, thepla, papad, khakhra, fafda, papdi and the like can add sparks to your train bonhomie. Imagine munching on these while you see the landscape changing and wind gushing through your hair - what bliss!

Popcorn and granola bar

When it comes to food that is easy to carry and not a burden on your stomach or health, we automatically think of items like popcorn. Popcorn is something that doesn't face the challenge of getting spoilt easily. You just have to ensure keeping it away from moisture and these fragrant delights can be had almost anywhere, anytime.

Granola bars are easily available in the market and can be picked up to be had during the journey. You can even roll a few on your own by teaming together oats, raisins, walnuts, brown sugar along with some honey. These can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in airtight containers.(Mystical Himachal: What to Eat in Mcleod Ganj) There you go! Tuck away these fuss-free snacks in your travel bag and munch on them whenever, wherever. Not only will these keep you full and going but also energized and active. If you have some quirky snacks that you carry along whenever you are on the go, feel free to share with us.(From Golden Beaches to Goan Recipes: Explore Goa)


20+ Healthy Foods to Pack When You Travel

Hitting the road this summer? Whether traveling by car or plane you can still make healthy choices.

By the time you turn the corner, everyone in the car is begging for food. The last thing you want to do is bring a never-ending supply of junk. Instead, pack a few good-for-you mess-free meals and snacks. To keep things fresh, bring a cooler (the traditional kind or one that plugs into the car).

  • Whole-grain pasta salad or quinoa salad
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • Hard-boiled egg and cheese in a whole-wheat pita
  • Sliced fresh fruit like melon and berries
  • Snack bar
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers

If you end up having to hit the quick mart anyway, look for the smarter choices:

  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Hummus cups
  • Coffee or tea (nothing fancy)
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Small bowl of oatmeal

These days, most flights don’t provide food (or they sell mostly junk), so if you want to stay on track with your healthy eating goals, advanced planning is a must. If you're counting on purchasing food at the airport or on board, you'll pay a pretty penny, plus not all airports carry healthy fare. Instead, pack a few sandwiches and snacks such as:

  • Cucumber and whipped cream cheese on whole-wheat bread
  • Peanut butter and jelly on rye
  • Grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and mustard in a whole-grain wrap
  • Hummus with sliced tomato, pepper and cucumber in a whole-wheat pita
  • String cheese
  • Hummus cups
  • Whole fruit (plums, peaches, banana)
  • Cut vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery)

As you can't bring liquids (or ice!) into the airport terminal, place the food in a small insulated pouch and bring empty resealable plastic bags. At the airport fill the resealable plastic bags with ice to make your own ice pack.

Traveling always makes me hungry, and the last thing I want to do is check into my hotel and run to the vending machine. Instead, I ask ahead if there is a supermarket nearby and if the room has a refrigerator and microwave oven.

At the supermarket, I pick up easy finger foods that require little or no prep, such as fruits, pre-cut veggies or baby carrots, dry roasted nuts, Greek yogurt, and whole-grain cereal and milk. If I know there's a microwave, I will pre-make several brown bags with popcorn kernels to pop in the microwave.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »


Easy Healthy Hotel Meals

Let’s just start off this post with a true statement: I’m frugal. So yes, this is about making and enjoying easy healthy hotel meals – but the purpose is twofold. One, I don’t like to vary up my eating routine too much when I travel, but I also can’t stomach paying for 3 meals a day for me and my family of six. It’s not economical and it’s not healthy. Who wants all of the extra sugars, sodiums and preservatives that come with eating all of your meals out?! With a little planning, it’s very doable to make some easy healthy hotel meals to include breakfasts, heartier snacks, and even a main meal or two.

Items to bring along to make easy healthy hotel meals

Before diving into various ideas of what to make and how to prepare it, there are some key items that I suggest bringing along to your hotel. Don’t forget to inquire ahead of time with the property that you’re staying at – what does your room include? Is there a coffee maker? Microwave? Mini fridge with room to store items? If breakfast is served daily, you’ll likely find a microwave along with lots of utensils down in the lobby that you can and should take advantage of.

  • Asturdy cooler. Even if the room has a mini fridge within, to really stock the room for more than one person, you’re going to need a cooler. Upon arriving at your destination, find the vending machine for ice and stock it to keep foods cold. You’ll need to do this daily.
  • Utensils. I like to have a few utensils – either disposable or eco-friendly – along with a good knife (think cutting apples, avocados, etc.)
  • A can opener. Helpful for things like canned chicken or beans, which can be very realistic when eating in a hotel room.
  • Plates – Don’t forget this necessity! A bowl or two may be helpful, too. – This one is optional, but if you enjoy smoothies, this should absolutely take the place of one pair of shoes in your bag! – With your various dishes and pieces, this is an essential you mustn’t forget.
  • A cutting board – While completely optional, this can certainly come in handy if you’ll be doing some food preparation in your room.

Hotel Room Breakfast Ideas

Perhaps the easiest meal of the day to create in a hotel room is breakfast. Here are some ideas that you can either make ahead of time, or prepare in the room:

    are easy to make by adding oats to milk (use dairy-free if desired) and a few other ingredients. Let them sit overnight in the mini fridge and top with some fruit in the morning for a satiating, fiber-full breakfast. is another super easy one that combines chia seeds again with milk or dairy-free milk and some desired toppings. Five minutes of preparing the night before will have you ready to roll in the morning these can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to four days, meaning make them before you head out of town and bring them in a cooler.
  • Warm oatmeal is easy to make in the room as well. No microwave? No problem. Run water through the coffee maker/Keurig and pour it onto quick oats to heat. Again, add berries/fruit as desired.
  • Avocados can provide a filling, nutrient-dense option for a hotel room breakfast (or lunch!) Simply cut in half (ask for utensils in the lobby if you forget them) and top with salt and pepper, scoop out and enjoy. Or bring a loaf of bread along and scoop some onto a piece of bread to make a sandwich. If you’re feeling creative, add a tomato to your packing, slice that and add tomato slices to your avocado sandwich.
  • If your travel time to your destination is not long, make some hard boiled eggs ahead of time and bring them to store in the mini fridge, or in a cooler – see above. Eat a few of these along with a piece of fruit or some vegetables for a grain-free breakfast.
  • Make some homemade pancakes prior to heading out, and again keep them in your fridge or cooler until ready to enjoy. Heat in the microwave and enjoy. Hint: if your room doesn’t have a microwave, check the lobby as they may have one downstairs! are a wonderful breakfast, lunch or snack. If you’re into them, be sure to bring along your high speed blender so that you can enjoy.
  • A simple nut butter sandwich (with our without jelly) is always a winner in my book – regardless of your age! And it doesn’t get much simpler than this. Portable nut butters, a loaf or bread and a butter knife and you’re set.
  • Cereal and milk. Doesn’t get much easier than this!

With a little planning, eating healthy in a hotel room is easy. And whether you’re in a hotel or not, it’s easy to eat healthy when traveling, too! Let me know if you have suggestions to share in the comments below!


How Many Cheat Meals Should You Have Per Week?

Cheat days, cheat meals&mdashif you're going to "cheat," do it with maximum enjoyment and minimal guilt.

There&aposs no satisfaction like a few bites of greasy pizza when you&aposve been sticking to your healthy diet for the past month-until those few bites lead to a few slices, and that one bad meal leads to an entire day of bad eating. Suddenly, you&aposve had a whole weekend of cheat meals. and potentially the pounds to show for it. Giving yourself just three cheat days a week is enough to impact your gut health as badly as a consistent diet of junk food, according to a study in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Meanwhile, another study from the University of Georgia found that 61 percent of people gain weight while on vacation-anywhere from 1 to 7 pounds (yikes!).

Packing on a pound or two is really not that big a deal. But it&aposs easy to let one or two turn into five or 10, putting your motivation and health at risk.

"It&aposs easier to gain weight than it is to lose-and it&aposs certainly a lot more fun to gain than to lose it," says Alexandra Caspero, R.D., owner of weight-management and sports-nutrition service DelishKnowledge.com.

Even with willpower of steel, we&aposre all going to splurge on something sooner or later. So how many cheat meals a week are okay? And how do you keep one cheat meal from turning into a cheat month? By slowing down and following these 10 tips:

1. Stop thinking of it as "cheating."

First of all, you might want to reconsider calling it a cheat day or cheat meal in the first place. "The notion of a &aposcheat day&apos actually does more harm than good. If you dedicate a frame of time (a day, a week) as the time to &aposcheat,&apos then you&aposre more likely to eat just to eat because you feel like this is your one time to do so," says Caspero. Think of it as consciously indulging, offers Tori Holthaus, R.D.N., founder of Yes! Nutrition in Ohio. Find what matters to you-if brunch is your go-to meal, then enjoy that. If you love pizza, have a slice and really relish it. "There is so much power in enjoying your meal without guilt. Ironically, the more guilt we feel about eating decadent food, the more likely we are to overeat," Caspero adds.

2. Don't freak out.

That new pizza place up the block may certainly be trouble, but hitting it up a couple of times really isn&apost cause for alarm. "It does take some work to gain five pounds-it doesn&apost happen overnight," says Caspero. The average restaurant meal, for example, averagesਁ,000 calories or so. That&aposs certainly more than we typically eat at home, but it&aposs not thousands and thousands of calories, she points out. "Consistency matters-if you are eating out much more than you used to, you will likely see some weight gain. But it&aposs not going to be after one or two nights out."

Aim to stick to your healthy diet 90 percent of the time. If you eat three meals and a snack each day (plus a workout shake four days a week when you exercise, which may not be true for everyone), that means you eat 32 times per week. Twenty-nine of those 32 meals and snacks should stick to your healthy diet plan, leaving three to do whatever you want. It sounds simple, but once you start tracking your adherence to your diet plan, you&aposll be surprised how easy it is to skip a meal or grab a quick refined-sugar snack when you&aposre short on time. (Also consider theꂀ/20 rule for dietary balance.)

3. Put calories in context.

"To me, gaining a pound on vacation is worth it for the fun and experience, even if that means I need to add a few more workouts in when I get back," says Caspero. Too rigorous a diet and you&aposll be missing out on the local flavor-whether in a new city or the one you live in-so don&apost beat yourself up about it. (Related:Please Stop Feeling Guilty About What You Eat)

4. Limit yourself to one meal.

Eating foods that make you feel the best for most of your meals and then splurging on one is a great way to control your cravings without feeling like you missed out. "A balanced breakfast and lunch followed by a more indulgent dinner and drinks won&apost be as detrimental as a hearty breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks out," Caspero adds.

Most people don&apost feel good after stress-eating a bowl of Ben & Jerry&aposs on a Friday night. But if you plan ahead and reward yourself for a week of sticking to your diet and exercise plan with a bowl (not a pint) of Cake Batter ice cream, that feels different. Plan your splurges so that you can truly enjoy them. (Jen Widerstrom has some amazing tips for balance in ourꁀ-Day Challenge for Crushing Your Goals.)

5. Avoid throwing in the towel for the day.

"When you set yourself up for the traditional cheat day, there&aposs an all-or-nothing mentality," says Caspero. ("If I&aposve already ordered nachos, what difference is a hot fudge sundae going to make?!") Obviously, calling the whole day a wash is going to do a lot more damage than one bad meal would. "Allow yourself to eat what you really want in that moment and then continue on to your normal, healthier eating pattern," she says.

Surprisingly, knowing that you can cheat anytime usually lessens any desire food has over you, so tossing those restrictions will actually help you need restrictions less. And remember that cravings can go either way: "I often find that choosing healthy food once makes it easier to choose healthy food again, just like with indulging," Holthaus adds.

6. Stick to the same guilty pleasure.

It&aposs not just about weight gain or the psychological spiral of indulging in unhealthy fare. Junk food messes with your gut health, which can affect how well you process food and how your body gains weight. Research shows consistency in your diet helps support a healthy gut microbiome, so having a go-to cheat meal can actually help ease the turmoil it causes your GI tract, says Holthaus.

Don&apost reach for the baking mix just yet: "Rather than indulging in a large brownie as a cheat meal, you&aposre better off including a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs as part of your regular meals for better gut health and to help ease cravings," she adds.

7. Re-frame why you should eat healthily.

"Instead of feeling like you need to punish yourself with eating healthy after a cheat meal, I like to bring it back to what makes me feel good," says Caspero. "I don&apost have the same energy after eating a large stack of pancakes as I do after a green smoothie or yogurt and fruit bowl-so that feeling alone is motivating to me." After you enjoy an indulgent meal, think back to what foods make you feel the best and have that next. "Returning to the foods that make you feel good will help curb any binge or residual cheat-day effect," she adds. (See: How Bad Is Binge Eating Really?)

8. Follow splurges with detoxifying foods.

"Unfortunately, after a cheat meal there&aposs nothing you can do to undo the damage. But you can make a positive, healthy step to the future by focusing on foods you know are healthy," says Holthaus. Opt for foods that can help your body reset.਋roccoli, for example, is rich in glucoraphanin which helps power your body&aposs own detoxification pathways for up to 72 hours, she explains. Water and potassium-rich foods (dark leafy greens, avocados, and bananas) can help balance sodium levels in the body and reduce bloating, while probiotic-rich foods (like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi) can help offset the damage to your digestive system. "Bottom line: Don&apost stress and just get back on track." (Try this: What You Should Eat the Day After Indulging)

9. Hit the gym.

That cycle of bad cravings is hard to break. Returning to a healthy diet can help, but so can getting your heart rate up. "Exercise is a powerful tool for more than just a calorie burn. Psychologically, not only do you feel better, but you actually start to crave healthier food when you&aposre active," says Caspero. Same goes for while you&aposre away. That same University of Georgia study that showed people gain weight on vacation also found part of the reason the pounds stuck around was because most folks worked out less once they returned home. Keep your routine while away so you don&apost fall off the motivation bandwagon once you&aposre home "Anything counts when it comes to continuing an exercise pattern on vacation-hiking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, just walking around-make it fun," she adds.

10. Look at the scale after one month.

Don&apost beat yourself up for eating badly for one week or gaining a few pounds after a short holiday. But if you&aposre away for an extended period or have been eating poorly for a month or so, pay attention to how your jeans fit. "There is some research that shows the more you gain, the easier it is for your body to store extra calories as fat and add on the pounds," warns Caspero. If your Levi&aposs are starting to get a little snug, reconsider whether you&aposre indulging sporadically or need to truly clean up your diet.


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Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for direct, individual medical treatment or advice. It is the responsibility of you and your healthcare providers to make all decisions regarding your health. Bulletproof recommends that you consult with your healthcare providers regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any disease or condition. Products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Amanda Suazo is a copywriter and food blogger from northern California. An avid Bulletproof fan from the diet’s early days, she holds an MBA in marketing from the University of Washington. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing her kids (and probably serving them buttered veggies).