Staying Healthy on The Road
I don’t know how many times I’ve plopped down on my couch after a trip, felt an uncomfortable tightness in my jeans, and said “God, I ate to much this week.” Vacations are times to relax, indulge, and forget daily worries, but can’t you’re your health to far out of your mind. It’s about more than just eating right to avoid putting in over time at the gym when you return; making healthy choices on the road will keep you safe and feeling good so you can enjoy your trip more. Believe me, I know, it’s not easy, but here are some tips on how to have fun without falling off the edge when you’re traveling.
1) Yes, French fries are made from potatoes.
No, two medium orders from McDonald’s do not count as your daily servings of vegetables. But that doesn’t always mean that a drive thru salad is the best choice either. For example, the Chicken BLT salad from Wendy’s is 780 calories, while the Ultimate Grilled Chicken sandwich from you might have avoided, when paired with a side Caesar is only 580. Every fast food chain has their nutritional information available online or in the restaurant so look at it and know your options.
When you’re stopping for food, though, don’t eat fast food every time. Try and enjoy new places and local types of food; you can always get Burger King at home. When you eat out with your friends pay attention to the size of the plates you pass when you’re walking back to your table. Chances are you won’t have a fridge to store leftovers, so if the meals are huge portions, split something. This will keep you from feeling like you have to get your moneys worth and clear your plate. Everyone in your travel caravan can also order something different and share. This will make sure you’re getting a variety of foods and nutrients and let you enjoy a little of everything.
Also be careful of snacking on the road. Chips and Hostess treats are tasty, but they don’t keep you full long and obviously aren’t that healthy. If you need to munch on the road try a box of you favorite cereal or finger fruits like grapes or berries. And always remember, no matter how good it is, moderation. After over eating day after day, especially if it’s greasy food, you’ll feel like crap and won’t be having as much fun.
2) Get plenty of sleep.
I know motel beds, friends’ couches, or other places to crash are not optimal and maybe few and far between, but still you need shut eye. Spending long hours driving exhausts you more than you think and trying to drive on too little sleep is dangerous. And once you’re at your destination, how can you sightsee if your eyes are aching. I’m not saying you should call it a day by 8PM (nightlife can be the best part of trips) but if you’re out late, sleep in. You don’t have to be at work or class, so stay snuggled up and rest.
3) I like to party and I’m sure you do as well.
After all we have to get our good times before our bones start to ache. But that doesn’t mean we have should be stupid. That said have fun but remember this friendly public service announcement. When you go out on the road, you’re in unfamiliar places, with people you don’t know. Of course this can be interesting and a great way to meet people, but be aware of your surroundings and what parts of town are safe at what times. And never go out unless you’re with a group, more than three but less than seven works best. This way you have a safe number, but no one will get lost. Watch your drinks and watch out for each other.
4) When you the chance, move by your own means.
No matter how new and exciting Segway tours may seem, take walking or bike tours. There’s something that is lost when you explore a new place by cars or buses. The car’s pine air fresheners and radio overwhelm the smells, sounds, and feel of the place. You notice and appreciate more when you’re walking. It offers more freedom to go where you please because you’re not constrained by parking or one-way streets and gives you a chance to stretch your legs and exercise. Also going for a walk or a run can help you clear your head after spending hours in a confined car or hotel room with the same people. Just make sure to pack a good pair of shoes so your feet enjoy the trip as much as you do.
By Kristen Klempert