From all-you-can-eat cruising to fireside camping, how to eat, drink, and still stay slim on your next getaway
IT'S YOUR VACATION-- you've earned the right to indulge. The trick is to not undo all the health gains you've made the rest of the year. Here, simple strategies that let you have your cake, fruity drink, or burger-- without gaining an ounce.
In the Car
Driving all day cuts your average daily calorie burn by 400. Follow these tips to help readjust your intake (from your normal 1,800 calories to 1,400, for example) and bypass the thousands of junk-food-filled rest stops along US highways.
• Drink up
"The recirculated air in a car can make you thirsty, which you might mistake for hunger," says Charles Stuart Platkin, MPH, founder of dietdetective.com
. Keep plenty of water on hand.
Seek fresh food
Although a handful of drive-thrus sit right off the highway, a grocery store--with many more good-for-you options-is probably only a few minutes further; there you can get a healthy meal-turkey on whole wheat from the deli, an apple, and fat-free yogurt--for less than 350 calories. Or pick up a copy of Healthy Highways, a guide to more than 1,900 nutritious eateries across the United States
. Download updates at healthyhighways.com
before you depart to help you plan your meal stops.
Pack healthy snacks
Load a cooler with low-cal, protein-rich foods, such as apple slices and peanut butter--the protein keeps you fuller longer. Our favorite: Rubbermaid 9-Liter Thermo-Electric Travel Cooler and Warmer ($50; Target). For a longer haul, consider renting a car with a built-in cooler, like the Dodge Caliber or Avenger.
At a Campsite
Fresh air, stories around the fire, and dinners under the stars: For most of us, that's the perfect recipe for a weekend in the woods. Here, the right ingredients to make it healthier.
• Trade the dogs, swap the s'mores
Instead of all-beef, get turkey, veggie, or tofu hot dogs--all lower in fat. And to shave many calories off dessert, try this tweaked s'mores recipe: Break up a 100-calorie Hershey's Dark chocolate or a Cadbury Thins Premium Dark chocolate bar and wrap it in foil with one large marshmallow and sliced banana; roast a few minutes over the fire, then grab a spoon.
• Make a fish stop
Swing by a grocery store on the way to the grounds for a piece of trout or salmon. (You don't have to catch it--unless you want to.) Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper and serve with easy-to-prepare dehydrated vegetables (harmony housefoods.com has a great selection). For simple outdoor grilling, get the Coleman Fold 'n' Go Propane InstaStart Stove ($80, fuel sold separately; available at sporting-goods stores). With two separate skillets, you can make the fish in one and veggies in the other.
Fuel up for hikes, snack lightly for strolls
Pack some sustenance if you're heading out for 2-or 3-mile stretches. Easy-to-tote fruit-and-nut bars such as Lärabar (starting at 190 cal, 9 g fat) or Clif Nectar (starting at 150 cal, 5 g fat) provide the energy you need, and you'll burn off the calories. For less strenuous exercise, stick to fruit or a few almonds.
On a Cruise
With pizza served at 3 PM, dinner at 6 PM, and a 24-hour dessert cart, most cruises are one big, endless buffet. "Just because they feed you 18 times a day doesn't mean you have to eat 18 times a day," says Davida F. Kruger, MSN, author of The Diabetes Travel Guide. Try to follow your at-home eating schedule, as well as these tips:
• Rein in the rum runners
Enjoy your favorite fruity concoction with lunch or a glass of wine with dinner, but when you're lounging by the pool, strolling the deck, or playing a midnight game of poker, order an alcohol-free fruit smoothie in a 5-ounce martini glass for about 90 calories or a seltzer spiked with juice and lime for around 30.
Scan the menus
Several cruise lines provide meals low in calories and fat: Cunard's Queen Mary 2 offers gourmet options prepared by Canyon Ranch Spa chefs, including tortilla soup with pico de gallo (85 cal, 5 g fat) and spinach and roasted beet salad (110 cal, 4 g fat). Crystal Cruises has low-carb ice cream, and Silversea Cruises offers Iced Key Lime Cheesecake and Peach Crumb Cobbler at less than 200 calories each.
Always use the salad plate
Be it for the breakfast bar, lunch buffet, or dinner entree, this tried-and-true trick will help keep your portions in control. Use it to eat a salad before each meal, too--another way to cut your total calories.
The Top Places to Stay Fit
We looked at dozens of airports, hotels, and fast-food restaurants to find these healthiest locales.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County
All but 2 of this airport's 56 eateries were deemed healthy in a 2006 survey. Top picks for high-fiber, cholesterol-free meals: grilled veggie sandwich at Max & Erma's and sushi and seaweed salad at Musashi. Pack gym clothes for a long layover: $15 buys a day pass to the Westin hotel's gym (terminal A). Find other in-airport workout centers at airportgyms.com.
LOWEST CAL DRIVE-THRU
Avoid the breakfast items (too high in fat), but enjoy a healthy offering of salads and sandwiches, such as the Southwest Chargrilled Salad (240 cal, 8 g fat) and the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (270 cal, 3.5 g fat).
FITTEST HOTEL CHAIN
You can request an in-room treadmill or stationary bike, plus your pick of Pilates, yoga, and Spinning DVDs. Some US Virgin Island locations offer hula hoop classes set to '50s music, or you can play tennis with a pro on Grand Slam surfaces at the Grand Bahama Island resort. The Chicago Westin even offers freshly laundered workout clothes and sneakers.
DRINK AND STILL DROP POUNDS
Three new, ice-cold, low-cal treats for the road
• JAMBA JUICE PEACH PERFECTION SMOOTHIE A blend of peaches, mangoes, and strawberries, it provides three servings of fruit, as well as 4 g of fiber. (200 cal, 0 g fat)
• STARBUCKS ORANGE CRÉME FRAPPUCCINO LIGHT This combo of cream and zesty orange juice has half the calories of the full-fat version. (110 cal, 0 g fat)
• SEATTLE'S BEST COFFEE COLD BREWED VANILLA LATTE Get a caffeine fix with this mix of iced coffee, vanilla syrup, and milk (ask for fat-free). Prefer soy milk or sugar-free syrup? It's fully customizable. (80 cal, 0 g fat)
By Amy Gorin