How to eat healthy on a trip

It is easy to overdo the eating and drinking on vacations, but the key is to 'eat smartly' to 'eat enjoyably', says New York-based nutritionist Joy Bauer.
It is easy to overdo the eating and drinking on vacations, but the key is to 'eat smartly' to 'eat enjoyably', says New York-based nutritionist Joy Bauer.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES

NEW YORK (NEW YORK TIMES) - When you’re on vacation, the temptations to overdo the eating and drinking are everywhere, said New York-based nutritionist Joy Bauer. 

After all, the specialties of your destination, the buffet breakfast at your hotel and treats are always at the ready. 

But Bauer said that a sensible diet doesn’t have to and shouldn’t fall by the wayside when on vacation. 

“Overindulging will leave you feeling sluggish and likely with a few extra pounds, but if you know how to eat smartly, you can still eat enjoyably,” she said. 

Below, Bauer’s tips on eating healthfully, yet pleasurably, on the next getaway. 

Travel with food

As a frequent traveller herself, Bauer never leaves home without a stash of healthy snacks and advised other travellers to do the same.

“When you have food handy that you like eating, you’re far less likely to grab something unhealthy,” she said.

Options include whole fruit such as apples, nuts already portioned in quarter-cup serving sizes, pumpkin seeds and roasted edamame. (Or, consider Bauer’s line of granola bites, called Nourish.)

If you’re travelling by car, Bauer suggested taking a small cooler along filled with mess-free foods like hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and nut butter, or turkey sandwiches. 

Fast food can be healthy

Fast-food restaurants abound at airports and at highway rest stops, and Bauer said they’re not off-limits so long as you order the right foods. Choose a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato (hold the mayo) and a side salad. If you enjoy hamburgers, order a single patty, and top it with extra lettuce and tomatoes. Can’t resist French fries Order the smallest size, and eat half. 

Bauer also said that several fast-food chains offer fruit-topped oatmeal and yogurt parfaits that make for satisfying and tasty snacks. 

When in Rome, splurge strategically

Trying the local cuisine, Bauer said, is a pleasurable part of any vacation.

“You can and should let yourself enjoy one ‘cheat’ food each day, but be selective and pick something that is unique to that destination,” she said.

That could mean veal Milanese in Milan, a lobster roll in Maine, a chocolate croissant in France and pad thai in Thailand. Stick to a reasonable portion of whatever you choose, and savour every bite. 

Watch those sips

Drinks don’t fill you up, and many are packed with sugar and calories. Bauer said that it’s best to skip sweetened iced teas and lemonades throughout the day – seltzer flavoured with fruit is an appealing alternative. When it comes to alcohol, many cocktails, including margaritas, can easily top 500 calories. Drink wine or a light beer instead. Or try a lower-sugar mixed drink such as vodka with club soda and a splash of fruit juice or a gin and tonic.