I recently made a trip with 5 friends from my dietetic internship and thought it was interesting to see some trends. This trip started out with a car trip to our central destination, Pipestem State Park in southern West Virginia. From there we did long day trips to Beckley and to the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. Based on my observations of how this group of RDs combined vacation fun and healthy eating principles, here are 4 tips for eating well on vacation.
Plan Ahead. The group looked ahead to have healthy car snacks and breakfast foods for in-room meals. The snacks included plenty of water, whole grain crackers, Kind Bars and fresh grapes. One couple likes to breakfast in their room when they travel, so they brought oatmeal packets and high fiber cereal and used hot water from their room coffee maker. Another group brought some pumpkin bread to share for breakfast.
I also noticed that the RDs were looking at the day as a whole. For example some passed on a dinner dessert because they had a lunch dessert. When we were planning an early lunch day, everyone ate lightly at breakfast.
Try New Foods. The members of the group took advantage of being in an unfamiliar locale to sample regional favorites. We sampled fried green tomatoes, excellent local barbecue, southern style biscuits, grits and locally brewed craft beers. My own favorite was the chilled peach soup at the Greenbrier. It was served with a dollop of whipped cream, raspberry coulis and a crispy almond macaroon and could have been dessert instead of an appetizer!
Include Fruits and Vegetables. I observed lots of side salads with meals. Group members usually chose plant based options such as coleslaw or fresh fruit as their side dishes.
Practice Portion Control. The group kept an informal eye on portions. Some chose to share entrees. Some did not eat the full portion served. (This was tough! We did not have refrigeration in our rooms, so what we did not eat had to be discarded.) Sometimes we were able to choose the smaller of two portion options. At one restaurant everyone was able to order breakfast from the children’s menu to get appropriate portions!
How have you applied similar approaches when traveling? Share your thoughts and insights at Facebook.com/Lunchbox-Nutritionist