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Division of the J. Moss Foundation

Preventing Vacation Weight Gain

 Are you counting down the days to your long deserved summer get-away? 

Whether you are going to an exotic beach destination, traveling abroad, camping in the great outdoors, road tripping, or taking the family to Disneyland, try not to let this year’s summer vacation be a free pass to indulge in high calorie and fat foods while away from home.  This type of splurge will leave you with an unwanted souvenir around your waist line well after the vacation ends

Vacationing and Leaving with Souvenirs, Not Weight Gain

Just as you map out your vacation plans, it is essential to map out your meals as well.  First think about your travel plans.  If you have a long day of traveling ahead, pack healthy snacks to help get you to your destination without having to make an unplanned stop at the vending machine or gas station. 

Snack choices on the road are usually packaged, processed foods that are high in sodium and fat.  Freeways and airports are lined with fast food restaurants, which can easily find a way to pack 700 to 2000+ calories into your meal.    

Here are some tips to incorporate into your trip.  And, hey, who knows… maybe you will save some money for a real souvenir!

  1. Do your homework:  Think about the plans you have for the day, bring snacks to help prevent mustering up an enormous appetite.  Plan meal stops on the road using  to find your best options.  Here are some great travel friendly snack ideas. 
  • Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, red pepper strips
  • Baked sweet potato fries/chips
  • Edamame
  • Homemade trail mix made with high fiber cereal, nuts, dried fruit
  • Fruits – apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, peaches, pears
  • Peanut butter and celery
  • Kashi and Fiber One bars
  • Popcorn
  • Almonds


2. Pick your pleasure:  Eating traditional foods should definitely be part of your vacation, that is if you enjoy some good Southern Cooking, Kansas City Barbeque, or fresh fish on the beach!  Plan your attack wisely, one approach is to have 2 good sound nutritious meals such as breakfast and lunch and enjoy the local favorite for the 3rd meal. 


 3. Find your fruits and vegetables:  Identify the closest farmer’s market or grocery store to your destination in hopes to stock up on some healthy foods.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are a nice addition to any meal.  Think of all the calories and fat you will save by pairing your fast food sandwich with carrots and strawberries – replacing the French fries of course. 

In case you are wondering this will save you 130-400 calories every day, which will help prevent ¼-1 pound weight gain over your 7-10 day vacation!

4. Beware of the mini umbrellas:  Fruity poolside cocktails along with other types of alcohol and mixed drinks can provide quite a powerful punch of calories.  Try drinking in moderation and alternating drinks with a glass of water to prevent dehydration!


5. Get a taste of your destination on foot:  Exercise should be your best friend on vacation, especially when enjoying the higher calorie foods outside of your home!  Here are some bonus kcal burning tips!    

  • Skip that cab ride!  Take walks around the city, theme park, beaches, etc. every day.
  • Bring travel size exercise equipment – jump rope, exercise bands, and of course your tennis shoes.
  • Check out the hotel pool.  Treading water, swimming laps, and running in place can burn some extra calories while you are enjoying the weather. 
  • Find out if your hotel has an exercise room, fitting in 30 minutes of exercise can really keep your energy level up for the day.
  • Do squats, crunches, pushups, wall sits, and other exercises in your hotel room.
  • Walk the airport during layovers and skip the moving walk ways.
  • Be especially active and food conscious on driving days.  Try jumping jacks or playing a game (some form of physical activity) at each of your pit stops!

Vacations present difficult situations in which eating healthy can be a challenge.  Do your best to plan ahead for healthy meals, snacks and exercise on the road to avoid bringing home anything other the souvenirs you bought.  A good goal for vacation is weight maintenance!  Enjoy!

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