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Tips for staying fit on summer vacation

Tuesday - 6/25/2013, 8:48am  ET

BikeBeach.jpg
Staying active and exercising moderation with food choices are crucial to maintaining your fitness while traveling. (Thinkstock)

Lisa Reed, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Traveling can be exciting and relaxing, but it can also wreck havoc on your diet and fitness goals.

From fast food options on road trips, to processed food on planes and all-you-can- eat inclusive destination packages, high-calorie meals and snacks are almost unavoidable on vacation.

But there are some measures you can take to make sure you pack in the fun, without packing on the pounds.

  • You don't need to eat out for every meal. Just because you are traveling does not mean you need to eat out for all of your meals. Stopping by a local market or food store when you reach your destination can end up saving you a ton of money -- and calories -- throughout your vacation, especially if you are staying in a condo or a hotel with a kitchen.

    If you know you want to eat lunch and dinner out, grab some bananas and Greek yogurt for breakfast. Pack nuts, fruit, veggies and hummus for a picnic on the beach, instead of ordering a burger and fries on the boardwalk. Grabbing some healthy snacks and meals is also a great way to skip the drive-through on a road trip.

  • Be active: Research what's around your hotel or rental house. Call the hotel ahead of time or do some internet research to find out what activities are included or are nearby. Does the hotel have a gym, tennis courts, bike rentals or a yoga studio? At the beach, sign up for surfing or paddle board lessons. It's easy to stay active when the activities are fun and special to vacation.

  • Keep your portion sizes in-check. Don't binge on the resort's buffet. Learn your portion sizes at home, first. By measuring your food at home once or twice, you will be able to estimate appropriate sizes in restaurants. Take your time when eating to allow your stomach to let you know when you're full.

  • Eat out smart. Look for restaurants that are within walking distance from the hotel so you can stay active to-and-from your meal. Also, eat a planned snack about one hour before you go out. This way, you will not show up famished and demolish the bread basket.

  • Exercise moderation, even on vacation. Sure, it's vacation, so you should try foods that you normally don't experience at home. But don't go overboard. Exercise moderation, even on vacation. For example, don't order dessert after every meal. And when you do splurge on something sweet, split it with a travel companion. The same goes for alcohol. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you should to drink in excess.

  • Stay away from buffets. You should not be eating "all-you-can-eat." The body is not meant to consume a large amount of calories at one time. If too many calories are consumed in one meal, the body automatically starts to store the energy as fat.

  • Don't be afraid to speak up at restaurants. Just because the menu doesn't say it, does not mean your request isn't possible. Look for opportunities to substitute a carb or starch with an extra serving of vegetables, and request sauces and dressings on the side. In many situations, you can chose how you want your food served.

  • Carry a resistance band in your suitcase. Resistance bands are light, small and easy to pack in a suitcase of any size. Find opportunities to grab a quick workout -- even in your hotel room. For ideas on resistance band exercises, watch the video below.

  • It's not about "perfection," it's about progress. To avoid a food panic, try to remain flexible on vacation. Stay on the lookout for healthier options, but don't forget to relax, too.

  • Stay hydrated. Don't forget to drink plenty of water while traveling.

Remember, it's a lifestyle. Being out of your routine often causes you to fall off your nutrition plan, but a simple trip should not trip you up for good.

No matter where you are, make healthy choices and stick to your routine the best you can. Anticipate the wonderful things you'll be doing, the sights you'll be seeing and remind yourself how great it feels to be able to walk and move more.

Check out Lisa Reed's videos for working out anywhere on vacation:

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Read more about Lisa at www.lisareedfitness.com. Follow @lisareedfitness and @WTOPLiving on Twitter.

© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

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