- Do Your Pre-Travel Homework: It’s important to always do some pre-planning and preparation. If you can take some healthy food with you — fruits, cut-up veggies, plain instant oatmeal packets, etc. — this will save you from having to scrounge around for snacks. (You don’t want those hotel room refrigerators full of calorie-dense items like candy bars and sodas “calling out” to you.) If you’re flying or taking a long trip, it’s also great to bring some snacks along to curb cravings.
It is also a good idea to do a little homework about restaurants that are available around the area of your hotel. Many restaurants have their menus posted on their websites, so you can investigate the types of food that the restaurant serves before you go.
- Use the Concierge: Keep in mind that the hotel and concierge are there to help you. A strategy our guests at Pritikin often use is enlisting the aid of the hotel concierge before and once you arrive at your destination. Concierges are often very knowledgeable about nearby restaurants, and maybe even know of particular chefs who enjoy the creative challenge of preparing food that is both delicious and very low in waistline killers like fats, oils, and sugars.
- Beware the Breakfast Buffet: The buffets at your hotel and elsewhere can wreck havoc on not only your waistline but your heart! Be sure to sidestep the sausages and other meats, full of artery-damaging saturated fat and instead, head for the omelet bar. Ask for an egg-white omelet and look for healthy fillers like mushrooms, peppers, onions, and other veggies. While your omelet’s cooking, pile up another plate with lots of fresh fruit. Add some treats, like raspberries, to a big bowl of hot oatmeal. Top with nonfat milk or soymilk. Bravo! You’ve just put together a big satisfying breakfast that benefits both heart and waistline.
- Sightsee Wherever you Can: Vacations usually take you to new places, so take the time to explore. Instead of hailing a taxi, take a walk to your destination. Not only are you burning calories, but you are sightseeing and experiencing your surroundings first-hand as well!
- Take in the local farmers’ markets (and take out farm-fresh goodies): When traveling, take the opportunity to learn about local foods by visiting outdoor markets, grocery stores, etc. It is fun to learn about all the different exotic fruits and vegetables that are unique to the area. Buy some. That way, you’ll have healthy snacks in your daypack whenever hunger hits. Ask locals how they grow and prepare these foods. Take a cooking lesson from a local chef. Not only is this broadening your horizons but it’s also saving you from the high-fat, high-sodium, unhealthy options that restaurants usually offer.
Gayl Canfield, RD – Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center
Dr. Canfield has served as Nutrition Educator at the Pritikin Longevity Center since 2005. Pritikin’s residential program is based on daily exercise and natural, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and limited lean meat.
Since 1975, more than 100 studies in top medical journals have documented the Pritikin Program’s success in helping the Center’s 90,000+ guests achieve lifelong weight control, improve cholesterol levels, normalize blood pressure, decrease inflammatory markers, control blood sugar, avoid bypass surgery, and substantially reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate.