By Dr. Mike Moreno
Author of The 17 Day Diet
Many Americans are skipping air travel this summer, choosing to save money by hitting the road. I applaud their budget-friendly efforts. But with car travel comes true temptation in the form of fast food, weary families, and growling tummies. Don’t think the only way to be budget-friendly is by buying junk food—that will only fill you up, but it will not nourish you. In a few hours you will have eaten all the calories of the day and be hungry again.
Instead make sure to eat lean proteins and high-fiber vegetables that will fill you up, giving you energy to concentrate on your drive and keeping you satisfied until your next meal. There are so many simple ways to stay on your healthy eating plan and still enjoy your vacation.
• Road trips = snacking. Don’t give your kids sweets and chips to keep them quiet. Pack a cooler and fill it with apples, grapes, carrots, and celery sticks.
• Bring water instead of sugary juices.
• Don’t eat in the car just because you’re bored. Plan ahead and bring games, music, movies, or an audio book.
With most restaurants these days, you can go online and look at their menus. See what dishes look healthy—grilled items, salads, vegetable sides, and so forth. Decide before you go what you’ll order, and stick to your decision once you get there. Collect the menus in the restaurants you frequent so that you have them to refer to.
• Be prepared before you go out to eat at a restaurant. Check out online menus and decide what you will order.
• Sit in a quiet spot (people eat more in noisy restaurants) and be the first to order, so that you’re not influenced by what your friends order.
• Be assertive with the wait staff. Ask how foods are prepared, and request that your order be made according to low-fat, low-calorie preparation methods.
• Make a meal out of appetizers, since appetizer portions are often smaller than entrees.
• Order salad dressing on the side, or bring your own. Olive oil and lemon is a healthy and delicious alternative to cheesy restaurant dressings.
• Enjoy alcohol in moderation, since it can increase your appetite and lower your inhibitions.
• Practice portion control. Don’t eat the whole thing; take some home for lunch or dinner the next day.
• Try the three-bite rule, especially for desserts.
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