Surviving Spring Break without Weight Gain

Spring break season is just around the corner, and as families, teens, and college students pack their bags, they can also not fret about packing on the pounds while vacationing by following a few basic tips.  Vacations and spring break are not the free ticket to gluttony.  When we’ve worked hard to get our beach-body looking good, there’s no need to blow it in a single short trip.  Follow these simple and easy suggestions to keep your body fit and trim long after the trip.

If you are going to a resort or all-inclusive, focus on low-fat menu choices.  The same can apply if you are renting a condo that offers a full kitchen where you can make quick and easy meals.  Breakfast might include scrambled eggs, omelets filled with veggies, fruit and cottage cheese, low-cal Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, or quiche.  Avoid the bacon, sausage, pancakes, cereals and other high-fat & high-carb meals.

Lunch might consist of lean protein such as a chicken breast over a bed of salad greens packed full of fresh, raw veggies with an olive oil dressing on the side.  You could also add two hard boiled eggs to the salad for an additional protein choice.  To get extra energy and satiety from your salad, add some legumes to it, such as black beans or garbanzo; or, opt to have a bowl of white bean chili, preferably with turkey or a lean beef.  Avoid those breadsticks and bread bowls though!  They’ll give you a quick sugar boost before the carbs start to crash and leave you feeling heavy and sluggish inside.

Keep variety in lean protein choices at dinner, such as salmon, white fish, turkey, BBQ boneless-skinless chicken (leave the sauce on the side), along with a good half-plate helping of roasted, raw, steamed or sautéed vegetables. Have a serving of wild rice or small baked potato, but hold the extra toppings and ask for butter on the side.

While you are having fun sightseeing and making memories, make sure to get in a handful or two of raw nuts and at least one to two fruits during the day.  Limit alcohol to one- 4 ounce wine for women or a 2 ounce liquor serving (opt for a potato vodka due to its low carb content) and two- 4 ounce wines for men or a 4 ounce liquor.  Try to avoid beer products, however, as these will dehydrate the body and pack on bloat pounds and mid-abdominal fat.

Stay hydrated!  By the time you are thirsty, your body has already gone into a state of dehydration.  Consuming at least 64 ounces of water a day (barring no heart or renal disease per your physician’s guidance) will keep your cells plump and assist them to receive the nutrients from the healthy foods you are eating; the added bonus is that you won’t feel so hungry in-between meals because the stomach receptors will sense fullness.  This will help prevent the urge to overeat.

Get some exercise.  Take walks on the beach and around town.  Rent a bicycle and tour the venues.  Go hiking if your destination includes forest or mountain terrains.  Go swimming, often!  Use the hotel or resort gym to do some daily stretches or cardio.  You’ll actually do more sightseeing and burn calories when you become part of the scenery than if you were to take a cab or drive around.  Last but not least, make sure to still get at least 6 hours of sleep per night.  You may want to party like a rockstar but your body will eventually protest through increased fatigue and weight gain.  So while you are enjoying vacation, stay mindful of healthy living techniques.  They are simple to apply and will leave you feeling relaxed, revitalized and prevent excess weight from coming home.

Contributed by Terri Caunt R.N., B.S.N.

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