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On Vacation On A Diet

It is easy to say: "I'm on vacation!" and then indulge yourself with whatever food that comes your way. What can you do to stay on track?

On The Saturday Early Show, Dr. Mallika Marshall tries to keep you at least from falling under the wagon. You may gain a couple of pounds while on vacation, but you don't have to go hog wild.

Here are her suggestions:

Plan Ahead. When you're packing your clothes for your trip, consider packing some non-perishable healthy snacks that fit your diet. This way, you're less likely to cheat with candy bars and potato chips when you're on the road. Also, if you're taking a road trip, familiarize yourself with the menus at chain restaurants and fast-food joints so you can make healthy choices. A lot of these places offer fresh salads, fresh fruit, and grilled sandwiches that aren't that bad for you.

Beware Of Salads. Look at the nutritional content of some of the salads found at fast food restaurants and most sit-down restaurants. Salads that are served with fried chicken tenders or creamy dressings often have more calories than a small burger. So don't assume it's healthier for you just because it's a salad.

Share Entrees. Restaurant portions are so much larger than what we tend to eat at home. Consider sharing an entrée with your friend or family member. It will help you save money and calories. Consider ordering two appetizers instead of an appetizer, salad, entrée and two sides. Often, the appetizers are more tempting than the main meals and you're likely to eat less in the long run.

Know The Menu. Be aware of code words on a menu such as:

  • fried
  • creamy
  • buttery
  • breaded
  • sautéed
    All these words mean the food likely contains a lot of fat and excess calories. Of course, it's OK to have fried dough, lobster drenched in butter or creamy mashed potatoes every once in a while, but don't make it a habit on your vacation. Instead, search for good words like grilled and baked.

    Monitor Alcohol Intake. Who doesn't like a fruity cocktail while on vacation, such as a pina colada or strawberry daiquiri? But the calories can really add up with these yummy drinks. Not only does the alcohol have calories, but so do the sugary fruit juices mixed in it. So if you're going to indulge, have only one. Even better, instead, have a glass of wine or light beer. Remember, a lot of drinks served in restaurants and at bars are much bigger than a typical serving size, so you're getting even more calories and more liquor than you may think.

    Plan Physical Activities. Exercise is such a crucial part of staying fit and healthy. Just because you're on a diet doesn't mean you should sit around and "veg." Vacation can often give you even more opportunities to stay active and have fun at the same time. Try going for a walk on the beach, play a little tennis, or go swimming. Try to work some physical activity into your leisure time as well.