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4 ways to stay healthy on vacation

Does it ever seem like you return from a relaxing vacation only to find your clothes are too snug? Avoid splurge-induced weight gain with four simple tips from Jennifer Teems, MS, RD, LD, a clinical dietitian at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.

1. Eat a healthy breakfast

Most people don’t overindulge at breakfast, explains Teems, so make the first meal of the day a healthy one and save the treats for lunch, dinner or dessert. Not only will a healthy breakfast help you stay full so you don’t overdo it at other meals, it will also give you energy to enjoy a day of fun activities. An ideal breakfast includes low-fat protein, fresh fruit or vegetables, and whole grains.

Some quick, nutritious breakfast ideas include:

 - 6 ounces of Greek yogurt with sliced almonds and fresh fruit
 - Whole grain cereal with low-fat or soy milk and fresh fruit
 - A vegetable omelet - Oatmeal with almonds and berries
 - A whole grain waffle with peanut butter and fruit

2. Cook when possible

Teems likes to cook whenever she can during a vacation. If possible, select a hotel room, condominium or beach house that includes a kitchen so you can prepare your own healthy meals. You’ll also save money by not dining out at a restaurant three times a day. Stop by a local grocery store when you arrive at your destination or pack a cooler with your favorite healthy essentials.

3. Enjoy healthy snacks on the go

Stash low-maintenance snacks in your purse, cooler or beach bag to stay satiated and away from the hot dog or ice cream stand.

Easy snack options:

 - Dried fruit
 - Portable fresh fruit, like apples or bananas
 - Nuts - Apple sauce
 - Whole grain crackers and cheese
 - Greek yogurt

4. Indulge, but limit portion sizes.

Not only can constant overindulging on vacation lead to weight gain, it can also cause a dreaded “food coma” – and who wants to feel drowsy when you are socializing with your family and friends? “It’s okay to splurge for one meal a day on vacation, but don’t go absolutely crazy,” she says. “Some restaurant meals can contain as many as 3,000 to 4,000 calories.”

Consider splitting an entrée or take leftovers back to your hotel room to cut calories. And don’t ignore healthy dishes completely. “Eat things you enjoy, but choose healthy food whenever possible,” recommends Teems. “I don’t think healthy food and good-tasting food have to be mutually exclusive. Eat things you enjoy that are also healthy. But it’s okay to enjoy guilty pleasures on vacation, too.”

For additional healthy lifestyle ideas, click here.

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