Travel Healthier, Eat Lighter

black couple grilling during family outing( — Road trips, vacations, BBQs, and family reunions tend to fill our days with fun, family, and food. While we look forward to this time of year, it can leave you welcoming fall with a few extra pounds. Combining all of our favorite things can cause us to lose the discipline and control that you can normally have when not faced with so much temptation. By planning and researching a little, you can have your fun and eat, too!

When taking a road trip, consider planning your meals out just as you would anything else:

If you are driving to your destination, find out what restaurants are along the way and identify a good place and time to stop for a meal. Once you have determined where you will be going, look up the nutrition facts and decide on what you will order. While we may not always be able to stick to the plan, at least you have one. Your research will help you to make the best, educated decision and your body will thank you. Having heavy, high calorie, high carbohydrate meals while traveling can reduce your energy level. Keep these same tips in mind when flying to your destination. Stay well hydrated to prevent fatigue and choose fresh, whole foods that are well balanced with the combination of carbohydrates or starches, protein, and vegetables. You will feel great and you will be able to fight off jet lag before it sets in.

If you are going to a family function nearby, you can take control into your own hands. Of course you will indulge in a few favorites that you only have a few times a year, but by bringing a healthy dish, you provide yourself with options that can fit into your meal plan. You will be surprised at how many other guests will be interested in trying your healthy treats and you may inspire other guests to offer healthier options.

We have to remember to incorporate the last, important piece of the puzzle to a healthy summer, exercise. When traveling, always check to see if the hotel you are staying in has a gym that you can use. This gives you the option to get in some cardio exercise and weight training to balance out any extra calories you may consume. Also, incorporate activity into your plans. Take a walking tour late in the evening when it is cooler, have some outdoor games set up for the family, or even walk the terminal in the airport while waiting for your flight. Remember that calorie consumption is a balance; you must burn more calories than you consume to lose or maintain weight, especially when on vacation.

Take a few extra steps to end your summer on a healthy, happy note and welcome fall without those added pounds. Your body will thank you for it!