Vacation season is here and it’s no surprise that what you eat can have an impact on your weight. In a study from the University of Georgia, 61 percent of the participants gained weight while on vacation, with an average gain of 0.7 pounds. Some even gained up to 7 pounds. Making healthy choices, even while on vacation, can be as easy as one, two, three when you have the right tools. Courtney McCormick, Corporate Dietitian at Nutrisystem, shares foods that should be on your watch list and go-to list, and how alcohol can fit into your vacation and weight loss plan — yes, you read that right!
FOODS ON THE WATCH LIST
• Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter: There’s not a big difference in calories between reduced and full-fat varieties. In fact, full-fat peanut butter is chock full of monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. You can also look for natural peanut butter, which usually has less salt and sugar.
• Multigrain Bread: People who eat whole grains are at lower risk of certain chronic diseases. But read labels carefully. While the term “whole grain” is regulated, “multigrain,” “7-grain,” and “ancient grains” are just marketing terms.
• Granola: Yes, granola can deliver proteinand healthy fats, but eat it sparingly. One cup can have up to 600 calories which is the same as a Big Mac. And that’s without milk!
• Sports Drinks: Red-flag number one: sugar is high on the ingredients list second only to water. Red-flag number two: there are two-and-a-half servings in each bottle, meaning you could be gulping down as much as 52.5 grams of sugar.
• Fast Food Salads: Some fast food salads can have more calories, fat and sodium than burgers because of add-ons like cheese, meat and heavy dressings.
FOODS ON THE GO-TO LIST
• Fruits and Veggies: No surprise here! Essential to a healthy diet, pack that cooler with them for a healthful snacking alternative.
• Nuts, Seeds and Popcorn: Healthy fats like nuts and seeds make great snacks and crunchy salad toppers. Walnuts may be best when it comes to cutting inflammation and cholesterol. Just watch your portions — a little goes a long way. And, plain air-popped popcorn is a good alternative to chips, delivering fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, one cup contains only around 30 calories.
• Protein: Think eggs, chicken, lean steak, edamame, quinoa or protein shakes. Begin your day with protein and you’ll be off to a good start.
• Healthy Sandwiches: Ditch white bread and rolls for whole grains and sandwiches with veggies and hummus instead of cheese.
ROOM FOR ALCOHOL?
Participants of the University of Georgia study doubled their alcohol consumption during vacations, which contributed to weight gain. However, you don’t need to say no to alcohol altogether, just keep a few things in mind. Watch the added sugar of mixers and flavored liquors and choose light beers. Also, stick to drier wines, such as Merlot and Chardonnay, and opt for liquors like gin, vodka, rum, tequila, scotch and bourbon. And finally, remember to drink in moderation. One drink per day for women and two for men is best while on vacation.
For more great tips, visit Nutrisystem’s website, The Leaf. Remember, vacation doesn’t need to hinder your weight loss eorts. Good choices can keep you on the weight loss track — on vacation and all year round!