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Complimentary breakfast buffets. Fruity drinks with umbrellas. Lying on the beach doing nothing. These are the hallmarks of a great summer vacation, but they can also be the signs of an unhealthy one.
“Vacations are a necessary break from your routine,” says Christina Kuo, MD, an internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. “But your body needs you to stick with some sort of fitness and diet plan.”
1. Go easy on breakfast. “It’s easy to want to get the most out of a complimentary breakfast buffet,” Dr. Kuo says. “But this often leads to overeating—and eating things like bacon and high-fat pastries.” Opt instead for a moderate amount of food and stick with whole-grain cereals, nonfat milk, fruit and eggs (skip the cheese), she advises.
2. Watch out for calories in drinks. Whether you feel at liberty to drink more soda and lattes than usual or opt for virgin fruity beverages, drinks can pack a caloric punch. “If you want to indulge a little, that’s OK,” Dr. Kuo says. “But try to avoid more than two fruit or sugary drinks each day, and be sure to drink plenty of water.”
3. Get moving. Keeping vacation weight gain at bay can be as simple as maintaining an exercise program. “Use the hotel gym,” Dr. Kuo says. “Or make sure you’re otherwise active. Go hiking, take walks on the beach, go cycling—whatever you can fit in.”
4. Slather on sunscreen. “Always wear sunscreen, and avoid the beach or the pool from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun is strongest,” Dr. Kuo says.
5. Eat smart. Yes, indulge in local cuisine, but eat consciously, Dr. Kuo says. “You don’t have to miss out on local customs,” she adds. “But you can still control your portion sizes and offset unhealthy meals with more nutritious, lighter ones.”
Tips for healthy cooking, dining out and traveling are part of Baylor Plano’s Nutrition Services. For a referral to a physician on the medical staff at Baylor Plano, click here.
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