How to Prevent Weight Gain on VacationHow to Prevent Weight Gain on Vacation


Prevent Weight Gain on Vacation

You deserve some rest and relaxation while on vacation, but that doesn't mean you have to pack on the pounds. By incorporating a few simple practices, you can enjoy your break without returning with unwanted weight.

Stay active

Incorporate activity into your trip, but this doesn't mean you have to spend every morning in the hotel gym. A vacation is a time to take a break from your normal routine and try some activities that are unique to your travel. Hike a national park, rent a city bike, or hit the water for paddle boarding. Even sightseeing on foot or a day of shopping at the outlet mall will keep you moving and burn extra calories.

Plan your treats ahead of time

It’s okay to enjoy ice cream with the family or a cocktail with friends. Planning when you will enjoy special treats will keep you from overindulging the entire trip. For example, if your trip will include special dinners, aim to eat light and healthy breakfasts and lunches. If you’d like to enjoy a cocktail on the beach in the afternoons, pass on dessert with dinner. By balancing your splurges, you can enjoy the foods you want without going overboard.

Fill up on lighter foods

You can have foods like French fries and cinnamon rolls at home any time of year. Vacation often takes you to warmer climates where fresh foods are easily accessible. Take advantage of tropical fruits, salads made with seasonal vegetables, and grilled fish and seafood. These foods provide a healthy way to enjoy local flavors while saving calories.

Pack smart snacks

Whether you are traveling by car or airplane, don’t leave your hunger to chance. Airline meals and rest stop vending snacks can be loaded with calories and fat. Lack of planning causes you to waste calories on these foods just to curb your hunger. Pack small portions of homemade trail mix or dried cereals. Take along a few pieces of fruit or natural fruit leather. Pack a variety of sweet and salty options so you can fulfill any craving in a healthy way.

Dress comfortably

You never know when you might have the opportunity to go for a quick walk or take the stairs. These are valuable moments that get you moving between long periods of sitting. Be ready for them by always wearing comfortable clothes and shoes that allow you to get active.

Let go of guilt

It’s easy to be so preoccupied with not gaining weight on vacation that you forget to enjoy yourself. Many times this leads to feelings of guilt when you do decide to have a treat. Guilt ruins the experience and prevents mindful eating. Incorporating a few of your favorite treats on vacation is part of a balanced eating plan, and balance is what a healthy lifestyle is all about.

Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Peas RecipeSoba Noodles with Broccoli and Peas


Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Peas Recipe

Soba is a Japanese buckwheat pasta that is lower in calories and contains fewer carbohydrates than most white pastas. In this recipe, it’s paired with nutritious stir-fried broccoli and peas.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 recipe
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11.4g
10%Saturated Fat 2.1g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 318mg
Total Carbohydrate 45g
Dietary Fiber 6.6g
Sugars 6.4g
Protein 14.4g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 2 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 ½ cups small broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh peas
  • ½ tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
  • 2 cups cooked soba noodles


  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high and add the raw cashews. Toss the cashews around the pan for about 3 minutes, until they begin to brown. Transfer the cashews to a bowl and remove the skillet from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil to the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and continue to cook for 6 minutes, until it turns bright green and starts to become tender.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the water. The water and steam will cook the broccoli further. Continue to stir and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the peas and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce. Sprinkle the vegetables with black sesame seeds and the reserved cashews.
  5. Divide the soba noodles between two serving bowls. Top each with half of the vegetables and serve.

Healthy Hiking for Weight LossHealthy Hiking for Weight Loss


Healthy Hiking for Weight Loss
Backpacking burns roughly 560 calories per hour

Combining the physical and mental benefits of a day hike with controlled calorie intake can make hiking an effective tool in your weight loss plan. Discover why hiking can help you lose weight and apply some of these tips to enhance the benefits.

The Benefit of Lower Intensity, Longer Duration Exercise

It was once believed that low to moderate intensity exercise was the most effective for weight loss due to the body’s reliance on fat for energy, often called the fat burning zone. However, current research suggests that total calories burned is a more important factor. When done for the same amount of time, more calories are burned during high intensity activities versus low intensity activities.

The long duration of hiking makes it effective for weight loss. It’s intensity level allows you to hike for hours, sometimes a full day, blasting hundreds of calories (480 calories per hour for a 150-pound female). Lower intensity, longer duration activities may also improve blood cholesterol levels and improve insulin function. A Dutch study found that when the same number of calories are burned, low intensity activity done throughout the day (walking, standing) may be more effective than short, intense activity at improving blood cholesterol and insulin levels.

The Impact of Nature on Health Behaviors

Research shows that exercising in nature can reduce feelings of depression and increase self-esteem. If weight loss is your goal, not only do these benefits give you the mental boost necessary to stick to your plan, but being surrounded by nature can influence your behaviors. Each day you are bombarded with triggers that lead to emotional eating whether it is a stressful encounter or a food commercial on television. Removing yourself from your current environment can help you recognize and control these triggers. The focus and mindfulness you gain can be applied when you return from the hike to further control emotional eating.

Watch Out for Energy Dense Snacks

Adults weighing 150 to 200 pounds can burn 1,900 to 2,500 calories on a four hour hike. The problem is that this high level of calorie burn often results in increased hunger to refuel hardworking muscles. For this reason, typical hiking snacks like energy bars and trail mix are packed with calories. They can help you replenish energy without needing to carry large amounts of food. If you want to lose weight, it’s important not to eat back all of the calories you’ve worked so hard to burn. Focus on a combination of snacks that supply complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and healthy fat that will keep you full with fewer calories. Jerky, dry cereal, vegetables with hummus, fruit with nut butter, and string cheese sticks are good choices that will stay fresh in a small insulated lunch bag for day hikes.

Try Adding Extra Gear

Hiking with a pack requires you to work harder causing an increase in calories burned. A 150-pound person hiking with a 21-42 pound pack burns about 80 more calories per hour than when hiking without a pack. Trekking poles may also be an effective alternative to boost the benefits of a hike. Results of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that adding trekking poles to your hike can increase calories burned without causing a noticeable change in the difficulty of the activity.

Preventing Exercise InjuriesPreventing Exercise Injuries


Preventing Exercise Injuries

Invest in quality athletic shoes

Athletic shoes support proper alignment and cushion impact during activity helping to protect against injury. Your shoes should be replaced every 350 to 550 miles, or every three to six months. If you perform a specific type of exercise two to three times a week, buy a sport-specific shoe. Cross trainers are ideal if you do a wide variety of activities, but consider walking shoes, running shoes, or hiking boots if your workouts are more focused. (See Athletic Shoes: A Buyer’s Guide)

Make rest days a priority

Research shows that exercising more than 250 minutes per week results in clinically significant weight loss, but you shouldn’t skip rest days to meet that goal. The body uses rest days to recover and repair itself, which results in improved fitness. Skip rest days and you put yourself at risk for overuse injuries. Use one to two days per week to rest completely or enjoy leisure activities like a slow walk after dinner or working in the garden.

Get proper guidance

Using proper exercise form can reduce risk of injury and make your workouts more effective. Don’t jump into a new program without some guidance. Ask for instruction on how to use weight machines and use mirrors to evaluate your form. Seek alternatives for exercises that aggravate problems like knee or lower back pain. Safely executing your exercises will protect you from unnecessary injuries that can slow your progress.

Balance your training

Muscle strength imbalances occur when one muscle group gets more training than an opposing or supporting muscle group. Over time these imbalances in strength can lead to injuries. For example, runners often have hamstring weakness that leads to muscle strains. Also, overworking the abdominals without including lower back exercises may result in back pain. Choose a variety of exercises that give attention to all muscle groups. Don’t completely skip an exercise if you’ve come to dislike it. Seek out an alternative that will adequately strengthen the same muscle.


Engaging in the same activities over and over can improve your exercise performance, but it’s important to add variety to your routine. Activities that require repetitive movements (running, swimming) can lead to overuse injuries, such as shin splints and tendinitis. Cross training is a simple way to incorporate new movements while continuing to build your fitness level. If you are training for an event, such as road race, that requires you to engage in a repetitive activity, try adding high-intensity interval training (HIIT), hiking, group exercise classes, or water sports to reduce risk of injury.

Maintain flexibility

Maintaining flexibility reduces injury by allowing the joints to move through a full range of motion. Flexibility training does not have to be restricted to stretching before and after an exercise session. In fact, research reviews have concluded that there is not significant evidence to support that stretching before or after your workout will decrease injury risk during that workout. What is important is incorporating flexibility training into your overall program. For some, this is easily done with full body stretches after a workout, but others may choose activities such as yoga, Pilates or martial arts to increase joint flexibility and to reduce exercise injury.


Almond Apricot Celery Salad RecipeAlmond Apricot Celery Salad


Almond Apricot Celery Salad Recipe

This simple celery salad will satisfy any craving for crunchy food. It contains heart-healthy almonds that add protein and dried apricots that add sweetness and dietary fiber.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7.6g
2%Saturated Fat 0.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 123mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.9g
Dietary Fiber 4.2g
Sugars 10.4g
Protein 3.8g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes


  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 8 unsweetened dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/8 tsp fine ground sea salt


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the celery, apricots, almonds, and red onion.
  2. In a small dish, stir together the lemon juice and honey.
  3. Pour the lemon juice and honey over the celery salad. Sprinkle in the salt and stir well. Serve at room temperature or cold.
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