The suitcases are packed. The passports are ready. You and your children are all set for the upcoming trip. Don’t leave your healthy eating habits behind! Here are eight ways for you and your kids to stay healthy while on vacation.
1. Pack the snacks Fruit-and-nut bars, whole-grain crackers, and trail mixes are great snacks on-the-go (and also on the plane). Make your own trail mix by putting together juicy raisins, dried apricots, almonds and pumpkin seeds. If travelling by car, pack low-fat yoghurt cups, apple slices and chunks of melon, pineapple and papaya. Store them in a cooler and take them out for a refreshing treat.
2. Portion control Just because a cruise serves a 24-hour buffet doesn’t mean your children need to be eating 24 hours a day! Teach your children to stop eating when they are comfortably full. If you and your children have a hard time controlling the food portions at a buffet, try starting at the salad bar first and then using a smaller (salad/appetiser) plate, even for the main dishes. Using a smaller plate means less loading at one time, forcing you to get up more frequently and leaving time for your body to register whether or not you are full.
3. Fast-food stop? If a fast-food stop is inevitable, choose healthy options whenever available. Order a green salad or chicken veggie wrap instead of fries. Choose a berry smoothie or freshly squeezed fruit/ vegetable juice instead of a milkshake or soft drink.
4. Preparing infant formula On vacation, the best way to mix infant formula is with bottled distilled water. Most grocery stores sell bottled water labelled as purified, distilled, reverse osmosis or demineralised. You may even find bottled water labelled specifically for infant use. Bottled water should ideally be boiled for one to two minutes and cooled before mixing with formula, since most bottled distilled waters conform to the same standards as the public water supply.
5. Don’t skip breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should include foods from various food groups. If your child suffers from constipation while travelling, try adding half a grapefruit or stewed prunes to the breakfast.
6. Stay active Keeping your children active will help to offset the extra calories that might be consumed on vacation. Instead of sitting on a tour bus all day, consider sightseeing on foot. Go for a swim, hit the slopes or go hiking on a bird-trail with your children.
7. Keep hydrated Often times, children are so excited or preoccupied on vacation that they don’t even know when they are thirsty. Offer them water and fluids at regular intervals. Being active, travelling and staying out in the sun can cause dehydration, so make sure you bring water with you wherever you go.
8. Relax! After all, it is a vacation. It’s OK for your children to indulge once in a while. Try sharing the dessert or limiting the sweet indulgences to once a day.
Have a great trip!