Like most Arkansans, we love to visit the gulf coast almost every summer. A few of our favorite things include the beach, the food, and fishing…in that order.
In the past, when I was much younger, we never really thought about what we were eating. We would go out to a restaurant every night and order these over-sized platters of deep fried everything, and crab legs with extra cups of melted butter.
Now that we’re all getting older, and given our family history of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease, we’re now more conscious about our food selections.
Here’s what I like to do:
1.) Plan Ahead.
Before you think, “well that’s no fun, where is the spontaneity?” This isn’t about creating an itinerary.
We all know that’s nearly impossible on vacation. If you have an idea of where you will be eating your next meal, take a look at their menu ahead of time.
Is there a good variety of healthy options for you? Narrow down a couple of choices before you go.
2.) Opt for grilled, baked, steamed or broiled.
Do you love boiled shrimp or fresh crab legs? I do too. These are excellent lean protein choices! Ask your waiter to leave that cup of melted butter off. I promise, after a few times of practicing this, you won’t miss it.
3.) Load up on veggies.
Most restaurants offer side salads, steamed vegetables, fruit cups, or baked potatoes. These are all great low calorie options, packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
4.) Pack your own road trip snacks!
I like homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. Something a little easier would be fruit in their “natural” packaging like apples, oranges, or bananas.
Just pack them in a bag and you’re ready to go, no refrigeration required. And no need to run into a convenience store.
5.) Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Temperatures along the gulf can reach well above 100 degrees in the peak of summer. Mix a hot and sweaty day on the beach with day drinking (if that’s your thing) and it’s a recipe for a dehydration disaster (especially since alcohol is considered a diuretic).
Try to drink at least 16oz of water for every 8oz alcoholic beverage consumed. Stock your cooler and your beach bag with water.
Remember…if you’re feeling really thirsty, then dehydration is already starting to take place.
With practice, it becomes easy to still enjoy the delicious treasures of your destination.
Here’s a pic of one of my favorite meals during my recent travels (blackened redfish with tomatoes and okra, white rice, and steamed veggies)
What’s YOUR favorite healthy traveling tip?