Posts Tagged ‘nutrition and traveling’

Staying Fit on Vacation – Part I

April 11, 2014

In this two-part post, travel expert Kendra Thornton and I will discuss ways to stay fit and healthy while traveling. In this first part, Kendra offers her tips for healthful family vacations:

My family’s health is of utmost importance to me. At home, I regularly pack healthy snacks for the kids to take to school. The entire family exercises regularly, and each of my children is involved in sports. When we go on vacation, our routines are different, but I always make sure that we get healthy nutrition and plenty of exercise wherever our travels take us.

1. Checking In

Hotels today offer several amenities to fit the active, healthy family. I make sure to book hotels with well-equipped fitness centers because this is a great way for me to be able to get a quick workout completed in the mornings before my kids wake up. Some hotels offer other fitness amenities such as running trails or bike rentals. I was able to find one for our upcoming trip to Orlando. With so many hotels in Orlando sites like Gogobot can make the process a little easier. I also always refuse the key to the minibar to help my family avoid the temptations of midnight cravings. To combat high-calorie indulgences at the vending machine, I often stock our hotel fridge with healthy snacks such as fruit, fresh veggies or low-fat yogurt snacks.

2. Playing in the Water

Water sports offer lots of high-energy fun for families on vacation. My kids love boating, and we’ve enjoyed a variety of water-faring vessels as a family. Paddleboats and canoes are great for building muscle and getting an aerobic workout. Water sports such as skiing, surfing and parasailing also burn calories. You can even burn calories sailing or enjoying time on a Wave Runner. For fun without a boat, swimming or splashing in the water can provide plenty of activity.

3. Eating Out

You will eat out when you travel, but you can take steps to make adventures in eating out more nutritious and less caloric. I like to research local restaurants before going on vacation. I find places that serve local produce because I know the cuisine here will be healthier for my family. I also look for restaurants that feature lite-and-fit menu options or vegetarian fare. Mediterranean restaurants almost always have healthy offerings for my family to enjoy.

4. Playing Games

There are many ways to have a good time on vacation. My family tries to focus on staying active. Most popular vacation destinations have a wide variety of venues for getting active. You can play horseshoes, badminton, shuffleboard or catch at a lot of parks. On a vacation by the beach, you can have fun with Nerf items. Running foot races together is another way to work some healthy activity into your vacation. Depending on the age and fitness level of your family members, you might even enjoy a vacation centered around physical activities such as hiking or climbing.

Staying healthy is important for every family. I know my family has more fun on vacation when I take active steps to keep them healthy throughout the trip. We enjoy spending time together away from home, and sticking to a healthy routine helps us more easily return to life as usual when we come back. I hope my tips and tricks have inspired you to have a more healthy vacation with your family this year.

Join us next time for more healthful travel tips.  Until then….

Bon Voyage and Be Well,

Kendra and Carolyn


Adventures in French Grocery Shopping

August 10, 2009

I just returned from a whirlwind, 10-day trip to France. On the last leg of the trip, we went to a grocery store in Nice to pick up some snacks and picnic items.  This “supermarche” was about the size of a US grocery store with many similarities, but some distinct differences as well.

One difference I noticed was that the serving sizes were much smaller than those you’d find in a US store. French yogurt, for example comes in 3-4oz containers rather than 6-8oz. It is, however, sold in 4-packs of individual servings. When examining the ingredients of French yogurt and cottage cheese I was impressed to see how few there were. And the taste – fantastique!

Fromage Blanc“, another French dairy staple, is sold in the same section. It’s sort of a cross between yogurt, sour cream and creme fraiche. While in France I had it a few times in restaurants as an alternative to the rich French cheeses offered at the end of a meal. Often it was served floating in a raspberry syrup for dessert. It makes a light and delicious end to a meal.

Another distinct difference I discovered while shopping for produce. In the produce section I selected my fruit and placed it in plastic bags the same as I would do in the US. Much to my embarrassment, however, when I got to the head of the checkout stand (5 minutes before closing time with several people behind me in line) I discovered that I was supposed to weigh and tag my own fruit using special scales located back in the produce section. I pleaded ignorance and fortunately was escorted back to the scales and shown how to work them, while my the rest of my items remained at the checkout stand. It’s actually a smart system. Rather than have the checkout people memorize a bunch of codes, not to mention weigh each bag of produce – the customer is responsible, so it makes the line at the checkout stand move more swiftly. The scales  feature a touch pad with pictures of all of the different fruits and vegetables for sale. The customer places their bag of apples, for example, on the scale, punches the picture and a sticker with the price is produced which they then attach to their bag. When prices change, the store staff only has to change one machine.

The French are also ahead of us in already charging for grocery bags if you don’t bring your own (which of course I didn’t). For a nominal price I did, however, walk away with a colorful bag that made a great beach tote.

More to come on my gastronomic adventures in France in future posts. 

Be Well,