By Judy Nicassio, Rejuvena Health & Aesthetics

Vacations and road trips are a time to relax… and splurge. For many this can be an excuse to stray from those healthy eating habits you’ve worked hard to achieve. Don’t let summer vacation sabotage your good work. A few tips can help you stay on course while still enjoying your time away.

On The Road

Know when and where your major pitfalls will come so that you can plan to avoid them. If you’re going to eat healthy while traveling, you must prepare yourself and make your diet a priority.

Be sure to pack the basics. Bring some go-to snacks that fit into your healthy habits. Things like high-quality jerky, fruits, sliced veggies , or nuts and seeds are easy to stash in your bag. If you’re driving to your destination – bring a cooler and stock up on some of these foods.

Of course, snacks are just temporary. You’ll most likely stop for a quick bite on the way to your destination. When that happens, try to order the “lesser evil” of fast food choices: burgers and sandwiches wrapped in lettuce leaves rather than bread; a burrito bowl without the tortilla; a salad with some chicken or steak and avocado slices to make it more satisfying. Just beware of the salad dressings, which are usually loaded with sugars. Don’t be afraid to ask for olive oil and vinegar on the side or a wedge of fresh lemon to squeeze over salad.

After You Unpack

If you’re staying in a hotel, try to pick one with a fridge and mini-kitchen, or request a mini-frig in your hotel room in advance. After you’ve unpacked, go to the closest grocery store and buy some organic, sliced veggies, a few apples or pears, nuts, a few avocados, and slices of nitrate-free sliced meats. Just like traveling, having these good choices at hand makes it easier to stay the course.

Many hotels have complimentary foods and meals. Take advantage of these – they aren’t all bad. Go for the hardboiled or scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, nuts. Hotel lounge areas may also have a supply of fruits and nuts readily available.

Finally, take time to check out the local tourist restaurant guide for healthier food choices – hotels often have these as do airport information booths – or you can investigate best restaurant choices online prior to your trip. Seek out local restaurants that use local products. The less distance your food has traveled, the more nutrients it typically retains.  Enjoy the food the area is known for, such as grilled fishes from the sea or fruit desserts in a tropical destination.

At the Restaurant

Avoid those munchie foods restaurants set out at your table (like bread, crackers, or chips). Tell your server you don’t want any or order a no-calorie beverage and a salad or healthy appetizer instead. Be particular when ordering food at restaurants – ask your server how foods are prepared and add special requests for healthier meals, such as dressings on the side, grilled or broiled instead of fried, and substituting vegetables and salads for fried side dishes.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

Finally, remember when traveling, it’s difficult to be perfect all the time, so cut yourself some slack. Aim to eat healthy 80 percent of the time. A missed meal or poor snack choice every now and then is to be expected. Just make sure it’s the exception to the rule.