Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 22, 2022
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All-inclusive eating

Come back the same size

Statistics tell us that you can gain up to two pounds (908 g) for every week you’re on vacation. No big deal if you lose them, but if you put on two pounds (908 g) over the winter holidays, two at a weeklong conference and two more on summer vacation, you’ve just put on six pounds (2.7 kg). Again, not too frightening unless, of course, you multiply that by 10 years and your total gain of 60 pounds (27 kg) puts you in a totally different weight class!

Whether you’re going to a conference, on a cruise or to a resort, there’s one strategy that applies: adjust your attitude. A vacation shouldn’t be a break from eating well, and eating well doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy different and delicious foods. Strategies that work at home can be applied on a trip as well. An excellent resource is Hope Warshaw’s Eat Out, Eat Right (Agate Publishing).

Here are some tips to better eating when others set the menu.

At a conference

Information is your best friend When you book, find out what meals are included and what food will be served before deciding on the banquet or the walk-about lunches.

Make time for meals It’s easy to go from one meeting to the next without taking time to eat. Being very hungry usually leads to making less-than-ideal food choices or eating way too much. When you plan what meetings you want to attend, include three meals daily at intervals of between four to six hours.

Choose restaurants when you’re not hungry If you’re stomach is grumbling, the closest joint usually wins out over the healthiest — and probably the one that most reflects the typical foods of the region.

Use the Internet Many restaurants have websites that feature at least a sample of their menu. Call in advance with any special requests.

Don’t forget hotel dining rooms Hotel kitchens are huge and more likely to accommodate special requests. So if there’s no grilled fish on the menu, the ingredients and the equipment usually are.

Keep with Euro time If you’re conferencing in Europe, remember that any restaurant worth eating at opens and closes at specific times. If you postpone breakfast until after a meeting — even 9:30am in some countries — you’ve missed it altogether. And forget about grabbing lunch before noon. If you think you’ll be stuck in this situation, ask your hotel or conference organizers where the nearest grocery store is. A morning snack of fruit, yogurt or milk, and cereal will get you to your next meal.

On a cruise

If you must stay on the dietary straight and narrow Take health and wellness cruises. The meals are still what you’d expect on a cruise — gourmet — but the emphasis is on health. Some provide cooking classes and other health-related info. There are even cruises focused on diabetes, heart disease or weight-loss surgery. Obviously these trips also offer lots of opportunities to be active. It helps being surrounded by like-minded individuals with whom you can share tips and strategies.

If you eat a special diet Book with a cruise line that provides special meals. Many are willing to accommodate the low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free or kosher eater. Always provide adequate notice.

If the cruise offers “spa” cuisine Choose this option whenever possible. The definition of “spa food” differs with each cruise line, but this menu generally features food that’s lower in fat and calories without sacrificing the gourmet component cruise cuisine is known for.

With any all-inclusive

Don’t clean off your plate Portion control can be your best friend. The best strategy when faced with lots of delicious food is to leave at least 2 of it behind.

Stay active If you splurge, you’ll burn it off.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.