Staying on Track While on Vacation

Staying on track while on vacationHealthy habits are typically not a first thought while planning a vacation, let alone while you’re actually on vacation. Many people view their vacation as a break from life… a chance to relax, have fun and not worry about anything. This is something we all deserve, but why undo all of your workouts and healthy eating? You worked hard to fit into the bathing suit for vacation…why sabotage it and have to start over when you return? With a little bit of pre-planning and research, you can have lots of fun and accomplish staying on track while on vacation!

We are super excited to be heading to Orlando in November for a family vacation. We will be splitting our time between Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando, (I plan on doing a series about eating clean while in both parks, so stay tuned!) and my health and fitness has definitely been on my mind for this trip. Here are some tips and tricks that can keep you on track while on vacation…

Healthy Eating While on Vacation…

  • Always call ahead to see if your hotel has a refrigerator.  Even if it does not, for a small fee, you can often request one to be brought to your room.
  • Bring along healthy breakfast items and snacks. By doing this, you can make sure you start your day off with a healthy meal, instead of gorging yourself on pancakes at the hotel buffet.
  • Enjoy alcohol and other high calorie beverages in moderation.  It’s vacation! You want to relax! …I get it! Just don’t drink your daily calories away. It’s very easy to do so and alcohol calories add up fast. So if you plan on drinking, be sure order a large glass of water along with your drink.  By alternating one alcoholic beverage for one glass of water, you’ll save calories and most likely skip the hangover by staying hydrated.
  • Plan your cheat meal ahead of time.  If you are visiting a favorite destination and you have a favorite restaurant, pre-plan it into your daily food. If this is your first time at the destination, do some research and pick a restaurant you really want to try while there. Make that your cheat meal for the vacation and just enjoy yourself.
  • Don’t go too long between meals or starve yourself all day so you can eat/drink more that night. Doing this causes your blood sugar to dip too low. As a result you can become tired, cranky and short-tempered (also known as hangry). Combat this be carrying healthy snacks with you, like nuts, protein bars or fruit.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day and especially before you go out to eat. Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated and feeling fuller, so you won’t cave on all the temptations that can be around while on vacation.

Dining Out 101…

  • Look at the menu online and choose something healthy BEFORE you arrive.  Doing this helps to cut down on the temptation that can occur as you read through the menu, while smelling all of the amazing food around you. You don’t want to make an impulse order that you will end up regretting, so go into the restaurant with a plan in place!
  • Don’t be afraid to request what you want, even if it’s not on the menu.  Chances are if the ingredients are on the menu, the chef can accommodate your request. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but have a back up plan just in case they say no, or call ahead to see if they can help you before you arrive.
  • Cut calories with simple changes!  Skip the bun with your burger and ask for a lettuce wrap instead, have chicken or fish grilled instead of fried, request sauces, dressings and gravy to be served on the side, have steamed veggies or a sweet potato instead of fries.
  • If you decide to splurge because it’s vacation, be smart and go easy on the portion size.  Eat half of your meal right then and there and save half for lunch the next day (this is where the fridge comes in handy!).  Another great option is to split it with a friend or family member. You’ll save calories and some money!
  • Beware of the appetizer trap!  Between the complimentary bread basket (which you may want to consider skipping) to the over-sized portions we are typically served in restaurants, do you really NEED an appetizer? If the answer is “Omg, yes! I love _____”, then consider getting just one order for the entire table. This way you can satisfy your taste for that item, without stuffing yourself before your entree arrives.
  • Many menus will have icons next to meals indicating that they are a healthy or lower calorie.  Look for these first, but remember gluten-free (GF) or vegetarian (V) doesn’t always mean that something is healthy!

Snacking on the Go…

Pack as many portable snacks with you as you can.  If you are currently following a fitness program, consult the nutrition guide to see which ones work best for you, or refer back to your past meal plans to see which snacks you typical consume, and which will work well in your bag during traveling.  Typically nuts, whole grain crackers, protein bars, individual sized oatmeal packets, fruit, cut veggies, mozzarella sticks and Shakeology packets are great things to bring with you. Don’t forget to pack water too!  Freezing it prior to heading out (another reason why getting a fridge in your room comes in handy) will help keep other things cool.

Stay Active…

  • Pack your workout DVD’s and play them in your laptop, either in the room or in the hotel gym.
  • Do your best to fit in some physical activity if you are at a relaxation resort destination. Maybe a nice walk along the beach after dinner or some laps in the pool. If you are heading to a theme park like we are soon, you’ll be doing a lot of walking so things won’t be as bad, as long as you can avoid all the popcorn, ice-cream and treats!
  • Stay active in fun ways – look up running/hiking trails with amazing views, look into bike or kayak rentals and even walking tours. Be creative! vacation doesn’t have mean laying poolside with a drink all day.
  • If you are a part of a fitness accountability group (like the ones I run for programs on Facebook), be sure you still check-in daily while you’re away. It will subconsciously help you to make better decisions and your group will help you with meal choices on the go and just keep you motivated! 

Don’t forget to take into consideration time spent in the airport or in the car to get to and from your destination! When flying, you can’t take liquid through security, but you can take snacks. Make sure you are prepared with healthy snacks that you can enjoy while waiting at the gate. By doing this, you will only subject your wallet to the inflated price of either a cup of coffee or a bottle of water, instead of a $20 salad too! If you are driving, be sure to stock the car with snacks, water bottles and cooler filled with sandwiches, veggies, hummus and cheese sticks. By doing this, you’ll save yourself the temptation of rest stop fast food….cause who wants to spend $10 on a greasy cheeseburger that will just make you feel gross?

If you have any healthy travel tips, please share them in the comments below!

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Simple Morning Smoothie for Back to School

Today my kids officially started school again. It seems like just yesterday they were excitedly waiting for the bus to half day Kindergarten, yet this morning they were off to 8th and 5th grades. Time sure does fly! Mornings around here can be pretty crazy. There is the battle to wake up the kids, the arguing over who gets the bathroom next (we have two bathrooms mind you, but NO ONE wants to go downstairs….sigh), lunches, clothes, homework, snacks, clock watching for the bus and of course, breakfast! Thankfully both of my kids like smoothies and what they like is easy enough for me to make while waiting for my morning dose of life….caffeine….coffee to brew. The “Simple Morning Smoothie” for them is one of three things, Banana, Chocolate Peanut Butter or Strawberry Banana, which is featured below. I also typically add a half a scoop of protein or Shakeology to their smoothie, depending on how they’ve been eating. (Shakeology is always included in the chocolate peanut butter one). Simple Morning Smoothie

In all honesty I used to hate dragging out the blender to make these up, especially because they NEVER agree on which flavor they want, however since Mike got me the Ninja with the single serve blender cups, I don’t mind at all. It’s actually nice to hear them ask for a smoothie for breakfast or an after school snack, instead of a Pop-Tart, some sugary cereal, chips or cookies. PLUS I get to hide things inside of these that are good for them, like protein and ground flax seed …which they would never agree to purposely ingesting.

As parents we need to get creative to ensure our children are getting enough vitamins and minerals. I know I slack in this area from time to time because I get tired of battling every little thing. I end up feeling like a shitty parent because of it, so it’s nice to have some simple & nutritious tricks up my sleeve that leave everyone happy and smiling.

Do your kids like smoothies? I would love to know what flavors they enjoy so I could try them with mine!

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A #12DaysOfFitness Challenge

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many of us…although it can also be a stress filled and indulgent time.

If you are anything like me, the tree is up, you’ve been busy shopping and cookies & holiday treats have been baking! I LOVE Christmas cookies and I especially love making them with the help of my children. The excitement, giggles and smells of cookies in the oven are what makes Christmas such a happy time to me. Despite my love of this activity, it can be a dangerous one if you eat too many cookies, grab too much fast food because you were out late shopping, or consider a Venti Peppermint Mocha Latte to be lunch, while picking up forgotten presents at the mall.

Team those things up with holiday parties, cookie swaps and family gatherings and you have the perfect storm for a caloric overload, which can result in buttons popping, lack of energy when you crash from your sugar rush and don’t forget the dreaded muffin top!

Staying active this time of year is important for our minds as well as our waistlines. Everyone needs a little time for themselves where they can unplug, clear their minds and work out a little aggression.

With this in mind, I decided it would be fun to run a #12DaysOfFitness Challenge over on the Facebook Page! The graphic below has the list of moves, as well as how many reps should be done each day. The challenge will work as a progression each day, so you will complete the activity of the day PLUS all of the prior ones…just like the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Kinda fun, right?

#12DaysofFitness

These activities shouldn’t take long to do each day and if needed you can break them up (although you’ll see better results if you can complete them as a daily circuit). Be sure to stop by the Facebook Page, click LIKE and join in on any daily questions, information or check-in’s that will be provided.

I hope you find a little time for yourselves this holiday season to keep up the progress you’ve made, or to get a jump start on your New Years resolutions!

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Summer Recap

Can you believe summer is almost over? I feel like the past two months have been a total blur and that’s probably because it’s the first time I’ve been home for the summer with the kids in a long time.

I normally keep the same schedule all year because I’m working, but this year I had the opportunity to be home with them for their whole vacation. We spent a lot of time at my mother’s pool, took a family day trip to Hershey Park, went to Coney Island and of course celebrated both of their birthdays!

As a result, I have had little time to blog the way I would like to, but that’s okay. I’ll have all fall and winter to catch up and share my adventures in fitness with you all.

Here are some of my favorite photos from this summer…

summer

Mini Golf and Splashing in the pool to start the summer off right!

coney island

An afternoon in Brooklyn at Coney Island. We checked out the aquarium, ate at Nathan’s and of course rode on some rides.

Point Pleasant

It wouldn’t be summer without a day at Jenkinson’s at Point Pleasant!

Hershey Park

The highlight of summer for me has been our trip to Hershey Park. It was our first time there and we had a blast. Can’t wait to return for the holidays!

Birthday Fun

Maddie turned 12 this summer and we celebrate with a few friends, Monster Mini Golf, pizza and cake!

Minecraft Party

Matt is all about Minecraft this summer, so of course his 9th birthday was a Minecraft theme!

As you can see, we’ve had a busy summer and I look forward to time with friends this Labor Day weekend. Mike and I also started working out together again. He’s doing a Focus T25/Body Beast Hybrid, and I’m still doing T25 but joining him on the nights he does Beast! I missed weight lifting too much to just do cardio daily…we’ll see how this goes!

How has your summer been? Are you ready for fall or wishing there were still a few weeks left to summer?

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Holy Heatwave, Batman!

It has been a scorcher here in NJ this past week. Temps in the upper 90’s with heat indexes of 105+ mean lots of time in the air conditioned house or cooling off at the pool.

Thankfully, my mother lives in a development with a pool and we are allowed there everyday after 1pm…so of course, that’s where we have been!

~ I owe you a post on the Rugged Maniac, which we did last Sunday! I have lots of photos to share with you…it was so much fun! ~

Fishies

Matt

Maddie

Poolside

While hanging by the pool and splashing around cools you off, it still zaps your energy levels. As a result, I haven’t really been working out much this week. My focus has been on staying hydrated and the heat killing my energy has made me catch up on sleep!

I’m really looking forward to a break in this craziness, especially since Mike is on vacation this week. I’d like to be able to go to the beach or walk around an amusement park without melting.

If you’re experiencing this heatwave, how have you been keeping cool?

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A Fun Family Weekend

This past weekend was Father’s Day weekend and I must say, it was really nice.

Saturday, the hubs had to work and the little man had a birthday party to attend, but that night we attended a local festival. Our town hosts this large shindig every year in our local recreation center (the same one where my beloved trail is). They have tons of food trucks, different vendors, live entertainment and then a field full of inflatable bounce houses and slides for the kids. They also have a bungee type jump and rock climbing wall for the older kids, and they even added a DJ on the basketball courts for the teen crowd this year, which my daughter liked.

My hubs and I both splurged on dinner that night. I decided to have a Philly cheese-steak and he had sausage and peppers. If you’ve been to a fair or festival, you know how awesome they are, despite the price. Stuff like this takes me back to my childhood in Brooklyn at our annual festival, and I’m a fan of trips down memory lane.

Remember kids…it okay to eat stuff you like that isn’t 100% healthy from time to time. Just don’t turn it into a daily habit!

The night was spent watching our son bounce, slide and make friends with the animals in the petting-zoo. Once it got dark, we found our daughter, grabbed a sweet treat and headed over to pick a spot to watch the fireworks before heading home. There is something about ice-cream and fireworks that just summer, right?

Petting zoo

Family minus one

Father’s Day was spent at home in our yard.

I woke up early, ran to the grocery store for some fresh baked rolls for lunch and then I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some daddy treats and coffee. I skipped the donuts but I did treat myself to a warm bagel. I have a weakness for the little nutritional black holes….especially when they are hot out of the oven. (I know, there is much healthy going on in this post, we’re human…like you.)

We thankfully had really nice weather and just enjoyed sitting outside, grilling and having fun. We had yummy burgers for lunch and dinner was grilled cilantro lime chicken and grilled corn, tossed with over roasted potatoes, onions, peppers and hot sausage. It was another experiment and turned out really good! I actually can’t wait to make it again, since it was super easy and flavorful.

Because donuts aren’t bad enough, I made a cake. A cake surrounded by Kit-Kat’s and topped with M&M’s. (I know…what the hell…but dad’s deserve treats…plus I blame Pinterest!) I spent the entire afternoon telling the kids, my husband and my mother to quit trying to steal M&M’s off the cake. It was exhausting, but so worth it!

Dad's Run on Dunkin

Super Dad

 

Yesterday was hubs day off from work, so he and I headed to the movies to see Man of Steel, which he has been dying to see all weekend. We went to an IMAX theater to see it, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I really liked the way they told the story, and Henry Cavill really brought Superman/Clark Kent to life for me. Michael Shannon was excellent as Zod and I was surprised that I liked Russell Crowe as Jor-El. My biggest gripe was the length of the film…too long! Hollywood really needs to quit making movies that are 2.5 hours and longer. First off, they are a day killer. The movie started at 12:45 and we didn’t get out until almost 4pm…I don’t have time for that. Second, movie theater drinks are HUGE and my bladder is small. If I get up to use the bathroom, I’ll miss part of the movie. As a result, I sit there with a full bladder, squirming around waiting for the movie to end. THIS is why I can’t wait to see Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and TURBO. Kid movies are always a normal length and they are bladder friendly!

Monsters University ID

 

Well…I hope I didn’t bore you to death with my weekend and I hope you enjoyed yours! Did you do anything fun? Have you seen any good movies lately? Looking forward to anything coming out soon?

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