The Hot-Dog-Days of Summer – Finding ways to eat healthy on vacation

Summer’s reputation has been built on barbeques, hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries, beer, cobbler, ice cream, fast food, and an assortment of other temptations. Summer lets us relax some rules and break others. But, even though we loosen our belts, it doesn’t have to mean buying a bigger pair of pants.

Summer also means travel, sometimes lots of it. Years ago, I was trotting all over the world to countries like New Zealand, Europe, Canada, South and Central America and the Middle East giving healthy-living presentations. Much of my travel coincided with the hot-dog-days of summer. Consequently, I had to develop my own healthy eating habits while traveling. It was up to me to stay healthy because I wasn’t getting any help from airlines, hotels, family, friends, and restaurants along the way. It was tough but I managed to develop some good habits that helped me maintain healthy eating habits on the road. Here are some vacation eating tips that have kept me on track when summer travel has tried to derail me.

  1. Download your apps. Smart phones can be your best friends on the road. There are many apps that track nutritional information of restaurant food, fast food, common grocery store items, and name-brand products. This allows you to know when you have met your limit of carbs, sugars, fats, calories, and protein. Additionally, they track your daily exercise (passive and active – it all counts).
  2. Pack your own picnic. Taking your own food with you is the ideal solution but if that is impractical (or rude), at least pack your own snacks.
  3. Insulate yourself. Well, what I mean is get an insulated lunch bag. They can be put in the freezer first then they will keep food cold for up to eight hours. This allows you to carry fresh food with you – the best kind – when you can get it.
  4. Call in your order. When I am staying at a hotel, I call in advance or check the hotel website before I book to make sure they have:
    1. An onsite 24-hour fitness center
    2. Refrigerators in guest rooms
    3. Restaurants and grocery stores within walking distance, a quick cab drive away, or delivery service (Apps help here, too)
    4. Healthy, sugar-free, or gluten-free menu selections; better yet, special food requests
  5. Take half. If you can’t have it all your way, “half” it your way. Look, half of a hotdog is better than the whole thing.
  6. Remember, you’re on vacation. That means, give yourself a break. It’s okay to stray a little here and there. Drop the guilt and commit to getting back on track in the morning.

So, go fire up the grill and enjoy the hot-dog-days of summer just don’t overdue the barbeque.

Here’s to a Better You,

Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080


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