This “Parrothead’s” View of Summertime Adventures

10 06 2016



Greetings summer! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Summer is quite honestly my favorite season of the year. If I could live somewhere tropical year round, I would. I love the sunshine, warm temperatures, long days, and moon lit nights. My favorite seasonal foods (you guessed it, fruits and veggies!) are fresh and abundant, and travel is always on the agenda.

If you are like me, you love to travel, whether it be weekend road trips to popular cities and close by mountain getaways, or long trips to the coast to enjoy the sand, surf, and your own little version of “Margaritaville”. In my world a “license to chill” is readily accepted and cherished.

But, that license to chill can also put a damper on your healthy lifestyle goals if you are not mindful. Most people give in to the fact that they are destined to gain weight instead of lose weight on vacation, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As a matter of fact, I encourage my clients to set a goal for maintaining their weight while out on their adventures. This is much more achievable, and won’t leave them disappointed and frustrated with themselves after their trip.

Keeping these few things in mind can keep you sailing in the right direction, instead of getting “stranded on a sandbar”:

  1. Ditch the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and pack a cooler for road trips. Fill it with healthy snacks or even a picnic lunch. Depending on your destination, there may not be many options other than fast food and convenience stores on the road less traveled. Try packing chopped veggies, plenty of fresh fruit, nuts, popcorn, and string cheese. For a relaxing roadside picnic, pack a good ol’ PBJ sandwich on whole wheat, some yogurt, sweet potato chips, and, don’t forget the water! If you must stop to buy something to eat, choose the healthiest possible items (think more vegetables and fruit) and keep portions small or share with a travel buddy.
  2. Beware of the “Boat Drinks”. Hot summer days and cool, starry nights make those legal beverages way more appealing! Yes, it’s five o’ clock somewhere, and cold beer and frozen margaritas seem to go hand in hand with summer vacation. But, be mindful. A 12oz beer, a 5oz glass of wine (that’s right, I said 5oz), and a 1 ½ oz shot of liquor have about 150 calories each! Some craft beers can push 250 calories, and that mixer you just added to your tequila just robbed the sugar and calorie bank (an 8oz margarita on the rocks clocks in at 455 calories, while a 12oz can set you back 680). Try to stick to one drink, and if you can’t, try to trim back by drinking light beer, making a spritzer by adding seltzer or diet Sprite/7 Up to your white wine, and using sugar free mixers for your liquor. And remember to drink plenty of water, especially on hot days when alcohol can exacerbate dehydration.

Try this “Skinny” Coconut Margarita recipe…but remember, just 1!

3. Get on the “Coconut Telegraph” (i.e. Google) and map out a plan to enjoy the local fare. Are there farm markets or costal roadside stands brimming with local fruits, vegetables, and even seafood? Plan on eating in and savoring healthy, flavorful foods with friends. There’s nothing like a simple meal of grilled vegetables, broiled seafood (or my favorite, a bushel of Maryland blue crab with lots of Old Bay), and slices of juicy watermelon after a long day in the sun. Save restaurant trips for a special night to help keep a lid on overindulgence.

Try this recipe for a fresh shrimp and avocado salad:

4. Use that “Tin Cup Chalice” for water…lots of it! If you are spending the day in the heat, whether in the city or along the coast, dehydration is a serious risk. Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to do so. Carry a bottle of water on sightseeing adventures and pack a cooler to take to the beach. Try water infused with fresh fruit for a great tasting twist, or freeze 100% juice for a great frozen treat.


Raspberry Greek Yogurt Popcicles:


  1. Get up and do the “Desperation Samba”. In other words, get moving! Now is your chance! Take advantage of beautiful weather and great outing opportunities to move and have fun. Take an early morning run on the beach, or a cool evening walk on the boardwalk with your sweetheart. Go hiking in the mountains or dance the night away to local music. Swim and snorkel with the fish and boogie board with your kids (didn’t know you could still do that, did you!). Fly kites, play wiffle ball, and do the limbo! That’s what vacation is for…you never know, you just might be a “Hula Girl at Heart”.


So remember, the next time you hit the road or fly the friendly skies, staying active, being mindful of choices and portions, and savoring fresh local flavors can be your ticket to a great holiday. Bon Voyage!


Cathy Shaw, RD, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian for the WV PEIA Weight Management Program




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