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Plan Ahead, Eat Healthy to Avoid Summer Weight Gain

Bring healthy snacks on the road this summer to help avoid summer weight gain. (David Harris/Flickr)
Bring healthy snacks on the road this summer to help avoid summer weight gain. (David Harris/Flickr)
July 7, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. – There's still a lot more of summer to go, and health experts have some tips for those who are going to spend time away from home: Don't stray too far away from healthy eating habits you may have developed.

Courtney McCormick, the corporate dietitian for Nutrisystem, says the majority of people who go on vacation gain weight by eating things they wouldn't normally eat and drinking more alcohol.

"So, people who normally had about eight drinks a week actually doubled that when they were on vacation and had up to 16 alcoholic drinks," she said. "The reason that's kind of alarming is, our body doesn't really recognize those liquid calories."

The average American gains seven-tenths of a pound while on vacation, according to a 2016 study, and even if you don't travel far during the summer months, Obesity Research found adults eat 118 more calories a day on weekend days than during the week. Over the course of a year, that adds about 18,000 extra calories, or about five pounds.

McCormick says if you can't plan ahead and take your own snacks for traveling, the good news is there are more healthy options being offered.

"When you go through that drive-through, do they offer a salad instead of a burger and fries?" she asks. "Thinking about when you're at the airport, you know, could you get some trail mix or fresh fruit at the vendor instead of that candy bar that we may want to have?"

Vacation often means throwing caution to the wind, but McCormick says keep it to a minimum.

"So I encourage people to think about if you're going to kind of splurge, are you splurging on something that you maybe couldn't get at home?" she explains. "You know, if I'm in New Orleans, I'm probably going to order some jambalaya or gumbo - I probably am not going to splurge on some lasagna, because I can get that at home."

If your summer plans include going to barbecues, McCormick says to plan ahead. Don't show up super-hungry, stick to grilled veggies and lean meat, and try watermelon for dessert instead of ice cream or cake.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND