TOPS shares healthy eating tips for travellers

Take Off Pounds Sensibly is a non-profit weight loss program that offers advice on eating sensibly while on the road, without deprivation

Traveling can be exciting and a chance to get away from the hustle of the real world, but it also can derail a person’s healthy routines.

People may become relaxed with their nutrition selections or think that it’s too much effort to exercise. With numerous opportunities to travel — whether for business, family vacations, or weekend getaways — TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, along with the Produce for Better Health Foundation, shares hints to help stay on the wellness track, cut out calories, and feel satisfied.

Eat healthy on the move.

n Bring your own meal for the flight or car ride.  Homemade sandwiches and fresh fruit are a great option. Not only will you be able to control what you eat, but you will save time and money.

n Pick up prepackaged fruit and vegetables at the grocery store.  You can also buy peanut butter in a tube or small container to pair with fruit or granola bars.

Be smart with snacks.

n Have a sweet tooth?  Keep dried fruit, which provides disease-fighting antioxidants, handy for snacking instead of candy.  It can also be mixed with nuts and sunflower seeds to create trail mix.

n Pack peppers, celery, or carrots to snack on.  Resealable containers are perfect for dips, such as ranch dressing, peanut butter or hummus.

n Frozen grapes make great bite-size snacks and are delicious with low-fat cheese.

Eat out without overdoing it.

n Check out your destination online and look at restaurant menus before the trip.  This will give you an opportunity to find places that serve healthy options.

n Practise eating small portions.  Bring half the meal home or share an entrée with a friend.  Consider choosing two appetizers instead of one entrée.

Give thought to your drinks.

n Switch from soda to low-fat milk, water, or tea with one sugar or a non-nutritive sweetener.

n Opt for tomato juice or vegetable juice on the plane.

n Out for coffee or a smoothie?  Order the smallest size available, request coffee with fat-free or low-fat milk, skip the whipped cream, ask that the smoothie be prepared without added sugar.

Watch portions, but don’t deprive yourself.

n Use the half-plate rule.  Make fruits and vegetables 50 per cent of what you eat at every meal.

n Don’t skip your favourite dessert or fried foods. Eat smaller portions of these foods and just make it a treat.

n Don’t cut out meals.  This may lead to eating too much later in the day.

Founded more than 63 years ago, TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge.

In Vernon, TOPS meets Mondays at First Baptist Church, 1406-32nd Ave. Weigh-in from 6 to 6:45 p.m. with meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. All ages welcome. Call Joan at 250-542-9328 or Judy at 250-545-5491 for more information.

TOPS meets Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., with meetings from 10 to 11 a.m. at Trinity United Church on Alexis Park Drive. Call Debbie at 250-542-0187 or Bev at 250-542-9381 for details.

TOPS meets Thursdays from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. at the Alpine Centre, #34. For details, call M. Schmolke at 250-545-8124.