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Many of us are trying to squeeze in one last vacation with our kids as the summer winds down before the school year begins. 

And as I know from experience, weekend trips make it challenging to stay on track with eating a well-balanced diet and finding time to get a good cardio workout in. 

Even worse, kids tend to want to eat junk food as often as possible. And my six-foot-tall football player sons don’t eat small meals. Watching them enjoy their meals can be agonizing for me when I'm trying to eat the right healthy foods. 

How do I stay on track? 

Recently, I found that packing small snacks made it easier. Simple snacks for travelers include baby carrots, nuts, protein bars and fruit. The snacks helped me stick with small healthy meals since they tamed my appetite before I became too hungry and ate excessively. 

Waking up early to hit the hotel fitness room didn’t happen as often as I wanted, but I did hit the hotel pool for a little exercise. 

I settled on logging many miles of walking during sightseeing as part of my daily exercise routine. Walk as much as possible. Not only does it save on taxi or Uber fees, but it also contributes to your exercise routine. 

LiveStrong, an exercise program at the YMCA for people with cancer, recommends moving before you get to your destination. During a flight or a long drive, move your hands, flex your feet, and do calf raises. When you stop to gas up your car, get out and walk around and stretch. 

Avoid jet lag by adjusting your sleep schedule a few weeks before your trip. If you have to deal with a time change when traveling, sleep around the time difference. 

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and fluids, especially if you are flying, since the air inside planes tends to be dry. 

Be prepared. My husband tends to joke that I overpack when it comes to sunscreen, pain relievers, first-aid kits, antihistamines, and aloe vera for sunburns, but they all come in handy. Don’t forget the prescriptions. If you feel better, you won’t fall off the good-health wagon as easily. 

Find a gym close by. If you are a YMCA member, you can get a visitor pass. Most chain gyms allow you to use their facilities. 

Create your own gym. My gym allows members to check out strength training bands that can be used in a hotel room if a gym is not available in the city we are traveling to. 

Drink in moderation. Alcohol can add up in calories. Alternate glasses of water and alcoholic beverages. 

Treat yourself to the spa and get a good massage to relieve stress. Get a facial or pedicure to feel relaxed. 

Vacations can be high-maintenance times for families. The stress can add up when it comes to accomplishing everything you want to do in a short time. Make sure you take time for yourself. Enjoy the sights and family time, and try to eat healthy. 

You only live once. So, if you are going to indulge, remember to keep up the exercise and drink lots of water. Safe travels, and have fun.

Martha Garcia is a writer, communications instructor and bilingual marketing professional who lives in Bettendorf. She can be contacted at marthagarciawriter@yahoo.com.

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