avoidbuffetsFamily travel often involves multiple calorie laden restaurant meals, fast food rest stops and salty, fatty snack food. But if you want your vacation memories to be family photos, not an extra five pounds around your hips, these tips will help you avoid vacation weight gain.

1. Do your pre-travel homework.
Pre-plan and prepare. Pack healthy food: fruits, cut-up veggies, nuts and plain instant oatmeal packets so you can avoid candy bars, chips and sodas.

Research the restaurants near your hotel and check out the menus before you leave home.

2. Use the concierge.
Dr. Gayl Canfield of Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa suggests engaging the concierge at your hotel to “find chefs who enjoy the creative challenge of preparing food that is both delicious and very low in waistline killers like fats, oils, and sugars.”

unionsquaregreenmarket3. Beware the buffet
Breakfast buffets are great for kids, but they can wreak havoc on your waistline and your heart. Avoid sausages and other meat (easy for our vegetarian family), full of artery-damaging saturated fat and head for the omelet bar. Choose an egg-white omelet with such healthy fillers as mushrooms, peppers, onions, and greens. While your omelet is cooking, pile up another plate with fresh fruit. Add some treats, like raspberries, to a big bowl of hot oatmeal and top with nonfat milk or soymilk. This is a satisfying breakfast that will keep you fueled though a day of touring – and it benefits both heart and waistline.

4. Explore on foot.
Save money and burn extra calories by forgoing cabs and walking. It’s a great way to sightsee and experience your surroundings first-hand. Some hotels even have free bike rentals, or running maps, so you can burn and learn more about your destination.

5. Check out local farmers’ markets and artisan food markets.
Learn about local foods, sample exotic fruits and vegetables and stock up healthy snacks for the day.