No matter what time of the year it is, amusement parks always seem to be a dieting disaster.
Yes, it's usually only one day of eating junk food, but if you're not careful about what you consume you can easily intake 4,000 calories in one sitting. Add in some sugary beverages, you'll reach over 5,000 calories.
It's challenging not indulge in the sweet smells of junk food at parks, but you can get a decent workout in and eat smart. Enjoy the day with your kids and don't blow your fitness plan. Use these five tips next time you venture out to a theme park.
Workout Extra Hard the Day Before and After
You know you have to wake up early to get to the park and avoid long ticket lines. Why not squeeze in an extra 30 minutes the day before. Burn a little extra and boost your metabolism. Since you pushed yourself a little more the day prior, challenge yourself post-theme park to burn extra calories you ate.
It's okay if you have that slice of pizza and a scoop of ice cream. Just make sure you work off the extra calories the day before and after.
The Meal Before Your Trip
You know you probably won't eat all that great at the park, so why not whip up a nutritious meal the night before. Make a nice green salad with a lean protein, like chicken, to feed your body nutrition it needs. Don't forget to have a healthy breakfast. Have some fruit, granola and eggs. If you have a lean breakfast you won't feel starving as you walk around in the park.
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Make it a Workout
As mentioned before, you probably won't have much time to work out in the morning. Make sure you wear your comfortable shoes that you can power walk in all day. Maybe take a break with the kids at one of the playgrounds (if the park has one) and play around in there for an hour or so. Run around and play tag at a picnic area. Parks are made for kids to run around and burn energy-why not join in and burn calories.
Plan Your Meals
You can check the theme park's website to see if they allow you to bring bottle water or food inside. If you are able to bring food or water do so. Not only will you save money, but you'll save on unwanted calories.
Bring snack bars, fruit or even a sandwich to carry you throughout the day. This might help with your temptation to indulge in an unhealthy meal. If you're not allowed to bring outside food-look online and see what the park has to offer.
Most parks should list their restaurants and food courts online. Plan your meals by checking out what the park has to offer. Don't forget to portion control your food. If a salad or sandwich is not available, or you decide to go the other route, watch how much you eat. Split the meal with your kids, this way you won't take in all the fatty food.
Three chicken strips can be anywhere from 600 calories to 1,300 calories and 50 grams of fat. Tack on a side or flavored drink-you'll have indulged in over 2,000 calories in one sitting.
Most important tip to keep in mind is to have fun with your children. Spend the day walking around with each other as you create happy memories.
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Fara Rosenzweig is the Lifestyle Editor for Women, Active Family, Mind and Body and Walking at Active.com